Experts in fire protection

Overview

Today, steel is one of the most important industrial materials. The steel industry supplies intermediate products, such as hot wide strips, forging parts, sheet metal, rails, long products, wire and pipes, which are then processed further into end products. Many steel plants these days run at full steam. Production downtimes and business interruptions can have catastrophic results. If a business operation stops, the economic damage quickly runs into millions. Even small fires can paralyze an entire steel plant.

The risk of fire is high: Hot rolling mills and cold rolling mills, welding machines, control rooms and hydraulics rooms, oil cellars, cable ducts, coating and pickling systems – heat meets flammable materials almost everywhere. Flammable liquids such as oil, deposits and hot machine parts together with electrical ignition sources expose the production machines to a high risk of fire. Plant-dependent fire loads such as synthetics, ducts and oil reserves increase the risk. Investments in fire protection are crucial. 

Flames, smoke, gas emissions, heat – fire has many facets. Minimax has the right fire detectors for the various areas within a steel plant. Their signals converge in the fire detection and extinguishing control panel, which issues an alarm to the people at risk and the fire brigade. In addition, the Minimax panel monitors the installed fire protection system for proper functioning and electrically triggers the extinguishing systems that are not equipped with their own triggering elements, e.g. sprinkler systems.

A sprinkler system ensures overall building protection. Minimax offers a broad range of sprinkler types and special sprinklers that allow for ideal adaptation of the sprinkler system to the respective installation situation in the individual protected areas.

Areas with special fire risks or deployment conditions require - either in addition to or instead of the sprinkler system - a tailored volume or equipment protection system. For this reason, (water) deluge systems, Minifog water mist fire extinguishing systems, Oxeo inert gas extinguishing systems, carbon dioxide extinguishing systems and halocarbon extinguishing systems are used in steel plants.

The alarm and condition reports issued by the fire protection systems installed by Minimax, as well as by other suppliers, can be visualized on screens by the Inveron hazard management system.

Structural fire protection, as well as technical systems by Minimax Mobile Services, such as fire extinguishers, wall hydrants and smoke and heat extraction systems, complete fire protection in steel plants. 

Protected areas

1
Coke ovens
2
Offices
3
Sinter plants
4
Hydraulics rooms
5
Cable ducts
6
Furnace
7
Control stations
8
Continuous casting plant and ladle rooms
9
Hot rolling mills
10
Cold rolling mills
11
Pickling line
  1. Coke ovens
    1 Coke ovens

    Protection zone

    The process which produces coke and crude gas in the coking plant, needs temperatures between 900 and 1,400 degrees celsius in the coke chambers – these operating conditions impose high demands on personnel and material. Materials such as tar, sulphuric acid, ammonia or naphthalene harbor specific hazards. Not forgetting the huge belts which quickly transport coal and coke through areas of the plant that are difficult to access. Minimax offers a whole range of highly-specialist fire protection solutions for these different fire hazards.

    Risks

    • Overheated roller bearings
    • Ignition of dust particles
    • Spontaneous ignition of wet coal

    Fire Protection

    Heat detectors, gas emission detectors and multiple criteria detectors reliably monitor the conveyor belts. They detect fires that are about to start and automatically trigger the extinguishing system. Minimax spray water systems are a well-proven solution in areas where burnt material is transported. If only a limited supply of water is available, then the Minifog water mist extinguishing system is a sensible alternative.

  2. Offices
    2 Offices

    Protection zone

    Offices, conference rooms and dining rooms are generally used by staff and guests. In addition, staff members may also retire to break rooms or smoking rooms and to kitchens during work. Corridors run through the entire building, serving as a main traffic route.

    Risks

    • Defective electrical devices such as projectors and computers
    • Overheating of the lighting
    • Short circuits at vending machines

    Fire Protection

    Minifog EconAqua water mist extinguishing systems offer space- and water-saving protection and can be connected to an existing sprinkler system. In areas with higher ceilings, sprinkler systems provide reliable fire protection. 

  3. Sinter plants
    3 Sinter plants

    Protection zone

    From the fine-grained raw material to the solid iron ore sinter, you will find ore dust, concentrates and aggregates passing through another highly dangerous process in the sinter plant: the large number of materials, high pressure and renewed high operating temperatures harbor significant fire risks here in all stages of the sintering. Because the systems work with hydraulic components and because IT-based control units are installed in the switch rooms, the combined technologies require very different types of protection.

    Risks

    • Burst and leaking hydraulic hoses
    • Electrical malfunctions in switch rooms
    • High temperatures

    Fire Protection

    Minifog water mist extinguishing systems provide very effective protection in the area of hydraulic systems and on conveyor systems. A foam extinguishing system provides very effective protection against the risk of oil fires. 

  4. Hydraulics rooms
    4 Hydraulics rooms

    Protection zone

    The necessary forces for the pressing process are generated in the hydraulics rooms. This requires hydraulic power units, which consist of hydraulic oil tanks, drive motors and pumps. Such facilities are generally located in an enclosed hydraulics chamber below the press.

    Risks

    • Leakage in oil pipelines or shaft seals
    • Hot surfaces of the power units
    • Igniting oil deposits

    Fire Protection

    Minifog ProCon water mist extinguishing systems provide reliable fire protection for hydraulic power units. If the area contains sensitive electronic equipment, carbon dioxide extinguishing systems offer residue-free extinguishing of a fire as an alternative. Detection of fires and triggering of Minifog ProCon water mist extinguishing systems and carbon dioxide extinguishing systems is via a fire detection system equipped with UniVario flame and heat detectors.

