Upgrading Mission-Critical Alarm Systems

When dealing with oil terminals in remote locations, there are significant hazards that workers must be aware of, so it’s vital that all on-site alarms are up to date and comply with regulations. When the Sullom Voe oil terminal’s obsolete Panalarm panels needed upgrading, Enquest engaged alarm annunciator specialist Omniflex to supply the replacement systems.

Enquest’s Sullom Voe oil terminal is situated at the northern end of the largest of the Shetland Islands and is one of the largest oil terminals in Europe. Its primary purpose is to facilitate the continuous offshore production of oil, even in the harshest weather. As a result of its remote location, the terminal must operate in an entirely self-sufficient manner, even where emergency services are concerned. This means that all on-site safety systems must always be fully operational, and workers must be fully aware of relevant safety-critical systems and procedures.

When the legacy Panalarm alarm systems at the Sullom Voe terminal needed to be replaced because they are no longer supported, Enquest engaged Omniflex who were able to provide the solution in the form of IEC61508 SIL-1 certified annunciators. The new system was a direct retrofit, based on the latest technology, designed to fit existing on-site panel space. This meant that there was no need to carry out major infrastructure work, plus, because most of the testing is done off-site, there was minimal downtime associated with installation of the new alarm systems.

“Obsolescence management of industrial alarm systems proves to be a major problem for many businesses”, explained Gary Bradshaw, director at Omniflex. “So often, when I visit sites, I see physical alarm annunciators that were installed decades ago still in use.  These systems don’t meet modern SIL-standards and are no longer supported by the original manufacturer, who in many cases no longer exist.

“The alarm systems that we provided for Sullom Voe exceed the latest safety requirements and include an ethernet interface to the top-end system, as well as built-in local alarm logging to record all alarms and operator pushbutton actions. Furthermore, the annunciators were supplied with individual hardwired repeat relay outputs which allow for further connection possibilities.”

Omniflex is a market leader in obsolescence management for alarm annunciators and the replacement of legacy alarm systems. Furthermore, Omniflex offers a free consultancy service where one of its specialist engineers, with over 30 years industry experience in alarm systems, will conduct a site visit and evaluate your existing alarm systems. For added flexibility, these site visits can even be carried out virtually for customers that see this as a safer option in the current situation. In cases like Sullom Voe, where access is limited because of location or security measures, Omniflex can provide an alarm replacement solution based on photos and dimensions supplied by the customer.


Ian Loudon
Omniflex (Pty) Ltd
Tel. +27 31 207 7466

Share this article