Increasing safety in hazardous environments without increasing weight

When you’re on an offshore oil and gas rig or vessel, safety is always top of mind. For oil and gas companies, one of the most fundamental ways to keep people safe and informed are Public Address General Alarm systems. But while a PA/GA is a must-have to meet strict mandatory safety and legal requirements, they often come with a hefty footprint. And as offshore rigs and vessels become more complex and increasingly connected, finding ways to save space and weight is a never-ending challenge. That’s why Eaton realized there was a huge opportunity to revolutionize PA/GA.

Connected and safe, even under tight constraints
Eaton’s Sonix PA/GA system

Designed to enhance modern communication philosophies, this highly sophisticated yet simplified architecture that removes the need for lengthy engineering cycles, bespoke and costly software, custom field engineering or expensive onsite support. This results in a highly effective and flexible communications solution for the next generation.

The elements of PA/GA systems, on the surface, seem quite basic: microphones, speakers, wires and amplifiers to drive them. In fact, PA/GA technology hasn’t changed much in nearly thirty years. Meanwhile, industry demands and expectations have changed dramatically.

Eaton engineers knew that advanced IP and wireless-based communications can provide a critical advantage for protecting people, property and the environment. Remote monitoring, diagnostics and around-the-world connectivity are vital ways to maintain uptime while ensuring that critical safety systems are always available to keep people safe, aware and informed.

On an offshore rig, the setting is even more complex, as space is incredibly limited and each kilogram must be carefully accounted for. What’s more, every piece of equipment has to withstand the corrosive effects of salt water—and the inherently hazardous environment of the job. Adding advanced IP capabilities sounds great, but how do you do it without adding weight?

Highly efficient PA/GA for highly demanding environments

Starting with a blank sheet of paper, Eaton engineers decided to completely re-think public address and general alarm systems. The result was Eaton’s Crouse-Hinds series Sonix PA/GA, the most efficient, compact, flexible and secure public address general alarm solution available today.

At the heart of the system is a patented, dual-path high efficiency amplifier, enclosed within a compact 1U case. In fact, Sonix amplifiers are more than 90 percent efficient, squeezing greater capabilities into a package up to 66 percent of the size of conventional amplifiers. This ensures that power usage is kept to a minimum and heat dissipation is vastly reduced—increasing the lifespan of critical electronic components and reducing the size of control room HVAC systems. But Eaton engineers didn’t stop there—they managed to reduce the overall size of nearly every component in the Sonix suite of products, while increasing their power and efficiency. Where a typical PA/GA system for a large installation might take up to 10-20 racks of control room space, Eaton’s new Sonix communications platform requires just half that.

The Sonix PA/GA system includes a highly sophisticated yet simplified architecture, featuring fully duplicated internal and external cabling to ensure that in the event of a single cable failure the system continues to operate as required. At all times the user is kept fully informed of the system status via audible, visual and software displays. All design within Sonix has been focused on removing the need for lengthy engineering cycles, costly software, custom field engineering or expensive on-site commissioning. And as part of Eaton’s industry-leading Crouse-Hinds series portfolio, the Sonix system is rigorously designed for installation in both safe area and potentially explosive environments—whether it’s on an oil and gas rig, refinery or even within a mining operation—ensuring the highest levels of safety, without compromising operational features.

Energizing your business

Today, the Sonix platform includes complete solutions for harsh and hazardous area communications—from power management, software and distributed intelligence to HMI access units, high-efficiency parallel-power amplifiers, compact speakers and field units. The system provides highly versatile and reliable communications to help oil and gas manufacturers and mining companies reduce cost, reduce space and reduce weight—while never compromising on safety.

Learn more about Eaton’s new Sonix communications platform, Eaton’s complete line of Hazardous Area Communications solutions and see how Eaton innovation is energizing customers’ business across industries and around the world (brochure download here)

The systems were successfully commissioned in November 2015. In early December 2015, Seajacks Scylla began her journey from South Korea to Europe on-board the heavy load carrier vessel, HLV Osprey arrived in Rotterdam at the end of January 2016. Seajacks operations teams will then prepare the vessel for her first project.

This vessel is based on the Gusto MSC NG14000X design, the ABS-classed Seajacks Scylla, has more than 8,000 metric tons of available variable deck load. Equipped with a 1,540-metric-ton leg-encircling crane and a usable deck space in excess of 5,000 square meters the unit is outfitted with 105-meter legs with the ability to install components in water depths to 65 meters. The rig is capable of meeting the installation needs of jumbo-mono-piles, jackets, and turbines of future wind farms in deeper waters farther from shore.

The Seajacks Scylla complies with ABS classification requirements for self-propelled jackup units, including the DPS-2 for dynamic positioning capability; ACCU, which applies to automatic centralized control unmanned units; and CRC for crane register certificate.

Scylla’s first job in the UK will commence in 2017 for DONG Energy at the Walney Extension offshore wind farm