Case Study – HMP Ranby

Why Does A Prison Need A Compressed Air Safety System?

Why would a prison need compressed air at all? And what’s the point of installing a safety system for it?

 

The Client

On the face of it, it’s hard to image what use a prison might have for compressed air. But HMP Ranby is a Category C prison, defined as being for prisoners who “cannot be trusted in open conditions but are considered to be prisoners who are unlikely to make a determined escape attempt.” The inmates at HMP Ranby attend rehabilitative education programmes and may be able to learn skills in the onsite workshop. Air guns are regularly used in the workshop.

The Challenge

The prison offers a range of skills development activities, from metalwork and plastic moulding to woodworking, powder coating and even toy building. Compressed air is used in the dollhouse manufacturing workshop, but during a risk assessment carried out within the workshop the existence of compressed air tools, while essential to carry out the manufacturing work, was also seen as presenting a potential safety risk in an emergency situation.

Our head engineers were challenged to design a way of ensuring that, in an emergency, air could be prevented from reaching the guns.

Our Response

We developed a solution that ensures air can safely be dumped out of the system if activated. Our engineers designed and built a control unit with 2-button activation (so it can’t be activated accidentally) together with the wiring system that would deliver numerous activation points within the workshop and elsewhere.

On activation, the unloader valve is triggered, emptying the pipes of pressurised air while maintaining a reservoir in the air receiver for when the emergency is over and the compressor is once more ready for regular use.

The prison was delighted with our proposal and the system is now in operation, helping to keep prison staff and inmates safe.

This is another example of the sort of bespoke solutions we’re able to design and build. So if you have a compressed air challenge for which there is no obvious solution, challenge us to create it.

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