ISS Palumbo UK, part of maritime services provider, Inchcape
Shipping Services (ISS), has acquired UK freight forwarding
specialist Union Transport (Newcastle) Ltd.
The merger of the Union Transport business with ISS
Palumbo and its worldwide network will enhance the unique
combination of global project freight forwarding and integrated
logistics ISS Palumbo offers to its customers, including ENI,
SAIPEM and Air Products.
Based in Newcastle, the new venture will be responsible for
managing existing and future projects, as well as winning new
business in the UK and internationally. Union Transport is very
well established in project cargo freight forwarding and has
excellent contacts for sea, air, trucking and agency services.
Said Andrea Palumbo, President of ISS Palumbo: “I’m very
pleased with our new acquisition which combines the global
network of ISS and ISS Palumbo with the capabilities of Union
Transport in international freight forwarding services and
logistics, especially in the offshore sector.”
ISS Palumbo is a fully integrated division of Inchcape Shipping
Services, a renowned global maritime services provider. With
some 300 proprietary offices in 67 countries, and a workforce of
over 3,800 the company’s diverse global customer base now
includes owners and charterers in the oil, cruise, container and
bulk commodity sectors as well as naval, government and inter-
Servowatch Technology and Cathelco BWTS develops
Servowatch Systems’ co-operation with UK- based Cathelco has resulted in a technically advanced new generation ballast water treatment system (BWTS) on the market.
UK-based Servowatch, developer of automated ship control systems, has been working closely with Cathelco to develop a fully integrated alarm, monitoring, and process control system for its combination filtration and UV BWTS, a key component of the IMO approval process and US Coast Guard AMS acceptance.
Cathelco’s Projects and Development Manager, Steve Ellis said: “We wanted to develop a ballast water treatment system that could remain effective in the most challenging water conditions and in order to do that we needed an advanced monitoring and control solution capable of automatically adjusting to different water qualities. Servowatch fully understood what we wanted to achieve and provided a solution that has allowed us to introduce one of
the most advanced ballast water treatment systems currently in the market place.”
Wayne Ross, Servowatch Systems’ Chief Executive Officer, said:“By fully integrating Cathelco’s ballast water management system with a ship’s computer system, a single operator can control all of the functions from one location, saving considerable time and effort in complicated ballasting operations. But this is only one aspect of the technology; it also monitors the ‘health’ of all the major components and logs the data in a way that can be easily extracted for use in the Ballast Water Handbook — an essential part of the Type Approval requirements.”
BWTS filters and UV chambers are constantly analysed so that cleaning cycles can be initiated with all data automatically logged in compliance with IMO requirements. This includes tank number, time/date of event, mode of operation, flow rate, temperature, power to UV lamps, UV transmission and calculated UV dose.
“Using standard MODBUS protocols, this higher level of integration and data acquisition, with multiple screens in different areas of the vessel, simply offers greater control and monitoring flexibility,” said Ross. “The Cathelco BWTS not only prevents the transfer of alien aquatic species but it takes the administrative sting out of ballasting.”
Ellis added:“Servowatch Systems’ unique capability went beyond simply designing a very sophisticated control and monitoring system; it developed a prototype and manufactured the panels. It provided a complete turnkey solution.”
Based on a combination of advanced filtration and UV technology, the Cathelco BWTS is available with capacities ranging from 34m3 per hour to 2,400m3 per hour. Each unit features a space-saving twin UV chamber with only two lamps and is designed for both seawater and fresh water operation.
“Together, we have been able to develop a ballast water management system that has no restrictions on the salinities in which ships operate in US waters. It has been approved and accepted to work in marine, brackish and fresh water, allowing vessels to enter the Great Lakes and other inland waterways,” said Ellis.
The system received IMO Type Approval and Alternate Management Systems (AMS) acceptance from the US Coast Guard in May and November 2014, respectively.
ABOUT SERVOWATCH SYSTEMS
Servowatch Systems is approaching 40 years’ experience supplying and integrating state-of-the-art technologies to the international merchant marine, naval, luxury yacht and pleasure craft markets.
