Electricity and Control January 2023


World class fire protection for new lubricants warehouse

Constructed as part of its Phase 1 expansion project, the new warehouse at FUCHS LUBRICANTS South Africa in Isando, Johannesburg, incorporates the latest technolo gy and complies with stringent fire detection and preven tion requirements. “We are familiar with working in high-risk environ ments and were able to bring our expertise and experi ence to bear in this project,” says ASP Fire CEO Michael van Niekerk, appointed as fire engineering consultant. “It was a team effort and it went smoothly, consider ing all the constraints posed by Covid-19 at the time, on such large-scale projects. The team was highly profes sional and we formed good relationships with each oth er,” van Niekerk comments. The expansion was first mooted five years ago, with a project management team assembled in 2018 to set out the specifications for a planned new warehouse and blending plant. The decision by a neighbouring OEM to relocate to a new facility allowed FUCHS to acquire the adjacent site, adding impetus to the project. Board ap proval was received in April 2020 and construction be gan in June that year, with DRA Global as the main EPCM contractor. “We had worked with DRA Global previously on our new grease plant and were fortunate to retain the same project manager for our latest expansion,” says FUCHS LUBRICANTS South Africa’s Managing Director Paul Deppe. Due to it being such a substantial investment, it was decided to split the expansion into two phases. With Phase 1 completed, planning is already well advanced for the next phase. ILS was appointed as the warehouse consultant, and the building has advanced features such as wrapping of all products and 100% selectivity and batch control. The latest materials-handling equipment has been adopted, including narrow-aisle lift trucks stacking to 17 metres high. The warehouse management system is based on a fully integrated barcoding system using SAP. The fire protection system is designed to the latest international best practice. The warehouse features 13-metre-high cast concrete tilt-up panels that provide a firewall between the warehouse and nearby production facilities. The use of these panels in this size is believed to be a first in South Africa. ASP Fire worked closely with ILS to determine the height of the firewalls. “Based on radiation heat calcula tions we were able to advise how high the firewalls had to be to comply with the requirements,” says van Niekerk. Safety distance calculations were carried out to ensure fire safety between the warehouse and a small adjacent storage area as well. “An interesting aspect of international regulations is that they reference ‘ignitable’ substances, as opposed to only combustible or flammable substances,” van Niekerk highlights. “This meant flashpoint requirements for specific types of liquids, as well as the type of container,

ASP Fire was the fire engineer and ILS the warehouse consultant for the new FUCHS LUBRICANTS South Africa warehouse, a hazardous materials warehouse. had to be taken into account. The moment an ignitable liquid such as oil is stored in a plastic or glass container, it becomes a high-risk item, because plastic can melt or glass break. Steel is different because it maintains the structural integrity of the container.” The firewalls had to comply with three main criteria: in sulation, integrity and being able to deal structurally with the potential collapse of the internal racking system in the event of a fire incident. This meant the firewalls could not collapse or deform beyond specific requirements. A tilt-and-lift panel system was selected to ensure compli ance. “It was a complex, high-risk building and we need ed to design a system to cater for a range of local and international requirements,” van Niekerk notes. These included the international FM Global Property Loss Prevention Data Sheet 7-29, Ignitable Liquid storage in portable containers. The facility is also classified as a J1 high-risk storage and occupancy area in terms of the SANS 10400: Part T – Fire Protection. “The biggest challenge was that, as a hazardous ma terials warehouse, it was automatically classified as high risk. The presence of combustible liquids made the fire protection requirements more onerous, including spe cific requirements for the building envelope,” adds van Niekerk. He highlights a further achievement in the plan and rational design compiled by ASP Fire in that the compa ny managed to retain the existing pumps and tanks on site without a need to upscale these components. This resulted in a significant cost saving and faster project timeline.

For more information contact ASP Fire. Visit: www.aspfire.co.za Or FUCHS LUBRICANTS South Africa. Visit: www.fuchs.com/za

JANUARY 2023 Electricity + Control


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