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Combining Mechanical Interlocks with Process Safety Sensors

19 February 2016

Smith Flow Control is the first company to combine mechanical interlocks with digital technology in the development of the SmartTrap+, which incorporates signals from sensors into the interlocking sequence.

By incorporating signals from other field devices like pressure or H2S/CO2 sensors into the interlocking sequence, the SmartTrap+ ensures interlock keys can only be released if particular process conditions have been met.

So, for example, this could mean that the key for opening the vessel closure door will only be released when the pressure inside the vessel is acceptable and no dangerous gases or residue are detected. SmartTrap+ incorporates permissive signals and a door lock proximity switch (4-20mA) as standard.

The signals can include (but are not limited to) pressure detection, gas detection, flow/ level and pig detection. Some of the factors contributing to pipeline pigging incidents include:
•Lack of training or complacency
•Lack of hazard awareness
•False sense of security and reliance only on pressure gauges SmartTrap+ effectively deals with these factors, making pigging a safer operation and grants full traceability in real time. The process industry's standard preventive actions include:
•Hazard identification and risk assessment including management of changes
•Awareness, training and competencies of personnel
•Procedures that address normal and upset conditions SmartTrap+ reinforces these actions and implements genuine physical control on any pigging operation.

For operators needing to ensure higher levels of process safety, the SmartTrap+ is an ideal solution. By incorporating the best of traditional mechanical interlocking with process sensor information to ensure all vessels are safe to access, it will help to reduce accidents and reduce downtime.

About Smith Flow Control Smith Flow Control (SFC) is a British company specialising in mechanical valve control equipment. This includes procedural control using mechanical valve interlocks and activity management systems: EasiDrive portable valve actuators, FlexiDrive mechanical valve linkage systems for remote and/or simultaneous valve operation and TorkDrive, a torque limiting device. SFC is a subsidiary of Halma plc.


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