​Small-scale Safety Breakaway Couplings achieves SIL 2 certification

​Small-scale Safety Breakaway Couplings achieves SIL 2 certification

Alpha Process Controls’ small-scale Safety Breakaway Couplings for the transfer of hazardous materials, including Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) and Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG), have achieved a respected industry safety standard.

Alpha Process Controls, a member of the GT Group, provides the Traffic Safety concept of the Knorr-Bremse Group and is part of its vision toward an accident-free future on the road.

Utilised by international industry for more than 40 years for the safe transfer of bulk hazardous liquids and gases, including cryogenics, Alpha’s standard and cryogenic small-scale couplings are now recognised as holding the Safety Integrity Level (SIL) 2 certification.

The certification confirms the Safety Breakaway Couplings’ consistent ability to prevent loss of product during transfer. The passive devices are located between terminal-pipework and flexible loading hoses and typically employed in liquid transfer between terminals and road and rail tankers and ships.

During a towaway incident, the flexible loading hose comes into tension transmitting the load to the breakaway coupling. This causes the pre-determined break bolts to snap, allowing the coupling halves to separate. When the breakaway occurs, each have of the coupling seals immediately, preventing major product spillage.

The units, which are available in 1.5, 2.5, 3, 4, 6, and 8-inch configurations, join Alpha Process Controls’ Marine Emergency Release couplings in holding the recognised reliability rating.

Further demonstrating the safety, integrity and performance of the technology, the couplings were subjected the range to an extensive, independent testing and assessment programme to secure the SIL 2 rating.

The assessment and certification were undertaken by UK consultancy Technis, led by Dr David J Smith, BSc, PhD, CEng, FIEE, FIQA, HonFSaRS, MIGasE. With more than 40 years’ experience in reliability and risk assessment and technical training courses.

A past President of the Safety and Reliability Society, David chairs the IGEM (Chartered Institution of Gas Engineers and Managers) panel, which develops guidelines on safety-related systems, and was a founder member of the Safety Critical Systems Committee of the Institution of Electrical Engineers (now IET).

Alpha Process Controls is recognised as the world-leader in manufacture and supply of couplings and has been at the forefront of the hazardous liquids transfer sector for more than 40 years.

From its base in North East England, the company designs, manufactures and installs the systems, along with loading arms and loading skids, which are supplied to its international client base that includes Shell, BP and Exxon.

John Lamb, Managing Director of Alpha Process Controls, said: “The small-scale systems are important members of our portfolio of safety breakaway couplings and achieving the SIL 2 rating further endorses the safety and integrity of the technology.

“Our simple, but effective release mechanism offers real benefits in terms keeping site personnel safe and assets operational, which has earned Alpha Process Controls a positive reputation across the industry.”