The customer's products are flammable liquids are classified in hazard class III so the terms and conditions of their storage, handling and transportation are determined by a number of strict international and local (Hungarian) laws. This alone would not have been such a professional challenge as Raben is a logistics service provider in 12 countries of Europe and it has considerable experience in warehousing and transportation of dangerous goods in line with the standards of the European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR). The special feature of the new task was that the volume of dangerous flammable goods to be handled was significant so there was a need for investment in infrastructure and other various technical solutions.
“The warehouse which stored the goods was redesigned to include a sort of emergency basin. This means that the base of the warehouse and the protective gates built in front of the doors and windows prevent any spillage of chemicals and the contained material can be pumped out of the hall by a contracted specialized partner into their own tanker via a connection point, after which it is professionally disposed of. “– said András Nagy, Operational Manager of Raben Trans European Hungary Ltd.
In the warehouse, it is necessary not only to contain chemicals hazardous to the environment spilled in the event of damage to the product, but also to prevent the release of the extinguishing agent used in the event of a fire. This extinguishing agent for Raben is the so-called light foam that can fill the 1,200 m2 warehouse to the ceiling in about 6 minutes. Previously it was a water-sprinkler system which was now substituted by the light foam solution, which also offers an additional advantage over the dense hard foam extinguishing agent, i.e. the application of light foam does not ruin stored products and they can be marketed later after a replacement of the supplier packaging. The water extinguishing was not an option because the company also stores water-soluble chemicals.
Apart from the fire extinguishing system, also the fire detection system was upgraded. Instead of the earlier line sensors, the company set up a dense network of spot sensors. This system is activated after multiple signals from sensors which makes it possible to avoid false alarms. In addition, the smoke and heat drainage system was modified and the facility now has the explosion-proof (ATEX) lighting and air conditioning systems.
The special features of this warehousing operation include the two explosion-proof containers outside the warehouse, in which propellant aerosol products are stored. Although the law permits one, or maximum two pallets of these products to be stored by a manufacturer or a logistics service provider in a warehouse that is not ATEX-compliant, it is not realistic for a distribution centre to store only one or two pallets of such products. Therefore, either the market volume requirement exceeds the storage capacity of the service provider or a significant investment is required to make the warehouse ATEX-compliant. In this case, Raben used explosion-proof containers, an innovative and cost-effective solution, which is still rare in Hungary.
The foundation of success of the investment was the team who paid special attention to ensuring smooth services for the customer which is a paint manufacturer, and who initiated actions and trainings providing specific professional information on hazardous goods, which are still held on a regular basis.
”The change of attitude in our case is connected with the awareness that since July 2018 we have been handling large volumes of dangerous and flammable liquids. This awareness must be kept up to date so there are frequent fire and emergency drills, not just for those involved in the warehouse operations, but for all our employees, including office workers. Everyone working on the site must know what to do in an emergency. We often organize exercises with the fire and disaster management authorities and we regularly talk with each other as part of the prevention process, where we analyse fire and emergency incidents from real life. We do this not only because it is our legal obligation and we have to show in the serious damage recovery plan, i.e. the SKET, how we train, but also because this is an integral part of Raben corporate culture. “ – added András Nagy.
Operational safety of the company is also maintained thanks to its experts with experience in logistics of dangerous goods, its modern infrastructure and ADR-licensed subcontractors.
“This is the value that only few suppliers are able to provide to their customers because the capacities of the European and domestic logistics sector are used to the maximum and most of them offer only standard solutions. However, this typically forces customers to tailor their supply chains to the opportunities offered.
On the contrary, we at Raben find that there is a number of products or market segments for which the standard, average services do not support the competitiveness so we always work to create an optimal supply chain for our customers and their various products. This often entails serious efforts on both sides, but the work invested ultimately brings success and opens the road for further development.”- said Gabor Molnar, Sales Manager.