Originally established as Bond Instrumentation & Process Controls in 1975, the company evolved from its service and support roots with the UK Ministry of Defence into a major award-winning manufacturer of ship control and alarm monitoring systems for the global maritime industries, achieving a number of significant contracts.
In 2012, India-based engineering conglomerate Larsen & Toubro completed a share sale agreement to acquire Thalest Ltd, the holding company of Servowatch Systems, Bond Instrumentation & Process Controls, and Servowatch (USA).
With strong financial backing and renowned for its investment in product development, Servowatch is expected to see exponential growth across all marine segments.
Powder storage silos – disasters waiting to happen?
THE LATEST SILO PROTECTION TECHNOLOGY PROVIDES MUCH MORE THAN A SAFETY SYSTEM TO PREVENT OVER-FILLING AND OVER-PRESSURIZATION.
According to Hycontrol’s MD Nigel Allen, many powder storage silos are disasters waiting to happen, putting lives at risk and posing serious threats to the environment.
Level measurement specialist Hycontrol has been designing specialist silo protection systems for over 20 years and has extensive experience of the potential problems that exist on sites, especially in the quarrying, cement, bitumen, food, plastics and waste water industry sectors. “Our findings are worrying to say the least and the photos taken by our installation engineers speak for themselves,” says Allen. “Companies just don’t seem to understand the consequences of poorly maintained protection systems. It’s quite frightening that operators accept pressure blow outs via the pressure relief valve (PRV), erroneously citing that ‘It’s OK — the PRV is doing its job’. This couldn’t be further from the truth — PRVs are there as a last resort. If the silo protection system is working correctly and is fitted with an automatic shut-off feature to prevent over-filling, the PRV should never be used. If a PRV blows, then there’s an inherent problem with the system or the filling protocol and corrective action must be taken.”
“Material in and around a PRV is a tell-tale sign that there’s something wrong and a catastrophic blow-out is waiting to happen,” continues Allen. “The material blown out from the silos will almost certainly solidify over time and this will, at best, prevent the PRV from working correctly and, at worst, completely clog it up. Unfortunately many maintenance engineers just don’t realize the potential dangers that lurk beneath. They often think that simply cleaning off the material on and around the PRV is good enough. They don’t realize that if the PRV doesn’t lift next time an ‘event’ occurs, the over- pressure could easily rupture the silo or eject the filter housing from the top. On an ATEX-rated silo, the over-pressure could be sufficient to simulate an explosion and open the protective blast panels, resulting in costly loss of product and silo contents being left open to the elements.
With regard to filter housings, Hycontrol engineers have witnessed another worrying practice at a number of sites where companies fit chains to prevent the housing being blown off the top of the silo, almost accepting the inevitable is going to happen.
WHAT CAUSES OVER-PRESSURIZATION PROBLEMS?
Silo protection systems are designed to prevent the damaging and potentially dangerous consequences of silo over-filling or over-pressurization when powdered material is being transferred pneumatically from road tankers to silos. Unfortunately, perched out on the top of silos, such protection systems are all too often ‘out of sight - out of mind’ — that is until a major problem occurs!
Problems during the filling process usually arise through an inherent problem with the silo protection system or with the air filtration system on top of the silo. Problems can also occur through tanker driver/operator error. Delivery tankers are pressure-tested vessels typically capable of withstanding up to 2 bar (29psi) pressure. Storage silos are designed to withstand the weight of material stored in them and can rupture at pressures as low as 1–2psi above atmospheric pressure. The consequences of over-filling or over-pressurization include:
- serious or fatal injury to workers and the public;
- catastrophic silo damage;
- loss of material and production plus;
- harmful environmental pollution; and
- damage to company reputation.
