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Engineers install an alarm panel

Power station upgrades safety systems

Critical alarm specialist Omniflex has completed the replacement of two obsolete alarm units at Lerwick power station (LPS), the diesel-powered facility that provides energy to the Shetland Islands. Critical alarms are an essential part of safety protocols at remote industrial sites and an important part of regulatory compliance, so upgrading them in line with modern safety standards is crucial.

LPS is the principal source of electricity for the Shetland Islands, fulfilling around 50% of the archipelago’s electricity demand, as it is not connected to the National Grid. 30% is supplied by the nearby Sullom Voe Terminal power station, where Omniflex has conducted, and will soon conduct more, similar work to update their outdated alarm systems.

The original manufacturers that supplied their alarm annunciators around 30 years ago are no longer operational and they do not meet IEC 61508 safety integrity level (SIL) standards. To replace the outdated systems, LPS engaged Omniflex who provided the solution in the form of IEC61508 SIL-1 certified alarm annunciators.

“Obsolete alarm systems leave facilities and their staff at the mercy of equipment failure,” explained Darren Barratt, product sales manager at Omniflex. “The alarm systems we fitted for Lerwick exceed the latest safety requirements and connect to the site’s top-end system.

“We’ve supplied retrofit alarm units that fit directly into the existing space, using the previously installed wiring, and these were configured and fully tested off-site prior to installation, minimising the power station’s downtime.” concluded Barratt.

One of the main concerns for facility managers is the support and availability of spares for obsolete safety systems, which are no longer supported by manufacturers or industrial servicing companies. To mitigate this, Omniflex offers lifetime product support across its whole range and has technical engineers available to assist the on-site installation companies, ensuring the replacement process is a smooth transition with minimal disruption and downtime.

To find out more about navigating alarm obsolescence in industrial facilities, read Omniflex’s whitepaper on alarm annunciators and management.

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