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ALFELD/HANOVER - GreCon (international market leader for spark detection and extinguishment systems) has developed a preventive fire protection concept that sees to safe beet chip drying at Nordzucker.
With their preventive fire protection concept, which was especially developed for the beet chip processing of Nordzucker, GreCon realised a lighthouse project which secures the drying facilities by an automatic detection and extinguishment system and thus sees to a lasting protection for beet campaigns.
When drying beet chips, a by-product of the sugar production that is popular as animal feed, fire can easily occur in the dryer drums and the downstream transport ducts.
Due to very high drying temperatures of about 600 degrees, glowing particles can occur even in the area of humid chips.
If these glowing particles reach the dried material at the dryer outlet, they can result in big glowing embers.
If ignition sources reach the downstream transport or exhaust ducts, fire can spread out in large parts of the dry chip processing and destroy, at worst, complete production plants.
Although spark detection and temperature monitoring have been standard in these plant areas for many years, an automatic extinguishment has, however, been missing in the entire industry. This insufficient safety equipment has been a very unsatisfactory situation for Europe's second largest sugar manufacturer, Nordzucker AG, for a long time and led to cases of damage and production interruptions causing high costs again and again during the beet campaign that lasts for only three months.
Automatic extinguishment instead of high contributions
Against the background of a fire, worth millions, in the Nordzucker factory in Nordstemmen at the beginning of the beet campaign in autumn 2010 and the resulting announcement of the fire insurance company to increase the contribution by five times, the Nordzucker group finally felt obliged to equip all drying facilities in the group with automatic extinguishing systems, including additional spark detectors.
Time, kind and extent of the necessary extinguishing measures should no longer be dependent on the assessment and decision of the operator, but be carried out automatically and specifically adapted to the danger potential.
The complexity of the job and the high demands on an adequate technical solution led the sugar manufacturer directly to GreCon in Alfeld, who has been specialising in spark detection and extinguishment systems and industrial preventive fire protection for more than 35 years.
With their experiences of many years, gained in the wood based panel, food and chemical industries for example, GreCon has detailed knowledge to be able to convert the processes in the drying of sugar beet chips into a suitable fire protection solution.
To be able to offer the special deluge systems (high water capacity at high ambient temperatures) required in the dryer area in the required quality from one supplier, GreCon sought the cooperation with the just as renowned fire protection system manufacturer, Calanbau.
Concentrated expertise that also convinced Nordzucker.
A campaign before the campaign
By means of an ingenious technical solution, high-quality system components and an optimum project coordination, both companies were able to equip seven sugar factories of the Nordzucker group in Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Lithuania with additional spark detectors and the new application-specific extinguishment within the 12 weeks that remained until the beginning of the beet campaign 2011. "The cooperation with GreCon and Calanbau worked excellently. We are glad that this extensive project could be realised so smoothly and in time despite the short time period and that we could carry out last year's campaign so successfully." says Heribert Will, Senior Manager of Nordzucker AG, taking positive stock.
The fact that a trouble- and damage-free operation of the beet chip drying facilities can positively contribute to the group's results is impressively proved by the annual surplus of the Nordzucker AG that more than doubled to 208 million Euro in the financial year 2011/2012. "Today, we are glad to have spent money once instead of being confronted with big damage sums for each future fire, the extent of which is not calculable." says Will.
Thanks to a master agreement with GreCon for service and maintenance, the highest possible safety level can be ensured for all international production sites.
Safety concept with signalling effect
GreCon is convinced of the lighthouse function of this project. "The pressure of the fire insurance companies on the sugar factories to have their drying facilities equipped with such automatic extinguishing systems will significantly increase." says Jürgen Bartels, Project Manager of GreCon. Due to the positive experiences, Nordzucker has already placed an order with GreCon for the equipment of the pellet presses and coolers with suitable extingishing systems.
© GreCon / BulkInside
This article is published by GreCon
GreCon is an internationally operating company located in Alfeld/Hanover, Germany. The company is the market leader in the manufacturing and development of measuring equipment and fire protection systems for many kinds of industries - among others for the ...View company page