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Digitisation in the field of explosion safety

Central monitoring and control with the safety software iQ Safety Cockpit
Digitisation in the field of explosion safety

Visualisation of safety-relevant faults in the control room are only half the battle. In order to appropriately react to such faults, pre-defined counter measures have to be initiated – what sounds simple, it is actually a true challenge for plant operators in practice. Although protective systems and plant components react autonomously, the right behaviour of employees in critical situations is mandatory. Given the risk of human error, Rembe has developed the iQ Safety Cockpit.

Similar to a process control system, the
iQ Safety Cockpit offers an overview of all relevant protective and equipment system status, which can also be monitored in real time from any location remotely via smart-phone. However, in addition to the PLC, detailed automatic and semi-automatic
action plans can be linked and initiated: in case of an event in a certain area, sending an e-mail or an SMS to a pre-defined distribution group can be automated to bring the incident to their attention.

Such a scenario could for example be, that in the event of an explosion, the responsible safety officer might be informed by text message via his service phone, the surveillance cameras in the affected area could be activated or set to a different mode and the management could also receive an e-mail. Nevertheless, more importantly, Rembe’s iQ Safety Cockpit guides the logged in user through the pre-defined plan of action. Forced guidance thereby would ensure that all desired and necessary process steps are followed in the event of a disruption.

Those applications and process scenarios of the iQ Safety Cockpit can be individually configured for each plant; both analogue and digital signals can be processed. In addition to Rembe’s autonomous protective systems, Grecon spark extinguishing systems, camera systems or even fire detectors and other plant components can be combined and connected to the Rembe iQ Safety Cockpit.

Learning from incidents

Learnings from incidents and systematic root cause analysis are subject to be implemented in improved safety concepts. Rembe iQ Safety Cockpit compiles all data recorded during the emergency plan and then archives it in a comprehensive log. This data can be practically expended or adjusted via the various end devices. When the location of the accident is inspected, photos can be conveniently taken and loaded into the log (via the app) for subsequent evaluation. So, in the end all conventional autonomous protective systems from Rembe have become smarter without sacrificing their actual strength, the fast and reliable function.

Reducing plant downtime

In the age of digitisation, it is just as important to ensure a fast response time and high availability. The iQ Safety Cockpit also enables optimal integration of other interfaces through the individually coordinated visualisation of each process. Faults or, in the worst case, explosions not only require a regulated emergency plan, but also a predictive maintenance that is not only possible through the pure workforce of the employee on site. By detecting the operationally relevant components such as explosion vents, quench valves for explosion protection, pyrolysis gas and fire detectors or grounding systems for explosion prevention, all these can be registered and connected to a material management system.

For example with the GSME and Hotspot detectors from Rembe, an artificial intelligence has been created that detects fire
and explosion events at an early stage. The GSME detector is an artificial nose, „trained“ for pyrolysis – popularly known as smoldering gases, while the Hotspot detector represents an artificial eye that already detects surface temperature changes of 1 °C. Connected to the iQ Safety Cockpit of the same manufacturer, the two explosion prevention systems can evaluate changes and bring the system into a safe state either automatically or via precise instructions to the operator.

If an event, such as an explosion occurs, the system recognises which areas are affected and provides information about which spare parts are required, in order to restore the system to a safe state as quickly as pos-sible. These functions can be submitted in the operator’s system as a „suggestion“ or sent directly to the manufacturer as a non-binding request. This creates the option to reduce the time of plant downtime.

In a nutshell: The iQ Safety Cockpit is not-hing else than a smart home control or driver assistance system in the automotive industry. Those are used to improve the efficiency and safety of driving a car and enable, in the right mix of auxiliary sensors and smart detectors, autonomous driving. Staying in that picture, simply spoken, Rembe iQ Safety Cockpit, similar to a
driver assistance system for plants, will not only allow autonomous operation, but
it will also push towards safety and efficiency to the highest possible level in the Industry 4.0.

Rembe GmbH Safety + Control, Brilon, Germany

Author: Alexander Kemmling

Sales Executive Explosion Prevention, Key Accounts D-A-CH

Rembe Safety + Control

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