Safety pays off

Safety pays off

The development of cities never ceases. Many commercial and industrial areas which were a good distance away from residential areas when they were established are sooner or later “caught up with” by growing settlement. Things were no different with today’s ACTEGA Rhenacoat site in Sedan, France. But back then there were no special safety regulations for residents or the environment.

When ACTEGA acquired the paintings and coatings factory from the former owner in 2001, the modernization began. This included not only the implementation of ALTANA standards, but also new regulatory requirements. An accident in a fertilizer factory in Toulouse led starting in 2002 to more stringent regulations for resident and environmental protection in France. Fire protection was a special priority.

“We had to reduce the amount of combustible substances on our factory grounds immediately,” says Thierry Tabeaud, Managing Director of ACTEGA Rhenacoat. The company has specialized in coatings systems for metal packaging since 2004. “Due to the regulations we were leasing an external warehouse,” adds Tabeaud. “Every day, a truck shuttle drove the raw material 125 kilometers to our factory.” By 2011, the annual costs for this safety measure had risen to € 260,000. In addition, there were the exhaust fumes and about 30 tons of CO2 a year from the many transport drives.

The same safety standards with lower costs

In 2005, the management presented a construction plan to the authorities for a new warehouse, an extinguishing water catch basin, and a new tank farm for synthetic resin. Everything was supposed to be built on the factory grounds and the residents were to be protected with fire protection walls. Also, a hazard study was presented. But the construction work for the new warehouse, which began in July 2005, was stopped after a little over a year. “The costs for the first concept would have been too high,” says Thierry Tabeaud. “We needed a new solution that guaranteed the same amount of safety for residents and that adhered to environmental protection requirements, but cost less.“ In mid-2010, the authorities granted approval of the new warehouse concept. In addition, the old tanks were replaced as they were not compatible with the new safety system. Moreover, two of the old tanks had leaks. So € 300,000 were spent to clean all of the soil and € 400,000 to replace the tanks.

The new solution now meets all requirements. The new buildings were distributed over a total area of 2,500 m2 on several plots separated from one another, to prevent a domino effect from occurring in the case of fire, as the fire cannot spread to another area. There is 800 m2 of space in the warehouse for 1,300 tons of raw materials and end products which is covered completely by a roof. The extinguishing water capacity was increased from 90 m3 to 120 m3 and the covered catch basin offers sufficient volume (760 m3) to contain the extinguishing water. Furthermore, there is an emergency control center in a protected place. The entire project, which was completed in mid-2012, cost € 2.2 million.

The new warehouse complex, which meets all of the demands of the French environmental authority DREAL and will be certified at the end of 2013 to ISO 14001, enables ACTEGA Rhenacoat not only to serve the market even more efficiently and to secure profitable growth, but also means much greater safety for residents. On top of that, daily transports are no longer needed, reducing the environmental burdens from CO2 and noise.