Petrochemical UL1709

About the UL 1709 Standard

The most common fire standard for equipment fire protection in the oil, gas and petrochemical industry is UL 1709. This Underwriter’s Laboratories® standard applies to the “Rapid Rise Fire Tests of Protection Materials for Structural Steel.” In layman’s terms, UL 1709 is a high temperature fire test to prove that fire protection materials can withstand exposure to high rise temperature fires.

A UL1709 test evaluates the performance of protective material through a test in a furnace capable of reaching 2,000°F (1103°C) within 5 minutes of operation. The materials must provide sufficient fire protection so that equipment maintains structural integrity for 30 minutes in a 2,000°F fire.

Fireproofing Equipment to Comply With UL 1709 Standards

Three main types of passive fire protection systems that can be used to fireproof equipment in accordance with UL1709 standards:

  • Fire Protection Blanket Systems
  • Box/Enclosure Fire Protection Systems
  • Fire Rated Coating Systems

Petrochemical UL1709

Some manufacturers offer rigid fire protection systems that fully enclose process control equipment. Some box systems offer fire protection to equipment, but they can be difficult to customize for facilities with minimal clearance around machines and are often cumbersome to remove for routine equipment maintenance.

Intumescent paints and coatings provide another option for fireproofing equipment. Applied directly to equipment in manufacturer or vendor facilities, these coatings require extra equipment down-time and freight costs to transport the equipment from and back to the facility. Although these semi-permanent coatings offer a fire-resistant solution for equipment with little clearance, they hinder routine maintenance and corrosion inspection efforts.

Why Facilities Choose UL 1709

UL1709 fireproofing provides plant or facility workers up to 30 minutes to reach critical process control equipment to shut down the flow of hazardous or highly flammable materials. This provides workers the opportunity to minimize the effects of an explosion or fire by preventing spreading to other locations.

UL1709 provides a rigorous standard for fire protection materials and products. Upon completion of a UL1709 test, manufacturers receive Underwriter’s Laboratories® certification documentation to verify completion.