In 1958, RAMCO Manufacturing Company, Inc. was approached by a New Jersey chemical manufacturer to develop a cost-effective safety device for the control of sprayouts from pipe flanges. While using a make-shift wrap-around steel guard that attached to pipe joints with wire, this company wanted a standardized product that could be manufactured in quantity. RAMCO considered this challenge and the RAMCO Metal Safety Shield evolved.
In 1961, the new shield found another application. The U.S.S. Constellation, while docked at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, experienced severe pressure leakage in lubrication lines in its engine room. Because of the injuries and fatalities suffered by the crew, the Navy ordered piping throughout its fleet to be safe-guarded against possible recurrence. The Metal Safety Shield made by RAMCO was tested and specified for this application.
Thus, the first generation of RAMCO Safety Shields, made of galvanized steel, was used for steam and oil lines and cryogenic service. A similar model in stainless steel was fabricated, shortly thereafter, for highly corrosive chemicals and high temperature applications. Not only is RAMCO the leading producer of steel shields, but it also has created shields in several thermoplastic materials, each serving specialized uses.
Since the development of the first commercial safety shield by RAMCO, there has been worldwide acceptance of the capability of a safety shield to prevent injury and damage in the event of a chemical sprayout. And accordingly, their effectiveness has been demonstrated in thousands of installations in industrial plants, governmental services and on naval and commercial vessels.
With the growing awareness of the importance of safety in the environment, RAMCO Safety Shields are a natural fit in processes involving hazardous or toxic chemicals. Not only do they provide safety features, but they also permit cost reduction. Shields contribute to worker health and safety by minimizing absenteeism due to accidents caused by contact with leaking chemicals and contain costs because there is no need to train replacement workers. Also, because they prevent sprayouts from harming personnel, shields contribute indirectly to maintaining stable health insurance rates and containing workmen's compensation claims.
How Safety Shields Protect
Safety shields prevent sprayouts by interposing an impregnable barrier between the chemical flowing through the piping system and the external environment.
To provide this protection, safety shields must be produced from special materials that are unaffected by chemicals and can tolerate exposure to various temperatures and pressures. In the event of a leak, the escaping fluid is controlled within the shield, and the pressure is dissipated, allowing the leaking chemical to drip harmlessly to the ground.
RAMCO manufactures an assortment of safety shields to accommodate the hundreds of liquid chemicals that are used in processing industries at varying temperatures and pressures. By selecting the appropriate shield for a specific application, virtually all situations can be safeguarded.
The RAMCO Safety Shields are suitable exclusively for liquid chemicals, both hazardous and corrosive, as well as water and steam. Since these shields have not been designed for use with gases or solids and do not resist radiation, they should not be considered for these applications.
To select the proper safety shield, it is necessary to be familiar with the physical properties of the special materials from which RAMCO Safety Shields are fabricated and to correlate this information with the chemical, temperature and pressure ratings within the piping system.
It must be emphasized that a safety shield is not designed to stop leaks. Its purpose is to indicate, contain and deflect temporarily the escaping fluid and, thereby, prevent a sprayout. When shields have been installed, workers can approach a leaking pipe joint safely, shut off the system and make the necessary repairs.
Safety Shield Characteristics
RAMCO Safety Shields deliver the safety and dependability that current technology can provide. Each newly developed safety shield is subjected to laboratory testing. Only when we at RAMCO are satisfied that we have developed a quality product, do we subject it to field testing. When it successfully passes this hurdle, the shield is put into production, and rigid quality control assures no deviation from the standard.
When considering the specification or purchase of safety shields, the characteristics that should be explored include:
- Mullen Burst Strength
- Tensile Strength
- Adequate Hem
- Adequate Heat Resistance
- Chemical Compatibility
- Resistance to Ultra-Violet Light
- Adequate Tie-Down Cord
RAMCO Safety Shields have been designed and manufactured with full appreciation of these essential characteristics. The assurance of preventing the consequences of a hazardous sprayout by the use of appropriate, effective safety shields must be the deciding factor in the purchase of these products.
Safety shields for flanges are most frequently specified, followed by shields for valves. From the standpoint of safety, all pipe joints are critical, since a sprayout can occur at any connection. However, the likelihood of a sprayout is greatest from flanges because their use outnumbers all other connections. Should a leak become uncontrolled, the consequences can be devastating.
RAMCO® Safety Shields are manufactured for all pipe connections such as:
- Valves of All Kinds
- Expansion Joints
- Flow Meters
- Hose Couplings
- Heat Exchangers
- Pressure Vessels
- Customized Connections
- Tube Fittings
RAMCO® Safety Shields can be divided into three groups:
- Spra-Gard® Safety Shields
- Econo-Gard® Safety Shields
- Metal Safety Safety Shields
Each group, in turn, contains shields that are manufactured from different materials — a total of eight are currently available. Each type can be fabricated in any size to accommodate the pipe system. While this selection is sufficient to handle virtually all applications, special safety shields can be customized on request.
One major difference among the wide variety of RAMCO® Safety Shields is temperature resistance. Up to 140°F (60°C) Econo-Gard® Shields are recommended, whereas TFE Spra-Gard® Shields resist temperatures up to 450°F (232°C). Beyond this, Metal Shields are required, demonstrating heat resistance as high as 2650°F (1454°C). Although there are situations in which higher temperatures occur, RAMCO® Safety Shields are not suitable for these environments.
RAMCO® Safety Shields are available in all piping standards (ANSI, DIN, BS, JIS, etc.) and can be customized for special sizes and configurations.