Passive fire protection

Safety is the best policy


A new client, a fresh approach and a focus on safety. KAEFER in Spain tackles the cost of insurance at the Sines refinery in Portugal.


Passive fire protection

Safety is the best policy


A new client, a fresh approach and a focus on safety. KAEFER in Spain tackles the cost of insurance at the Sines refinery in Portugal.


It’s always good to have an insurance policy. This applies as much to the cars we drive and houses we live in as it does to major industrial facilities. Galp Energia’s Sines refinery in Portugal is one of the largest refineries in Europe, with an annual processing capacity of 10.8 mt. You’d imagine they’d need to have quite a bit of insurance to cover that.

Every policy can be optimised and that’s where KAEFER comes in. Having proven competence in these types of projects, the KAEFER team in Spain was contracted to provide the passive fire protection of cable trays and steel structures for the Sines plant. The aim was to reduce the insurance premium by investing €4 million into the new safety system.

Slimming down with LEAN

Vermiculite-based concrete was used for the steel structure and intumescent coating was applied to the cable trays. This is regular good practice when it comes to the passive fire protection on this kind of project. What’s special about KAEFER’s approach was using LEAN. With a different technique, the number of times the coating was sprayed onto the cable trays was reduced. The thickness remained the same, so this was a substantial increase in efficiency. Furthermore, the time needed to perform the job was reduced as well. Looking for areas in which improvements can be made was an integral part of this project and is a fundamental part of LEAN.

Making inroads

Galp Energia is a new client for KAEFER in Spain. On top of that, the Sines project is located in Portugal, an area in which the Spanish team had not yet gathered experience. By ensuring that the right subcontractors were used and applying LEAN principles, KAEFER in Spain has satisfied the client and gained a foothold in the area. This goes to show that LEAN works as well in principle as it does in practice.