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  • Dear Readers,

    The term “shutdown” is really not the best choice of word for describing what our customers and we do during a major turnaround. The only thing that has been shut down is the facility itself – everything else around it is a hive of activity. In fact, work begins months before a shutdown is due to take place as everything has to be meticulously planned and organised and all possible parts produced in advance so that the plant can be up and running again in as short a time as possible.

    BUCHEN and XERVON took part in two major shutdowns earlier this year – both at the same time. All in all, the two companies deployed around 1,200 employees over this four-week period to carry out a whole range of different tasks. Very few companies in Germany are able to take on such a mammoth project. Read our feature article to find out how we succeeded in doing this.

    Brand-new technological developments

    Another thing that creates a hive of activity at our company is our desire to solve our customers’ problems and find bespoke solutions that meet their exact requirements. We are constantly working on further improving our services by developing technical innovations that make processes even more efficient. We have come up with a number of smart ideas for a range of different applications. From closed loop processes, to getting maintenance work fit for the future with condition monitoring, all the way through to creating our own complex technological developments such as the dense phase conveyor system and our very own industrial cleaning robot, the automated industrial cleaner (AIC).

    No matter what development we may be looking at, our focus is always on improving workplace safety. As a result, we have launched a variety of product innovations onto the market recently that makes working in boilers much safer. We have also been awarded a number of work safety prizes from our customers – demonstrating that this subject is just as important for them as well. And we are happy to admit that we are extremely proud to have been awarded these. They are proof that our ongoing efforts to improve work safety are bearing fruit. Whether it be RWE, EVONIK or Covestro – to name just a few – they have all commended us and thanked us for the hard work we carry out in this area. We, too, would like to say a big “thank you” to them: for giving us these awards and giving us the opportunity to work with them. We are also doubly proud because we operate in such a wide range of fields, all of which – such as tank cleaning work – have their own particular hazards and risks. Our experts are in high demand both for onshore and, in particular, offshore projects. From the North Sea to the easternmost region of Russia: our customers like to make the very most of our in-depth know-how and specialist technology.

    Outstanding scaffolding services

    What’s more, the latest scaffolding projects in Sweden and Austria clearly demonstrate just what a name XERVON has made for itself as one of the leading European scaffolding businesses. Both projects involve extremely complex requirements, whether it has to do with weather protection or special anchorage solutions. In fact, we are well-known for delivering specialty scaffolding solutions in all of the countries we operate in. Which was one of the reasons why we invested in our scaffolding business in the German town of Eisenhüttenstadt. With both the workforce and workload having expanded over the last few years, we decided to invest in our employees, in our customers and in the region as a whole.

    Have fun reading this first ever digital edition of our magazine – you’re bound to read about a service or product that could be of interest to your own business!

    • Hans-Dieter Behrens

      Olaf Karrass

      Jürgen Lennertz

    • Matthias Ebach

      Carsten Lange

      Klaus Thiele

Innovative ideas keep employees safe

In their ongoing efforts to improve work safety, BUCHEN KraftwerkService GmbH recently launched a number of product innovations onto the market that will – above all – make boiler work considerably safer. RWE has already commended the company for “further developing health and safety”.

Radio communications at 120 dB?

The risk of a work accident is considerably higher when blast cleaning work has to be carried out in storage vessels or narrow spaces: hose lines, fixtures, ropes and cables are all potential tripping hazards, insufficient lighting or sudden blackouts, extreme climatic conditions, noise ... the list of hazards is long. Which is why the rules drawn up by the DGUV [German Social Accident Insurance] explicitly stipulate that an additional person must be present and must be in constant contact with the operatives working in the vessel, silo or narrow space so that they can help or call for help in the case of an emergency.

Up to now, however, it has proven to be extremely difficult – or even practically impossible – to find a radio communications system that works well enough for operatives to remain in constant contact with the person outside whilst carrying out blast cleaning work in vessels or narrow spaces. The operative and boiler operator generally communicate using Morse code via the so-called “dead man’s switch”.

  • The incredibly high noise levels generated by blasting work (in some cases more than 120dB) mean that the operatives need really efficient ear protectors

    Born out of necessity: the dead man’s switch seen here – designed as a piece of safety equipment – is often also used to communicate with those outside.

    The solutions currently available on the market are suitable for stationary cubicles used to blast clean equipment and, to a certain extent, for blast cleaning work carried out in the open. Things become a lot more difficult, however, when the work needs to be done inside a boiler, e.g. on the refractory concrete. Boilers act like a Faraday cage so the signal must be extremely strong to penetrate the walls. What’s more, the incredibly high noise levels generated by blasting work (in some cases more than 120dB) mean that the operatives need really efficient ear protectors. At the same time, the communication system’s two-way headset must also work perfectly.

BUCHEN’s very own innovation

Having carried out both extensive product research work and product trials, BUCHEN’s specialists have succeeded in developing their own set of patent-protected equipment that meets absolutely all these requirements: a combination of a high-performance radio device, PPE-compatible switches, blasting helmets with an integrated headset and a special protective pouch. This system means that rapid radio contact can be set up between those in and outside the boiler (via a frequency agreed on with the ‘BNetzA’ [Federal Network Agency]) even when the levels of noise are extremely high. RWE has already officially commended the company on developing this innovative radio communications concept. BUCHEN’s engineers are currently looking into where else this innovative system could be used.

There is also huge potential for another BUCHEN innovation, which is already protected as a utility model and is currently undergoing tests to receive CE accreditation: a handheld, LED-operated boiler lamp. Special lamps that are used as safety equipment or for emergency lighting and that have not been designed for general lighting use are exempt from the ban on incandescent and halogen light bulbs. Such lamps include, for example, handheld industrial lamps such as those used when working on boilers. Despite this exemption, however, the BUCHEN engineers believed there was still room for improvement as the bulbs often have to be changed as they are neither impact nor shock-proof. This costs both time and money and – above all – creates dangerous situations if the light suddenly goes out and the person in the boiler finds themselves in the dark.

Thanks to the engineers developing an industrial LED handheld lamp, the lifespan of the bulb is much longer than that of conventional bulbs. Long-term tests have shown that the lifespan has been increased from an average 20 hours to up to 90 days. What’s more they are also much brighter, increasing the amount of light from an average 870 lumen to an average 1,350 lumen – a rise of almost 59 percent. To sum up: the new LED handheld lamps clearly increase work efficiency levels and cut costs. Two good reasons why BUCHEN is already working on other types of lamps for use in a whole range of other areas.

With the level of brightness increasing by almost 59% and the bulbs lasting up to 90 days, work efficiency levels are higher and costs considerably lower

1st place for BUCHEN UmweltService

EVONIK’s Lülsdorf branch has presented BUCHEN UmweltService GmbH with its 2016 Partner Award in recognition of its excellent safety standards. 1st place was given to the company’s team of employees who had demonstrated exemplary levels of workplace safety whilst carrying out their day-to-day work. The Partner Award trophy and certificate were handed over to BUCHEN’s very proud team during a special ceremony held at the beginning of the year.

A number of EVONIK employees (work safety and plant security staff, plant and departmental managers, day shift foremen and contractor coordinators) had observed and evaluated the work performed by the partner firms at the site over a twelve-month period. BUCHEN is responsible for the complex high pressure industrial jet cleaning work needed at the Lülsdorf plant (e.g. for their storage vessels, heat exchangers, pipes etc) as well as for the cleaning and CCTV inspection of the plant’s wastewater network.

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