Horacio Fájer
Director General
Kidde de México
View from the Top

Increased Role for Fire Safety

Wed, 01/22/2014 - 10:01

Q: What progress have you made towards becoming the preferred supplier for fire safety solutions in Mexico?

A: Everybody is fighting for market share, but I do not see our competitors as a threat in the energy sector, particularly when it comes to working with PEMEX. They are very far from mastering the level of integration that we offer, and do not have all the product lines that you need in order to accomplish that. Some of our competitors are very good in toxic gas detection, some are very good in flame suppression but none are good at putting all of that together. Integration is the name of the game, Kidde is a one-stop-shop, an integrator that is offering additional value by combining all the components needed to create a complete system. That is our key differentiator in the energy sector. Customers prefer us even though we are more expensive for two reasons. First, our technical expertise is unmatched, and second, we never leave a project behind. Even if we make a mistake, we back our clients up and fix it. Some competitors actually drop businesses when they get in trouble. In 2013, customers asked Kidde to pick up a couple of projects that were being worked on by competitors. We are currently working with an Italian EPC company on the expansion of the refinery in Salamanca. This company acknowledged we were more expensive, but saw that our level of integration would ensure a smooth installation for control rooms and electrical rooms among other aspects to be installed.

Q: What are main projects that you have been working on in the refining area?

A: We have been participating in many projects to varying degrees. As a provider, we have delivered a lot of equipment through our distributors to such giant projects as Etileno XXI. As an installer or partner to EPC companies, we have been very concentrated on providing fire solutions for refining and power generation for the Tula and Salamanca refineries.

Q: What advances have you made in the introduction of modular control rooms?

A: We need to interconnect all the components of the safety system on platforms and make them easier to install, supervise and maintain. We decided this year that it was more important for the general integration of the system to look after the wiring, which can be more difficult to maintain and to replace. A control room, on the other hand, is quite easy and simple to change. We will spend the next year retrofitting the Aries Netlink Panel, which is part of Kidde’s plug-in system integration solution.

Q: Is there anything that you can do to help prevent accidents like the fire at Terra-123 in Tabasco?

A: Nobody can contain an explosion once it happens. Specialized companies know how to react once there is a fire. They use the implosion system to shut it down, and we have had a request in the Southern Region for an environment that would facilitate that. The client wants to create a safe environment based on water and foam. It is possible that in the near future, we will get a substantial order for such equipment as part of an integrated solution. Although Kidde does not manufacture all the necessary components, such as water valves, we can come up with the engineering. This particular solution would entail surrounding the well with the devices that you will eventually use to prevent anything. If something goes wrong, water and foam laced with a special chemical will drop to asphyxiate the fire.

Q: Have you noticed such events impacting PEMEX’s awareness of the importance of fire safety?

A: In February, the Ku Sierra platform had an issue to which PEMEX reacted promptly. All the safety annexes and paperwork gets commented on, transferred and modified, PEMEX is very clear that this is a very dangerous industry.

Q: What new products or services will Kidde be rolling out in Mexico in the coming years?

A: At the Mexican Petroleum Congress in June 2013 in Cancun, we presented a new smart detector that can sense leakages in gas pipelines through sound. The technology can discriminate between different noises, it learns the differences between usual and unusual noises in workplaces, and it can identify the particular frequency of the noise created by a gas leak. It is not used as a standalone detector, but it can confirm what other detectors are sensing. Thus, it can increase the capability to take quicker action on pipelines. PEMEX liked it and it is currently being tested ahead of installation.