Dan Diehl, Paul O’Malley & Lou Ronsivalli.
Bondalti's Visual Chemical Alarm06 March 2019 / by FM Editor (author) / Barreiro
Established over 150 years ago, Bondalti manufactures chemicals that are essential for a wide range of industries, including pharmaceuticals, water purification and the production of paper. The company has a strong reputation for innovation, competence and human development, and employs more than 400 people at three sites in Estarreja, Coimbra, and Porto Salvo.
Bondalti ’s production, handling and distribution of industrial chemicals and hazardous substances, however, requires thorough and diligent safety measures. With a commitment to utilising the best technologies and practices to systematically improve its operations, Bondalti partnered with Sony to integrate a new visual alarm system to its Estarreja manufacturing facility. Its goal was to introduce an innovative and integrated technology solution that would ensure flawless communication in the unlikely event of a chemical emergency.
BACKGROUND & CHALLENGES
Safety is paramount in Bondalti’s chemical production factories, and in the case of a chemical accident, it is essential that workers have as much information about the issue as possible in order to respond both quickly and appropriately.
The alarm system in place at Bondalti’s production factory had three tiers of importance, each colour coded. Employees would be informed of an alarm only through this high-level buzzer and light system, with no detailed contextual information on the issue taking place. As part of the company’s ongoing commitment to reinventing itself through innovation, the manufacturer identified the need to rethink and upgrade its alarm system to optimise effectiveness and future-proof its operation.
Explaining the predicament it was in, Automation and Control Manager, Carlos Moura, says:
Chemical accidents are complex and unpredictable situations, with many variables which will each require a different and unique response.
"Although our alarm system was operational and able to alert employees to an issue, it could not adequately communicate all the complexities and details of a chemical situation to them, and we needed a more holistic system".
Bondalti therefore defined a set of core requirements for a new alarm system:
- A more robust system for ensuring employee safety and better understanding of emergencies
- Flexible and dynamic, with engaging, visually clear content for employees tailored to each situation
- Easily programmable based on the changing production practices at the factory
- Urgent communications and updates at the click of a button
- Seamless integration with Bondalti’s current IT network without the need for additional IT work to take place
- Scalable across different sites within the facility.
Recognising the additional requirement that any new alarm should include an internal communication channel to display information to visitors. Bondalti began a search for a solution that would integrate all these requirements.
Over the course of three months in early 2018 Sony and Bondalti closely collaborated to build a custom AV alarm solution and a professional display system, that would meet the factory’s evolving needs, without requiring the overhaul of Bondalti’s existing IT system. Together, the two organisations designed and implemented a customised new visual alarm system using TEOS Manage, Sony’s solution for complete device and room management for corporate environments, along with 13 BRAVIA Professional displays.
TEOS Manage simplifies the management and distribution of the company’s signage across all the professional displays, which now serve a dual purpose. In everyday use, they can display a range of important corporate information for workers and visitors alike. However, in the event of a chemical accident, the new alarm system will automatically override all the displays, providing clear information, advice and next steps on how to respond to an individual spill to the people who need it most. The flexibility and customisation of Sony’s TEOS solution stood out from the competition, providing peace of mind that in a rapidly changing organisation, the essential safety system can always be kept up to date.
"The visual alarm solution we’ve built with Sony is leaps ahead of our previous setup. Sony understood the limitations of our previous system perfectly while also recognising the bottlenecks in our IT system that needed to be worked around. Where before we had only buzzers, now, in the event of an incident we can share rich, detailed, dynamic and engaging information to keep our employees across the facility both safe and up to date."
The new system display rich and informative content and can be reprogrammed in line with the latest best practices in emergency response situations.
Bondalti is also using Sony’s TEOS Manage solution and BRAVIA Professional Displays for digital signage to display general company information in corporate office locations.
As additional possible use cases are identified, Bondalti and Sony expect to continue their close collaboration, iterating and innovating with the alarm system’s features in the coming months.
One area both companies are exploring is tweaking the new system to share even more contextual information relating to an incident.
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