BSC experts have upgraded the internal carbon monoxide monitoring system
Recently we commemorated twenty years since the largest tragedy in the history of the Košice steelworks, when 11 people died and dozens of other were poisoned due to a fblast-furnace gas pipeline explosion and subsequent carbon monoxide (CO) escape. To prevent such fatal accidents, the Company has implemented several safety measures. One of them was the installation of an internal and external CO monitoring system, which has been in operation since 1997.
The internal section of monitoring was recently upgraded by BSC experts during a two-year operation. “The system has been in continuous operation for fifteen years, and the hardware and software of the system were obsolete. The main task was to update the communication technology and replace the data concentrators. We had old computers running on old operating systems. IT was finding it quite difficult to find the spare parts in cases of hardware failure,” said BSC Project Manager Mr. Igor Seman, explaining one of the major disadvantages of the original system. As he added, after completion of the upgrade the system should serve for the next ten to fifteen years without any problems. In addition to the BSC experts and colleagues from the Director Crisis Management Unit, external suppliers were also involved in the project. Esten s.r.o. was responsible for modification of the software application and Procesná automatizácia, a.s. was another supplier. Mr. Štefan Szilági was a team leader. “Our mission involved installation of new hardware and testing and adjustment of the control system software for the audio and visual alarm system,” said Mr. Szilági, outlining the major competences. He also added that the above system contains hundreds of sensors, combined in twenty five nodes.
In the course of two years, the colleagues from BSC together with suppliers have upgraded the whole internal monitoring system covering the facilities in the CRM, Surface Treatment Lines and Tin Mill, Power Engineering, HRM, Steel Plants, Blast Furnaces and Cokery divisions. Igor Seman also mentioned that the system does not monitor only the carbon monoxide concentrations, but the sensors are able to recognize the occurrence of ammonia, nitrogen or oxygen. A well-arranged graphic output is displayed on the monitors in the control rooms of the respective divisions and plants, and of course on the central control room of U. S. Steel Košice. “The majority of the time has been spent in the Cold Rolling Mill. This is understandable though, as it was the first division to be upgraded. The individual working teams had to divide up and synchronize the working competences and create the communication standards. We were able to reduce the necessary time when moving to the next divisions,” Igor Seman said. He added that they are planning to extend the monitoring system to the Power Engineering division. “The system is also going to be installed on boiler no. 5, but this will be possible only after completion of its construction.”
According to Igor Seman, all teams have done a good job. The system works without any faults and its primary function is protection of health and life of all employees, so 27 October, 1995 can never happen again. Next year, they are planning to upgrade the external CO monitoring system as well.
The above project has been assessed by Vice President BSC Richard C. Shank as the best project in the third quarter of this year.