Industry Thought Leaders: Our Patented Technology for hot work solutions.
In its many years of providing hot work solutions to the oil and gas, petrochemical, distilling and other process industries, Safehouse has been the industry thought leader, consistently improving safety and operational performance for customers. The experience and commitment of Safehouse in creating safe hot work environments has led to a number of industry proven innovative engineered hot work solutions. Some examples of our hazardous area technology leadership are described below.
Safehouse engineers designed and patented a panel for use in the assembly of a modular hot work habitat so as to form an enclosure to facilitate hot working. The panels comprise a layer of flexible structural material bonded to a layer of flexible fireproof material, with the innovation lying in the overlapping design of the layers. The awarded patent reflects that several interconnected panels comprise a habitat enclosure.
The patent has been granted in Malaysia, Trinidad, UK and USA – and is pending in a number of other jurisdictions.
Safehouse engineers invented an enclosure control system for use with a hot work enclosure or habitat. The system comprises:
- Gas detectors that signal when gas is present in air provided to an enclosure
- An air supply shutdown controller responsive to the gas detectors’ signal and which can be used to control the supply of air to the enclosure
- An enclosure shutdown controller to control the shutdown of the hot work (or other) apparatus within an enclosure/habitat
- The enclosure shutdown controller is arranged to operate independently of the provision of the air supply gas detection signal so that the air supply to the enclosure will continue to operate regardless of any alarm or shut down situation within the enclosure thereby ensuring a positive air pressure is maintained in the enclosure
The awarded patent describes a method of controlling the operation of a welding enclosure/habitat and reflects the Safehouse ethos of engineering protection for client personnel. The patent has been granted in the Australia, Europe, Malaysia and UK.
Temperature Controlled Habitat
Safehouse engineers have developed a patented means of safely controlling the ambient temperature in a pressurised habitat. This can allow valuable gains in productivity to be achieved given the hostile working environments in which SAFEHOUSE habitats are commonly deployed. The innovation involves air being supplied by a fan or blower to the habitat through a conduit that allows the means for altering the temperature or humidity of the air to be positioned before it enters the habitat. The fan or blower both creates and maintains an overpressure within the habitat and pumps air through the means for altering the temperature or humidity – this may comprise a heater and/or an air conditioning unit. The granted patent also narrates an air conditioning unit adapted to facilitate emergency shut down of a habitat assembly. With this patent, Safehouse engineers have not only devised a safe means of improving productivity but also one which benefits worker welfare.
The patent is granted in the UK and is pending in a number of other geographies including the Australia, Canada, Europe, UAE and USA.
Air Conditioning Unit
Safehouse engineers have developed a patented air conditioning unit for controlling the temperature and/or humidity of air supplied to a habitat, and a method of shutting down the air conditioning unit itself. The patented air conditioning unit features valves, preferably solenoids, and a refrigerant loop, with the valves enabling the isolation of the liquid and gas sides of the refrigerant loop during an emergency shutdown or a power interruption so reducing the risk of damage to the air conditioning unit. The refrigerant loop preferably comprises a condenser upstream of an expansion valve, then an evaporator, then a compressor. The valves may be provided adjacent to the expansion valve and compressor respectively. The patent, which is granted in the UK, also discloses a habitat (or welding enclosure) assembly comprising a conduit which supplies air to a habitat structure via the air conditioning unit which is used to adjust the temperature and/or humidity of the air. This innovation is separately patented as a temperature controlled habitat.
Welding Control System (WCS)
Safehouse engineers have developed a welding control system for use with a pressurised habitat. The control system comprises a shutdown module responsive to a received alarm signal that allows the operation of apparatus for performing hot work (or other activity) within the habitat to be stopped. Pressure sensors (that measure pressure difference between the inside and outside of a habitat) and air speed sensors (that measure outside air speed) are in communication with a pressure differential module. The pressure sensor is configured to send an alarm signal to the shutdown module when a measurement is less than a predetermined pressure difference and if an air speed is detected above a predetermined level. Accordingly, the welding control system detects air movement with the potential to generate a dynamic pressure sufficient to cause a loss of containment in the habitat, and causes the hot work apparatus to be shut down if predetermined thresholds are breached.
Through this system, Safehouse is able to provide its customers with a means of conducting welding (and other hot work) more safely in its habitats erected in hazardous areas. Patents are pending for this system in multiple geographies including Australia, Canada, Europe, Malaysia, UK and USA.
Engineers at Safehouse have developed an innovative habitat section to allow a habitat panel to be attached to a structural part of the asset on which the habitat is erected. The section features a structure-engaging portion with adaptations enabling easy engagement with the structural part as well as permitting the section to be be attached to adjacent habitat panels. The connection arrangements of the section are designed to be strongest in the direction in which they bear the greatest forces. An international patent application is pending for this feature, which is a good example of how Safehouse continually seeks to improve its technology in response to challenges encountered in the many and varied environments in which its flexible habitat systems are used.