Distillery safety first for the Academy of Joint Integrity

Distillery safety first for the Academy of Joint Integrity

The West Yorkshire-based Academy of Joint Integrity, part of global sealing solutions specialist Flexitallic, is training maintenance teams in the drinks industry by offering certified flange assembly/sealing technology courses to underpin safety in distillery sector.

The Academy has conducted trainingfor a number of distilleries including Edrington and Williams Grants following changes to the regulations governing major accident hazards.

Distilleries, which are classed as CoMAH (Control of Major Accident Hazards) sites where flammable liquids pose a potential risk, have a duty of care to provide certified training for anyone, including contractors, involved in maintaining flanged connections.

On 1 June 2015 the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 2015 (CoMAH) replaced CoMAH 1999, which has now been revoked widening the net of companies likely to be effected by the rules, to include many smaller firms for the first time.

Flexitallic has also developed a unique fire safety gasket for the industry, Flexidram, to allow distilleries to support the integrity of their process pipework. Flexitallic has supplied Flexidram to several distilleries in the Glasgow area and North East Scotlandincluding Diageo’s Glen Ord Distillery, Chivas’ Miltonduf Distillery along with process instrumentation and control specialists MiS Process Solutions.

Flexidram is a fire-safe, food grade quality gasket and is engineered to be ideally-suited to the flange designs used in distillery process pipe work.

Alongside the development of Flexidram, Flexitallic is offering the certified training through the Academy of Joint Integrity to prevent Loss of Containment within the distillery sector, permitting compliance to the new COMAH regulations.

Typically, the Academy would have a professional engineer/trainer on site for a day, training up to 20 personnel with courses tailor-made to suit the client’s business and operational requirements. Pre-course site audit investigation remains a key element to the training. This enables the challenges faced by the on-site maintenance team to be reflected in the on-site training.

Randall MacDonald, Engineering Manager-South, from Scotland’s largest whisky distiller, Edrington, said of the training: “(It was) an engaging and informative training course, which provided valuable insight and challenged preconceptions around the assembly and integrity of bolted joints.”

The Academy of Joint Integrity was created by Flexitallic to provide accredited, bespoke practical training to engineers and technicians covering all areas of flange assembly/sealing technology and joint integrity, underpinning loss of containment initiatives.

It also provides on-site Integrity audits for clients with aging assets to give technical evaluations of how to address corroded flanges and pipework.

Flexitallic’s presence in Scotland is also supported through its UK distribution network for its portfolio of sealing solutions. The company has an established allied distributor, William Johnston, based in Inverness and Glasgow.

Gary Milne, Academy Technical Director, said: “Safety is of prime importance; traditionally distilleries have been very reactive. However, CoMAH 2015 legislation now makes this training critical.

“Unique training programmes have been developed to fit the needs of the distilleries and we have trained a number of plants in terms of loss of containment best practice. This includes gasket technology and flange assembly technology to industry best practice so distilleries can provide evidence to the regulators that their people have been trained in latest Industry Best Practice standards.

“But it’s not just about meeting regulatory requirements. They also want to protect their brands. These are well known international brands and their brand names are critical and the last thing they want is a reportable Loss of Containment.’’