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Factory Mutual Accreditation

June 26, 2013
Jean Van Rensselar
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Factory Mutual Global (FM) approval testing for flammability is considered among the world’s most rigorous. FM statistics show that fire protection deficiencies for lube-oil systems were a major factor in 17 large turbine building fires that resulted in over $400 million in gross losses during a recent 15-year period. FM says that the use of an FM-approved industrial fluid can prevent or significantly reduce the extent of damage in a fire.

FM Approval Standard 6930, Flammability Classification of Industrial Fluids, evaluates the ignitability characteristics of industrial fluids by determining a spray flammability parameter for industrial fluids that have a fire point.6 For water-based fluids without a fire point, the standard requires the calculation of a different parameter.

FM-approved industrial fluids represent a low fire hazard and do not require additional automatic sprinkler protection. While specification-tested fluids are less ignitable than mineral oil fluids, they still may stabilize a spray flame and may require sprinkler protection.

For many years, the U.S. Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA) has had a similar FRF evaluation program for qualifying fluids that are used in coal mines. MSHA test procedures are similar but not identical to FM.

Brian Goldstein, product marketing manager, lubricants & fuel additives, Dow Chemical Co., explains, “In the U.S., FM Approval is a requirement for doing business with most industrial end-users who operate equipment in environments where fluids can be exposed to extreme heat. FM accreditation of fluids continues to be leveraged across lubricant markets, as end-users become more conscious about safety and loss prevention. For fire resistance, FM accreditation remains the standard that industry tends to accept.”

4: From: http://www.fmglobal.com/assets/pdf/P11208.pdf  

5: FM Global conducts property loss prevention research to optimize its international commercial and industrial property insurance, underwriting and risk management products and services.

6: The fire point is the lowest temperature at which a fluid’s vapors will sustain combustion once ignited.

Sidebar 3 from Fire-Resistant Fluids Cover Story from July 2013 TLT

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