Successful oxygen reduction system installation in South Africa
FX Prevent announced the completion of its first LOX® Fire Prevention system in South Africa, commissioned by Euroberry (Pty) Ltd and brokered by FX Prevents’ South African distributors: Nitro-Gen Africa. Euroberry is a supplier of frozen fruits to the South African industrial market with a range that includes fruit purees, concentrates and dried fruits. Founded in 2000, Euroberry now has three cold storage and distribution centers located in the main commercial hubs of Somerset West (Head Office) Johannesburg and Durban.
Euroberry approached FX Prevent through the South African distributors, to design and build a LOX® Oxygen Reduction – Fire Prevention system for the refrigerated high-bay warehouse of their production facility located in Cape Town. The official round of testing and certification was carried out by the South African Fire Department.
This not only marks the first FX Prevent – Oxygen reduction system to be officially tested and certified in South Africa, it also represent one of the industry’s first oxygen reduction systems to be officially certified in South Africa.
Why choose an oxygen reduction system as an alternative to sprinkler systems?
It is traditionally believed that sprinklers are the best and most affordable method of putting out fires in a warehouse. Sprinklers in cold and freezer rooms, whether they be ceiling mounted ESFR (Early suppression fast response) or in rack, are, as everyone knows, problematic. First there is the cost. If fire main pressures are considered too low, storage tanks, pumps and generators are required, which add significantly to project costs and not infrequently put projects on “hold”. ESFR sprinklers are of the dry pressurized variety, but each sprinkler head must penetrate the insulated ceiling. Improper sealing, especially with EPS panels, will cause water/ice saturation problems in the medium term.
In the case of ambient air, which is extremely dry in refrigerated warehouses, has a much higher possibility of fire outbreaks. It is therefore of the utmost importance to protect the warehouse by lowering the oxygen level to 17 % at which point, combustion becomes almost impossible. This is where an oxygen reduction system will benefit your business.
Health and Safety
FX Prevent noted that Euroberry recognized the importance of taking the best possible pre-emptive fire safety measures to protect their investment and their workers against the potential of fire outbreaks. For those concerned with the safety of the work force in this type of environment can read the following statements made by the International Fire Protection magazines’ article which was published in June 2014 entitled: “Oxygen reduction fire prevention” and it reads as follows:
“The design aim of any oxygen-reduction fire prevention system is to create and maintain an atmosphere in an enclosure that is capable of preventing ignition of combustibles found within the protected area while simultaneously remaining safe for the occupants.
A risk assessment, in accordance with AS/NZS ISO 31000-2009, Risk management – Principles and guidelines, should be carried out prior to any installation of an oxygen-reduction fire prevention system to ensure safety of both people within the protected area and those outside the protected area that may be exposed to output air from the oxygen-reduction fire prevention system.”
Safe for People and Safe for the Environment
Oxygen-reduction fire prevention uses ambient air to produce breathable air for fire prevention. It is safe for people and safe for the environment – no chemicals or gases are involved. The oxygen-reduction fire prevention agent is simply oxygen-reduced (hypoxic) air. Hypoxic environments created for the purpose of fire prevention are precisely controlled and monitored reduced-oxygen environments.
They should not be confused with other environments where hypoxic conditions can occur in an uncontrolled, unwanted, or unexpected way. Oxygen-reduction fire prevention systems are clean-air systems. There has been extensive medical research in the UK, Europe and Australia to support the safety of working in a hypoxic environment of oxygen at 16 percent and below.
At sea level, 15 percent oxygen content is equivalent, in terms of human physiology, to normal atmospheric air at an elevation of around 2,700 metres above sea level or being on a commercial flight. Millions of people around the world live at altitudes equivalent to exposure at or below 15 percent oxygen concentration at sea level. Hypoxic air environments are currently used for physical training and rehabilitation of athletes, as well as in medical research.”
The Euroberry Case Study – Abstract from FX Prevent One of the main reasons for Euroberry choosing the LOX® Fire prevention system was the unmatched energy efficiency of our HP-PSA Nitrogen Generator Units. Not only are FX Prevent nitrogen extraction units 50% more energy efficient that competitor units that use membrane technology or conventional PSA technology, but they and have a much longer effective life-cycle due to our innovative design. The chosen solution was a N+1 redundant system (with 50% redundant capacity) using our latest generation nitrogen production units. The LOX® nitrogen extraction units feature a very compact but highly flexible design that allows for highly efficient system scaling.
FX Prevents’ industry leading nitrogen extraction units are build using only top of the range subcomponents and the design of the units make access to subcomponents easy lowering downtime during maintenance operations. The compressed air supply needed for the LOX® Nitrogen extraction unit is provided by two 15kw/h compressors to achieve redundancy. The protected warehouse has a total volume of approximately 13.000 m³.
Keeping into account the input and output of the warehouse and the inherent air leakage, we designed and build a LOX® Oxygen reduction – Fire Prevention system capable of producing 55 m³ of nitrogen (in gas form)/hour.
By pumping the hypoxic air (95% nitrogen) into the cold store, the oxygen level is lowered to 17%, and automatically always held at this level.
In order to properly monitor the oxygen level in the protected areas, FX Prevent also delivered and installed nine LOX® Detect – Precision Oxygen Sensors in the protected area as well as six more LOX® Detect sensors in the adjacent rooms and the technical room.
These maintenance-free low-drift oxygen sensors use Zirconium-dioxide elements, feature 5-point calibration, are not susceptible to barometric pressure changes and have an industry leading accuracy with a tolerance of just 0,1%. The system also features two LCD displays (with real-time oxygen level reading) and alarms, securing the access doors as well as one central touch screen control unit in the technical room. Because of the energy efficiency of our LOX® nitrogen production units and their long life-cycle we are firmly convinced Euroberry will achieve the lowest possible total cost of ownership for this system, and we are looking forward to collaborating with them on future projects.
FX Prevent – After Sales Services
Customer satisfaction and the quality of our work are our top priorities when servicing our customers, so here at FX Prevent, we have our own experienced installation and service team comprised of highly skilled service technicians (VCA basic safety certified) who can perform the maintenance of the LOX fire prevention systems and of the compressed air installations.
We offer various maintenance models on the basis of an hourly rate or in the form of a maintenance contract, both within the Netherlands and abroad, and we also collaborate with reliable service engineer teams in several countries so as to prevent unnecessary maintenance costs for our customers. If you would like to learn more about the Euroberry South Africa and their core business, please visit their website. www.euroberry.co.za
For more information about the LOX Fire Prevention Systems and their application in Cold Stores (refrigerated storage), please get in touch with FX Prevent. http:// www.fx-prevent.com
South African contact:
Mr Allan Cunninghame I C: 083 414 6535 I E: firstname.lastname@example.org