Rope access solutions provider Skyriders is currently providing maintenance solutions on the deluge fire sprinkler system installed at one of South Africa’s largest petrochemicals companies’ fuel and gas tanks as part of a five-year contract.
Skyriders was contracted by the petrochemicals company in June last year to remove paint from a petrochemicals tank – 21 m in diameter and 14 m in height – using an ultrahigh-pressure process, says Skyriders marketing manager Mike Zinn.
“Rope access enables the Skyriders team to immediately access and undertake maintenance work on the fire protection system of a refinery, as opposed to building the more traditional means of access, which is large in size and, therefore, requires a lot of money and is time consuming,” he explains.
Being a specialist in maintenance solutions on the deluge fire sprinkler systems in petrochemicals refineries, Zinn tells Engineering News that, once the maintenance project has been completed, the Skyriders team simply unties the ropes and rigging equipment and quickly moves over to the next maintenance location.
A four-man maintenance team abseils around the petrochemicals tanks of the refinery to flush the network and unclog and replace deluge nozzles, in addition to testing the system’s efficiency.
The team is permanently on site because of the continuous nature of the maintenance on the tanks – once a specific section has been completed, the other sections are due for maintenance.
“The maintenance work completed on the tanks is in line with the refinery’s maintenance schedule. Ideally, when the team is performing maintenance duty, the tank should be off-line; however, owing to the frequency of the maintenance tasks, the work is sometimes completed while the tanks are on-line,” he adds.
The Midrand-based company’s projects have also included maintenance and inspections of the petrochemicals tanks’ fire systems at petroleum, oil and gas supplier PetroSA’s refinery, in Mossel Bay, Cape Town; at natural gas regulator Egoli Gas, in Johannesburg, as well as phosphate and phosphoric acid supplier Foskor.