Technology collaborations light the way the way for improved safety
Two new products designed to help improve the safety of workers in a range of industries - from subsea to nuclear - have been unveiled by Scottish research and development company PhotoSynergy Ltd (PSL) today (Wednesday, February 1).
The ATEX-Approved LIGHTPATH™ unit and the new LIGHTPATH™ Hat Light have been designed by the St Andrews-based team in collaboration with JCE Group (UK) Ltd and Greco Developments Ltd respectively, and were launched on the first day of Aberdeen’s annual Subsea Expo event.
The fully patented ATEX-approved unit took a number of years to design and build, and incorporates PSL’s LIGHTPATH™ technology - a fibre lighting system that offers a ground-breaking technical solution to a range of sectors where safety of life is paramount – into a flameproof box.
It will have a range of applications in a number of sectors where there may be a risk of fire and/or explosion, including nuclear stations, petrochemical plants and offshore installations.
Based in Blackburn, Aberdeenshire, JCE Group (UK) Ltd is a world leader in the design, manufacture, supply and installation of Ex and Safe Area Control Systems for applications where both hazardous and non-hazardous conditions exist.
PSL Director Don Walker said the new product had been successfully trialled and that the two companies were currently discussing how it could be developed commercially.
“The development of the ATEX-Approved LIGHTPATH™ has been in the pipeline for a number of years following a request by a number of companies for a product which could be used to light escape routes, and operations in confined space working extending LIGTHPATH into potentially explosive and challenging environments both on the surface and in the water,” he said.
“This will include offshore platforms lighting difficult to access areas such as spider decks, supplying a continuous line of light to clearly delineate escape routes and vessels operating within close proximity of platforms.”
The LIGHTPATH™ Hat Light – or SLS3000 - was a concept developed by PSL Director Don Walker, who wanted to develop an additional piece of safety equipment to the standard hat light.
The SLS3000 will use the existing hat light connection to power both the hat light and fibre from the rear of the diver’s head to the umbilical and back up the umbilical for some 60m, clearly identifying the diver’s head to ROV Pilots and others in the subsea environment.
PSL Director Don Walker said that working with both JCE Group (UK) Ltd and Greco Developments Ltd had been an excellent learning and development opportunity.
“Working alongside the teams at both these companies has greatly enhanced our capabilities and have mirrored our experiences to date working with organisations with supportive skilled and knowledgeable employees willing to contribute positively.
“We would very much hope that we can continue to develop more such collaborations in the months and years to come as we grow the company and its products.”
Frank Maes, Technical Director at JCE Group (UK) Ltd, said: “We were very pleased to have the opportunity to collaborate with the team at PSL to develop the innovative explosion-proof fibre light unit. It’s fair to say that together we have achieved a technologically advanced design.”
LIGHTPATH™ is a side-emitting flexible fibre that projects a continuous line of light that carries no electrical power, making it very safe to use. It combines second-generation, high-performance light emitting diodes (LED) with a life expectancy of 50,000 hours/five years’ continuous operation. Incredibly simple, yet highly effective, it can be used for a wide range of applications, from guide path illumination through to the extremes of challenging, hazardous and submerged environments.
In recent years, PSL has been targeting primarily the subsea sector, using the LIGHTPATH™ technology to illuminate saturation diver umbilicals, enhancing safety and productivity for all parties, including the individual diver, colleagues in the water, the bell-man and giving confidence to the ROV pilot as to the location of diver umbilicals. This awareness for ROV pilots of the route of the umbilical minimises the risk of collision and can significantly reduce the incidence of umbilical snagging.
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