A key issue with many silo protection systems is that without adequate ground level testing capabilities, operators don’t know if they will work when needed. Working at height, restrictions limit silo top inspections and maintenance, especially in adverse weather conditions. However, the main problem is what can engineers actually do when they are at the top of the silo? How do you physically test a relief valve or pressure transmitter
unless you remove them?
Even if the protection system does do its intended job and
prevents a major incident, companies rarely investigate the root
cause of the problem so that remedial work can be carried out
to prevent the situation re-occurring. Important ‘near miss’
events such as PRV lifts, high level events and high pressure
events are routinely not recorded and often conveniently
dismissed. Hycontrol have clear evidence that in practice there
are more ‘near misses’ than
realized and that the situation is a ticking time bomb.
Filter housings at the top of
the silos are designed to vent
the silo during filling, whilst
preventing dust escaping into
the atmosphere. Normally
these are fitted with some form
of self-cleaning system to keep
filters clear. These are typically
mechanical shakers or reverse
jet systems. Although filter
recommended check routines
and filter replacement
schedules, in practice it would
appear these guidelines are
regularly ignored. Faulty
operation can be caused by a
range of issues, including
blockages and the fitting of
unsuitable or wrongly-sized
filters. Most powders form hard
compounds when mixed with
water from the atmosphere,
further exacerbating the
problems at the top of the silo.
EFFECTIVE SILO PROTECTION
The MPA (Mineral Products Association) publishes
comprehensive guidelines for silo protection systems in quarries
and cement works, but there are little or no such
recommendations for powder silos used in a broader range of
industries including food and beverage, chemical, water
treatment and plastics. However the primary principles are the
same for protecting any pneumatically filled silos.
Even with guidelines in place, the bench mark for the effectiveness of any silo safety protection system can only relate
to the last time all the components were fully tested.
INTEGRATED DESIGN – KEY COMPONENTS FULLY TESTED IN
LESS THAN 10 SECONDS
Hycontrol takes an integrated approach to silo protection
design. Its SPS Advanced Silo Protection System allows the
testing of the PRV, pressure sensor and high level alarm at
ground level, prior to each fill. Only when all these safety
devices have passed the checks will the safety interlock allow the
silo inlet valve to open and the delivery to commence.
In addition, the SPS serves as a powerful predictive
maintenance diagnostic tool by recording critical near-miss
events that occur during the filling process. This information
allows managers to carry out effective predictive maintenance by
means of a logical step-by-step root cause analysis (RCA)
process to understand why the problems are arising. For
example, high pressure and PRV lift events may be due to filter
problems, prompting questions such as.
- are the filters the correct size?
- is the filter cleaning regime fully operational?
- have the filter bags/cartridges been changed as per manufacturers’ recommendations?
In parallel the logs will also indicate if the tanker drivers are
routinely over pressurizing during the fill process.
n summary, the Hycontrol system features:
- pressure sensor, hi-alarm level sensor and PRV testing (essential);
- simple ‘1’ button press to test all components in six seconds; v silo filling auto shut-off control;
- pneumatic cleaning of pressure sensor;
- recording of the number of events on incidents of over-pressure (time /date stamp);
- recording of the number of events of PRV lift and opening (time /date stamp);
- recording of the number of events of high level probe activation (time /date stamp);
- filter ON / OFF output option to check filter status; and
- filter air supply monitoring alarm option.
The practical reality is that powder storage silos can split or rupture at pressures as low as 1 or 2psi above atmospheric pressure. Malfunctioning filter housings can be ejected at similar pressures.
Cursory visual inspections of silo protection equipment is woefully inadequate. Therefore it is imperative that any installed safety system must be capable of providing reliable protection that can be easily verified by testing critical components before each and every delivery — without having to climb on top of the silo.
Hycontrol believes that many silos are ‘disasters waiting to happen’. The company has invested extensive time and money in understanding the stringent requirements for a fail-safe Silo Protection System and clear evidence shows that they are the only company that can provide total silo safety; protecting assets, the environment and most importantly site personnel and the public.The company has also developed specialist test equipment and strict routines for testing and maintaining silo protection systems.