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OI New Zealand 

Ol New Zealand - fire protection case study

O-I is New Zealand's only glass packaging manufacturer, employing over 200 people at its Penrose plant in Auckland. Manufacturing two-thirds of all glass bottles required by New Zealand beverage manufacturers, mainly the beer and wine industry, the site operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

With a view to fully meeting New Zealand's demand for glass packaging, O-I recently decided to establish a third furnace which will increase its production capacity by 50%. To enable this expansion, O-I undertook a major building and construction project during 2010.

Argus has successfully managed all fire protection services at the O-I Penrose site for fourteen years. Based on their close working relationship and ability to tailor a reliable service, Argus was selected in November 2009 to design, supply and install a fire protection solution in the new building being constructed to accommodate the third furnace.

The production process for glass packaging starts with natural raw materials being combined in exact proportions and subjected to extremely high temperatures in a furnace (around 1500 degrees). The molten glass that is produced is then extruded, blow moulded and subjected to a range of processes to form the glass into bottles, which are then annealed and set to cool slowly. The bottles are subjected to a thorough quality control check, are sorted, and then placed on pallets and stabilised before being shipped to a storage area awaiting dispatch to the customer.

The process is highly automated around the furnace due to the extreme temperatures and potentially hazardous conditions.

Through a long-term association with O-I and involvement on previous upgrades at the site, Argus identified risks and special hazards at the site and custom-built and installed a fire protection solution that conforms with New Zealand and US standards.

Argus installed Edwards Fire Alarm technology throughout the O-I premises:  Manual Call Points, Beam Detectors, Smoke Detectors and VESDA (Very Early Smoke Detection Apparatus).

Components of the system include numerous manual call points in the vicinity of the furnaces which will raise an alarm and immediately initiate an evacuation response. Specialist water pumps were installed in the area and can deliver large volumes of water in the case of a spill or fire. In one area where machinery is lubricated with a continuous spray of oil, the risk of fire if the oil is ignited is high. Therefore this equipment will itself be protected with a special water spray system.

The pre-production and post-production areas are protected by a traditional sprinkler system, and control rooms are protected by a gaseous fire suppression system. The pallet storage area carries its own unique fire risks and therefore is protected by a special high volume water supply and large bore sprinklers.

Argus has also installed integrated smoke and heat detectors as well as beam detectors in other areas of the site. Fire hydrants, hose reels, warden interface phones (WIP phones), evacuation sounders and high volume water supply were also installed as the furnace was built and production lines were integrated.

Project Vitals

Location: Auckland

Date: November 2009
Systems: Fire Alarm Systems, Fire Sprinkler Systems, Special Risks, Fire Hydrant & Charged Riser, Evacuation Systems

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