Postings tagged with: nfpa


Charles Fialkowski| Apr 14, 2014

Separation requirements for your BMS at sites with mulitple boilers?

For years, I have always driven for complete seperation and independence for all PLC based burner management systems (BMS) as per my own personal interpetation (per NFPA 85 requirements).  Below is an excerpt from the current NFPA 85 standard.  I'm NOT talking about seperation between the control layer and the safety layer, rather, what to do when your plant has multiple boilers on site?   4.11.7* Requirement for Independence. 4.11.7.1 Except as noted in 4.11.7.2, the burner managementsystem sh ...

Charles Fialkowski| Jan 08, 2014

Fialkowski to Present on NFPA equivalency clause at Instrumentation Symposium

If you've ever wondered how you can acheive compliance on your BMS to the prescribed requirements in the NFPA standards (85, 86 or 87) you should attend my presentation on Tuesday, January 21st @ 3:20pm at the 69th Annual Instrumentation Symposium for the Process Industries, January 21-23, 2014 - Memorial Student Center, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas.  This paper was a great collaborative effort between myself, Michael Polagye, FM Global and Mike Scott, AEsolns. The program, ...

Charles Fialkowski| Sep 19, 2013

What SIL level should your burner management system achieve

A few weeks ago I attended a technical conference in Alaska where Mr. Mike Scott from AEsolutions was a presenter.  Mike's presentation title was "Safety Instrumented BMS" which of course I was extremely interested in hearing someone else's take on this.  Mike talked about the potential risks associated with any application with a flame (boilers, heaters, thermal oxidizers, process heaters, etc..) and in summary he concluded that all the applications he sees would require a SIL 2 BMS t ...

Charles Fialkowski| Aug 09, 2013

How to invoke the equivalency clause in NFPA standards

When dealing with a prescriptive standards such as the NFPA 85, NFPA 86 or NFPA 87 standards, there are a number of prescribed requirements that often conflict with using modern performance based equipement (i.e. using an external watchdog timer for a Safety PLC, using hardwired relays,etc). I have challenged these concepts since the start of my career in Industrial automation as I worked for a major manufacturer of combustion equipment and believed there had to be a better way..... All NFPA sta ...

Charles Fialkowski| Jun 18, 2013

Claim equivalency for applying new technology in NFPA Burner Management Standards

Over the past several weeks, I've mentioned "gaps" in NFPA standards (NFPA 85, 86 and 87) regarding burner management systems.  The problem (as I see it) is that prescriptive standard committees such as NFPA are slow to adopt new (and proven) techniques and technologies. That's the fact, and there is nothing we can do about it.....but there is a way to get around it.  All NFPA (BMS related) standards have an equivalency section (Section 1.5) that allows one to provide an equiv ...

Charles Fialkowski| Jan 29, 2013

Safety PLCs used for burner management really don’t care about your furnace or boiler

One of the most confusing issues for those looking to upgrade old burner management systems (BMS) from relay or solid-state control to programmable technology (i.e. PLC) is what kind of information does the designer need to know about your process?  Eventually they’ll need to know all of the important operating parameters about your particular unit (to program it), but in order for them to quote you a price, they’ll be more interested in basic stuff l ...

Your Burner Management system isn't just for burners anymore!

Last week while visiting a plant I noticed the engineer got confused while talking about their automation system(s) that controled the operation of their boiler(s). He kept mentioning 3 uniqe system names, but could only come up with 2 systems.  He insisted they had a burner management, boiler safety and combustion control system, but as we walked down the unit, we only found 2 control cabinets.    As I expected, the burner management and boiler safety were really just one in the ...

NFPA 86 and 87 purge info

Purge time requirements are different (boilers vs furnaces, ovens and heaters)

Historically, boiler purge requirements were listed with a minium time limit of 5 minutes (see NFPA 85), with the idea that one would calculate the overall volume of the boiler furnace and extend this 5 minute time to enure that a proper purge was conducted. There has been some confusion on what is required for burner management systems on heating enclosures, other than boilers (furnace, ovens, dryers, etc..).  In 2011 NFPA 86 (furnace and Ovens)  and 87 (process fluid heate ...

Charles Fialkowski| Jan 05, 2012

Burner Management is more than just flame safety

One the most often mis-used terms for a burner management system (BMS) is flame safety (also refered to as flame safeguards, combustion safety, etc.).  Simply put, its the part that detects the presence of a flame (or not).   Over the years, many flame scanner manufactures have expanded their capabilities to also offer some minimal control (e.g. ignition timing, purge timing, sequencing, etc..) which is great for simple, low cost, low risk applications.  ...

Charles Fialkowski| Nov 04, 2011

Flame intensity for Burner Management flame safeguards

Flame scanners are no doubt, an important part of Burner Management System (BMS) functional operation.  In the simpliest description, its one positive way to determine 'proof' of flame.  One can easily understand how potentially dangerous it could get dumping fuel in a firebox with no flame present (mass accumulation of unburnt hydrocarbons).    Prescriptive standards such as NFPA, API and others define limits on how long the fuel valves can remain open until a ...


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