Omniflex has completed the replacement of two obsolete alarm units at Lerwick power station (LPS), the diesel-powered facility that provides energy to the Shetland Islands, UK.

Critical alarms are an essential part of safety regulations at remote industrial sites, so upgrading them in line with modern safety standards is crucial.

Omniflex conducted the same update work at the Sasol petrochemical plant in Secunda on a much larger scale, replacing 21,000 critical alarm points.

LPS is the principal source of electricity for the Shetland Islands, fulfilling around 50 per cent of the archipelago’s electricity demand, as it isn’t connected to the National Grid. 30 per cent is supplied by the nearby Sullom Voe Terminal power station, where Omniflex has conducted, and will soon conduct more, similar work to update their outdated alarm systems.

The original manufacturers that supplied their alarm annunciators around 30 years ago are no longer operational and they do not meet IEC 61508 safety integrity level (SIL) standards, a problem shared by many South African industrial manufacturing facilities.

To replace the outdated systems, LPS engaged Omniflex who provided the solution in the form of IEC61508 SIL-1 certified alarm annunciators.

“Obsolete alarm systems leave facilities and their staff at the mercy of equipment failure,” explained Darren Barratt, product sales manager at Omniflex. “The alarm systems we fitted for Lerwick exceed the latest safety requirements and connect to the site’s top-end system.

“We’ve supplied retrofit alarm units that fit directly into the existing space, using the previously installed wiring, and these were configured and fully tested off-site prior to installation, minimising the power station’s downtime.” concluded Barratt.

One of the main concerns for facility managers is the support and availability of spares for obsolete safety systems, which are no longer supported by manufacturers or industrial servicing companies.

To mitigate this, Omniflex offers lifetime product support across its whole range and has technical engineers available to assist the on-site installation companies, ensuring the replacement process is a smooth transition with minimal disruption and downtime.


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

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