Previously Published (in part) In INSITE Magazine.

Abfad Limited, established in 1996, are experts at providing solutions to industry problems. Based in the North East of England, they specialise in several unique areas and have developed innovative solutions to challenges faced in their areas of operation.

Rope Access Solutions

Abfad provide IRATA approved rope access services such as inspection, repair/maintenance, blasting and coating work, emergency rescue and safety cover for other trades people working at height or within confined spaces, along with many other rope access services. To combat some of the challenges faced when performing work suspended by ropes, Abfad have developed and patented a Magnetic Positioning Aid as a means of moving the rope access technician closer to the working surface and providing a means of stability while they perform the required tasks, such as blasting and spraying. Whilst the Magnet System was initially designed with rope access in mind, the applications it has in a wider range of industries have increased greatly due to its design, robust stainless steel build and the pulling force it exerts.

Keeping Workers Safe In Dangerous Situations

Abfad provide Emergency Rescue and Safety Cover services for other people working at height or within Confined Spaces, they provide these services to many industries, including the power generation, oil and gas, and offshore sector. They are often called on to demonstrate various rescue strategies and techniques to site personnel before any confined spaces work is carried out. This gives personnel a visible demonstration of the techniques and strategies that will be employed if an emergency situation arises, ensuring their safety.

Specialist Coating And Tank Lining Solutions

The other side to Abfad is there specialist coating expertise and the experience and knowledge they have in protecting storage tanks from the problems associated with corrosion. Abfad apply specialist solvent free coatings to provide an internal single skin which encapsulates the steel and prevents corrosion taking place within the storage tank. The use of solvent free coatings is something Abfad believe strongly in as they are friendlier to the environment, personnel and the public, Abfad feel they have a greater life span and when applied correctly provide excellent adhesion to the steel. To apply these coatings Abfad uses a specialist plural component heated spray pump, which allows the coating to be applied successfully to the steel and to the required thickness. If storage tanks were initially coated with a single skin solvent free resin before coming into operation, rather than waiting until problems start occurring, then this would prevent corrosion impacting on the steel and greatly increase the lifespan of the tank.

Innovative Double Skin Systems

Abfad have also developed and patented a solvent free double skin tank lining system with class 1 vacuum leak detection monitoring, called Fuelvac®, this system can be installed in both above and below ground tanks of any size. Fuelvac® provides two levels of protection in storage tanks, it protects the steel from internal corrosion, as steelwork is fully coated with solvent free resins and held in a vacuum so it is impossible for corrosion to take place. This system also provides a class 1 vacuum monitoring system which constantly monitors the tank and should a breach occur, either externally or internally, then the vacuum will drop which triggers both an audio and visual alarm which can be sent to wherever the clients control room is. The client can then plan inspection knowing that the stored product is still fully contained and safe. In most instances of an internal breach the double skin liner can be fully repaired and operational again with minimal downtime. Various different monitoring gauges can be used with this system, and they can be as hi tech or low tech as the client requires. Fuelvac® offers significant environmental and safety advantages over other systems, and the speed which the system can be installed means that tank downtimes are greatly minimised.

Fuelvac® has been successfully installed in many sites throughout the UK both in fuel forecourt underground tanks and in the larger above ground storage tanks. Installation of the system has also been completed on an above ground tank that holds over 2 million litres of Hydrochloric Acid, due to the highly corrosive nature of the acid Fuelvac® was installed to the top of the tank which was almost 13 metres high, something never before achieved with a double skin lining system. Due to the size of the tank and the need for careful monitoring, the double skin lining was sectioned into 6 separate zones, 2 on the floor area and 4 around the wall sections, each with its own individual vacuum monitoring gauge. These zones were overlapping to ensure that all of the tank contained an interstice which was completely vacuum monitored.

A New Development For Protecting Pipelines

Due to their success in protecting above and below ground storage tanks Abfad is now exploring the use of Fuelvac® technology to protect and monitor pipelines, this new system, called PIPEVAC®, allows pipework to not only be protected from external corrosion, but also enables constant vacuum monitoring of the pipe and any critical welds, aiding maintenance and inspection programs, as a problem occurs along the pipeline and the incorporated vacuum is breached, the monitoring system alarms, notifying the client there is a problem and which section of pipeline the problem occurs in.

Thanks to the unique vacuum system incorporated into PIPEVAC®, the conditions in which corrosion can occur are eliminated, preventing corrosion impacting on the pipe substrate, whilst at the same time allowing for complete monitoring of the pipeline and any internal corrosion issues, allowing the operator to take action before the problem escalates.

Like Abfad’s Fuelvac® double skin system, PIPEVAC® is also incredibly versatile, and can be applied to above and below ground pipework, either in the factory, or on site onto in-service pipelines. This makes Pipevac® ideal for rehabilitation work on existing and in-service pipelines.

Video presentations of the Fuelvac® double skin lining system and the Hydrochloric Acid tank project can be found on Abfad’s website, along with a selection of some of the interesting projects they’ve worked on over the years, or you can contact them direct at or telephone +44 (0)191 543 7166.

The Yeoman Bridge, just one of the many projects Abfad have worked on over the years

The Yeoman Bridge, just one of the many projects Abfad have worked on over the years