  5. Cable ducts
    5 Cable ducts

    Protection zone

    Whether for power supply or data transmission, countless cables are required for the operation and supply of a power station. In order to provide adequate protection, in addition to for aesthetic reasons, cables are distributed via cable channels and organized in cable rooms and galleries.

    Risks

    • Technical defects, such as short circuits
    • Rapid spread of fire

    Fire Protection

    The Minifog ProCon water mist extinguishing system is used in cable ducts as well as in cable rooms and galleries. Designed with impulse nozzles in cable ducts, and with twin hollow core nozzles in cable rooms and galleries, this water mist extinguishing system is particularly notable for its minimal consumption of water. Fire detection and triggering of the water mist extinguishing system in cabling areas is done through fire detection systems with optical smoke detectors. 

  6. Furnace
    6 Furnace

    Protection zone

    The furnace works ceaselessly at temperatures above 1,000 degrees celsius. Huge quantities of coke keep this system at the correct temperature so that the crude iron can continue to be extracted from mineral ores. The plant-specific fire protection must take into account the fact that, in addition to a permanent operation, even if there is a fire near the furnace, a speedy shutdown is not likely to be possible. Deposits on the most diverse of elements, oil and other flammable liquids on mobile system components present a huge risk in light of the extremely high operating temperature. Similar to the coking plant, it is important to monitor the coke conveyor belts using operationally safe detectors and to fight fires in the early stages using an automatic extinguishing system. In addition to such areas with a high fire load the furnace is also flanked by sensitive technical systems which require a large spectrum of fire protection systems.

    Risks

    • Hydraulic oil and lubricating oil can ignite when near a glowing molten mass
    • Risk of fire to control units and drives near the ladle, distributor and strand guide system

    Fire Protection

    Minifog water mist extinguishing systems reliably protect areas from the ladle turret to the output roller conveyor. 

  7. Control stations
    7 Control stations

    Protection zone

    Control stations are the focal point to ensure permanent safety checks. These control stations are often located in small to medium-sized rooms equipped with monitors and other technical equipment for visual supervision, e.g. with Minimax Inveron.

    Risks

    • Technical defects, such as short circuits
    • Overheating of computers or other electronic devices

    Fire Protection

    Control stations can be integrated into an existing sprinkler system for building protection. To provide additional protection for electric and electronic devices, the risk of accidental triggering of the sprinkler systems is reduced through the use of Preaction sprinklers. 

  8. Continuous casting plant and ladle rooms
    8 Continuous casting plant and ladle rooms

    Protection zone

    During continuous casting, liquid steel is converted into rolled ingots and slugs – but first it has to pass a broad range of transport routes from the ladle via the distributor to the mold. Hydraulic and electrical drives, lubricating oil and a good dose of technology ensure movement in the continuous casting plant. Fire, water, air – the elements are in very close proximity to each other, more than in almost any other system part. Steel heated to 1,400 degrees meets drive technology and electrical systems

    Risks

    • Hydraulic oil and lubricating oil can ignite when near a glowing molten mass.
    • Fire risk at control units and drives near the ladle and strand guide system

    Fire Protection

    To protect areas from the ladle turret to the output roller conveyor against fire, Minifog water mist extinguishing systems are the ideal choice. 

  9. Hot rolling mills
    9 Hot rolling mills

    Protection zone

    Red-hot slabs delivered reach further machining temperatures of between 750 and 1,250 degrees celsius in the furnace. This induces similar fire risks as in the coking plant and sinter plant. Added to this during roll-out are hydraulically driven presses and edging stands with similar risks such as the drive components during continuous casting. Leakages in hydraulic pipes often trigger a spray jet or oil mist which easily ignites in such an environment. High temperatures are a constant occurrence during rolling, thereby posing an unavoidable source of ignition.

    Risks

    • Hydraulic pipes along the rolling mills
    • High material temperatures

    Fire Protection

    Automatic fire detection on rolling mills is a problem due to the operational disturbance variables such as embers, steam or flying sparks. In certain segments, fire detection relies on personnel-intensive video monitoring. In the event of a fire, the extinguishing system is triggered manually. Deluge systems protect the roller stands.

  10. Cold rolling mills
    10 Cold rolling mills

    Protection zone

    The cold rolling mill specializes in production precision: Reversing stands or tandem mills roll the hot wide strip to the dimensions requested by the customer. This poses a challenge for fire protection, since to achieve low production tolerances, the rolling trains are fitted with the latest control and adjustment systems.

    Risks

    • High temperatures
    • Risk of operational failure in case of fires in sensitive control systems

    Fire Protection

    Minifog water mist extinguishing systems reliably protect certain parts of the cold rolling mill, such as drives, stands and structure. Oxeo inert gas extinguishing systems are ideally suited to protect the sensitive control technology of the roller gap.

  11. Pickling line
    11 Pickling line

    Protection zone

    Efficient fire protection starts at the descaling plant on a pickling line. The acid bath which then removes oxide layers from the rolling process on the hot rolled strip, presents a considerable fire load for modern systems with their plastic reservoirs and plastic exhaust air channels. If a fire should start here, it can spread very quickly. The chemical pickling process also yields larger quantities of hydrogen.

    Risks

    • Generation of gas and risk of explosion from chemical processes
    • Flammable plastic of reservoirs, supply lines and exhaust air systems

    Fire Protection

    The fire detection system is an essential component in protecting the pickling line: Minimax nuisance-safe flame detectors detect a fire and activate a defined fire control system – a combination of disconnection, activation of extinguishing areas and exhaust air control. Process parts of the push-pull pickling line, welding machine and exhaust air stack are protected by a Minifog water mist system. A carbon dioxide extinguishing system protects the lubricators on the pickling lines. 

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Fire protection solution for steel plants
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