From ship to shore

Published:  11 December, 2017

The largest pump/monitor package in the world is transferring from the marine world to high-hazard land applications; Jose Sanchez de Muniain finds out more details.

Consisting of an 80,000lpm monitor and two 45,000lpm pumps mounted on a single container, the technology made its explosive debut on land in November during Adipec, the Abu Dhabi Petroleum Exhibition & Conference.

The pump/monitor package is proven technology that has been installed on fire-fighting ships around the world for the past 15 years. In fact, earlier last month Fire Fighting Systems won the contract to place its pump and monitor on Singapore Civil Defence’s new fireboat, which will be the world’s largest fireboat in capacity. FFS estimates that its pumps and monitors are installed on over 4,000 ships in the world. “If you look at the entire vertical market for fire-fighting ships, we have approximately 90% of that market,” says newly appointed managing director – landbased systems, Roger Champagne.

The trend for increasingly large storage tank farms, LNG site, nuclear sites and refineries has now made the land-based market attractive enough for the Norway-headquartered manufacturer, who is currently actively looking to build a land-based network of agents and distributors that mirrors its existing marine equivalent.

"The transition of the specialist marine equipment to land has required some adaptation," admits Champagne. "Obviously a monitor and a pump on a ship are fixed, so we had to take the pumps equipment and install them in containers or trailers to make them mobile, which is something we were not so familiar with. And going mobile with pumps and monitors involves large-diameter hose systems, which in some scenarios could be 4 to 5km away.”

However, some aspects that would have been perhaps more challenging to other manufacturers have not been the case for FFS: all the equipment is already listed and graded for use with seawater. The pumps are made of nickel aluminium bronze with duplex stainless steel shaft and impeller, as are the monitors. “We carry any sort of marine listing you can dream of, including Russian and Chinese standards,” adds Champagne.

The result of the R&D is a range of systems that includes monitors and trailers, skids and pump packages, trucks, hoses, foam systems and control systems. And of course, the world’s largest water monitor for storage tank fire fighting, the Ton Canon skid. Driven by two Caterpillar-C32 diesel engines and FFS SFP400x500 fire pumps, this heavy-duty monitor can flow over 80,000lpm – or 4,800 m3ph – over a distance of over 200m. That equates to delivering 1.4 tonnes of water/foam mixture, every second.

Three other smaller land-based monitors are also on offer, varying in diameter from 6 to 12 inches and with flow capacities of 45,500lpm (12,000gpm), 22,700lpm (6,000gpm) and 11,300lpm (3,000gpm); a smaller, 4-inch monitor that will flow at 9,500lpm (2,500gpm) is currently under development to complement the range.

While the launch into specific land-based systems is a new move for FFS, that is not to say that its solutions have not been actively sought for high-risk installations on land. In January last year an FFS system was commissioned on the HES Wilhelmshaven tank farm in Germany, and two of its elevated monitors are in the Exon facilities in Singapore, which was managed by its agent DNM. A video on Youtube shows the system being tested in the tank farm in HES Wilhelmshaven. Here, the large-diameter hose in a container on a truck is attached to a fixed hydrant, and water is supplied by three 45,000lpm pumps to a remote controlled monitor with a capacity of 45,000lpm, which throws the water over 180m.

The majority of the company’s equipment is manufactured at its 7,200m2 facilities in Amal, Sweden, including the Atex-certified electronic control panels and most of the foam proportioning equipment. In a proprietary, state-of-the-art testing facility, products are tested on 550kW or 2,000kW test beds prior to delivery. These include pump head and capacity tests; efficiency; power consumption; suction performance; and pump full-load testing. Currently the company is carrying out final tests to ensure that its pumps packages are capable of self-priming, and capable of using fluorine-free foam, as required by many offshore operators.

"The in-house engineering know-how," says Champagne, "affords some interesting technical plus points to our equipment. To avoid complications in an emergency situation, our foam proportioners are directly mounted on our pump, in an around-the-pump design that uses the extra flywheel on the diesel driver to introduce foam directly, with no pressure drop. As we know how much water will flow we have the exact proportion.” Furthermore, some of the engineering knowledge gained in the marine world, where space for equipment is severely limited, is also proving useful on land. “In addition, we use the same water that is being pumped to cool the engine, which means we can fit two pumps in a single container.”

On returning from Adipec, Champagne reports that the large-capacity land-based systems had generated a huge amount of interest from both owners and potential distributors. “FFS has solid experience in engineering of the complete fire-fighting system which enable us to ensure performance and compliance without use of a costly third party. This ability will sure be very useful also for many land-based projects. Our ambition for the land-based market is to become a complete system supplier like we are for the marine market,” concludes Champagne.

  • Operation Florian

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