Proactive measures can mitigate the risk of plant fire and explosion, associated with the operation of thermal fluid systems

European process manufacturers are being urged to initiate long term risk management strategies, in order to address the likelihood of plant fire and explosion due to poor system maintenance.

UK-based Thermal Fluid Solutions (TFS) is campaigning to encourage process manufacturers across the continent to take proactive measures to minimise the risk of fire and explosion associated with the operation of the thermal fluid systems used to transfer heat around their plants.

The risk relates to the fact that thermal fluid systems’ operating temperatures are typically higher than the “closed cup flash point” of the thermal oil within – the minimum temperature at which, in the presence of a source of ignition, such as electrical sparks, a fluid’s vapours will ignite. According to FM Global, 54% of all thermal fluid related fires and explosions are due to poor system maintenance.

Manufacturers can minimise the risk of fire and explosion, while simultaneously ensuring production efficiency, statutory compliance and minimal insurance premiums, by adopting an ongoing strategy of sampling, analysis and the recovery of flash points to a safe level.

Traditionally, flash point recovery could only be achieved by total fluid replacement, which was expensive and incurred considerable system down-time; however reconditioning services are now available, providing a quick, cost-effective and environmentally sustainable alternative.

TFS offers fluid sampling and reconditioning as part of its PACT™ (Professional Accreditation Compliance Team) Partner Programme, developed to enable manufacturers to protect their assets and operate with safety and efficiency.

TFS’ managing director, Richard Franklin, said: “There is a growing awareness of the importance of managing the risk of fire and explosion associated with the operation of thermal fluid systems. 

“The Covid-19 closures have encouraged many European firms to take stock and kick-start robust risk management strategies and TFS has been supporting them with a new series of online webinars.”