Shell invests in the Entel HT900

Shell Oil’s refining and manufacturing complex at Stanlow, Cheshire, was established in 1924. Located near Ellesmere Port, South of the Mersey, it has grown in size and sophistication over the years with the addition of extra facilities designed to extract the maximum value from crude oil. The oil is received at the Tranmere oil terminal and transferred by pipeline to Stanlow which now has a refining capacity of 12m tonnes per year.

Intrinsically safe and reliable radio communications are essential to an operation of this size, so the plant’s in-house engineering team has been using Entel products for more than 10 years. Over the past 2 years, the plant has standardised on one particular model, investing heavily in the Entel HT980 UHF, which together with their quasi-synch base stations, provides clear, reliable coverage right across the site. The Entel HT900 series of radios were some of the first ATEX-approved radios to reach the market and are now proven in the field, not only in major refineries like Stanlow, but also in the North Sea, further afield in the Gulf, as well as aboard ocean-going tankers worldwide.

The Entel HT900 intrinsically safe radios are designed for use in potentially explosive environments and fully comply with the ATEX Directive’s stringent specifications. A number of variants are available, including VHF, marine VHF and UHF, as well as full selcall versions. Each variant is supplied according to one of three RF power output restrictions, laid down by the Directive, and determined by the gas group the radios will be in contact with.

Unlike some other manufacturers’ radios, the Entel HT900s are fully submersible to IP68 (5 metres for 60 minutes), so they can handle the wettest weather conditions without corroding and the need for frequent replacement, which can prove costly. They also benefit from the latest Lithium–Ion battery technology, so duty cycles of between 15 and 19 hours are possible from a single charge and battery cell depletion over time is much slower compared to older technologies, representing a further cost saving.

In hard–hat areas of the plant, Stanlow’s staff often use Entel’s ATEX-compliant CHP900HD noise cancelling headsets, which can be switched to voice–activated transmission for hands–free operation when needed. A comprehensive range of other accessories is also available, including leather cases, multi–chargers and submersible remote speaker microphones – all used at Stanlow and other oil installations in the UK and overseas.