Utility communication – DEMCO migrates to digital with DAMM

TOTAL migrates to digital with DAMM TetraFlex


To migrate from analogue to digital, and provide secure critical radio communication in a challenging environment 

Easy to design and commission solution with DAMM TetraFlex® Outdoor Base Stations, a customised Dispatcher from FLASH Services, and ATEX radios in a true cost-saving rental sevice - all in one place.

A secure TETRA radio communication system providing reliable coverage 24/7 to the largest TOTAL refinery in the world. Securing workers safety and improving performance, with a true TETRA solution and full asset management system.


TOTAL works in Oil, Natural Gas and Solar energy, and is the world’s fourth-largest oil and gas company and second-largest solar energy operator. With more than 100,000 employees, TOTAL operates in more than 130 countries.

TOTAL Refinery Antwerpen in Belgium is TOTAL’s largest Oil and Petrochemical Refinery. It covers more than 220 acres, works with crude oil from Rotterdam in processing facilities including:

• Refinery
• Olefins
• Polymers

Secure workers safety with a fast migration from analogue to digital in 2014 
TOTAL Antwerpen was using an analogue Smartnet for communication. TOTAL  antwerpen has more than 1300 radio users every day, and approximately 70 groups, and with more than 60.000 calls every day the need for secure, reliable radio communication was essential. 

The challenge was to succesfully migrate from an analogue to a digital solution providing secure radio communication in mission critical situations. Additionally the costs for the analogue frequency license were increasing, so fast implementation was essential.

Secure Radio communication with DAMM TetraFlex® 
The TETRA technology proved to be the only true option for mission critical communication with features such as priority calls, logging and Dispatching for emergency situations.
DAMM TetraFlex® system was key to reach the goals of fast and easy migration, providing a flexible, scalable TETRA system based on a true IP backbone. FLASH
Services, the DAMM Partner in Belgium, provided a complete solution to design, commission, operate and maintain a TetraFlex® communication system:

• 4 DAMM TetraFlex® Indoor Base Stations
• TetraFlex® Log Server
• FLASH Dispatcher
• FLASH Management of ATEX TETRA radios

Easy System Design
4 Base Stations provide full coverage for an area of 220 acres. Using repeaters for tunnel installations, 2 additional TOTAL sites at the leftbank of the river Schelde are connected to the TetraFlex® network. With the true IP backbone and the open API from DAMM TetraFlex®, it was easy to add-on the custommade FLASH Dispatcher, as well as the FLASH Online Portal - a full asset management tool helping TOTAL reduce the operational costs. 

Easy Commissioning
The system was commissioned in March 2014, and implemented gradually to secure the best result. The first steps were done in the smallest facility; Polymers, the second in Olefin and the third step included the largest facility; the refinery.

Proven results based on a true Partnership Today the results speak for themselves; TETRA is key to secure workers safety and improve performance.

Mr. Rene de Backer, TOTAL, responsible for coordinating the IT network, telecommunication and access control for all TOTAL sites in the network explains: “Thanks to great teamwork and partnership, we succeeded with a fast implementation of the most reliable and future-proof critical radio communication.”

As a result of the close Partnership between FLASH Services and TOTAL, a costsaving measure was taken: Full asset management was made possible with the FLASH Online Portal, where FLASH Services was given a direct acces into the TOTAL communication system to share all information in one place. 

Mr. Rene de Backer elaborates: “We continue to reduce our operational costs by more efficient management of our resources and equipment, using the FLASH Online Portal. With this shared Portal we can make better forecasts, for example we can spot radio failure trends early and address the problem accordingly.”

As an example this service secures a prolonged life for radios, as FLASH Services can monitor the status of the system and anticipate/forecast needs and optimise the process accordingly. This reduces costs for TOTAL and also ensures a failsafe and fully operational pool of radios.

Calls are being made 24/7 and TOTAL has had up to 3000 radios on the site at the same time. In the daily operation half of the radios are used by production personnel, another large part is maintenance, then a small but very important part is used by safety and security personnel.

For the refinery eg. there are around 1000 personal members, and almost 500 are in shift, located in different teams and centres and they all communicate with radio devices.

Wireless communication is very important to save costs. “At TOTAL every device must be ATEX for safety reasons. We have ATEX radios available in the area, that we allow for example contractors to use when they are visiting the site and they need to make a call. Imagine if this communication needed a cabled line; if a  cable is broken, and we had to manually dig to fix the problem, that would be quite expensive.”

In case of an emergency the crisis management team rely on the DAMM TetraFlex® system for secure radio communication.

Initially the team meets in the control room to assess the situation and communicate accordingly. The Dispacther is key to ensure both workers safety, and prevent further crisis. For documentation purposes the Log Server is located in a secure room, and stores all voice and data activities before, during and after the incident.

“It is an advantage of TETRA that you have priority, whenever there is a lot of traffic and calls, like if there is an incident. We are able to give our intervention team, including the fire brigade priority number 1. This is a true advantage of TETRA.” Mr. de Backer concludes.

“In July 2015 we had 1306 radios active. With 4 antennas and 7 frequencies, we normally reach 60.000 calls a day. During implementation the numbers are much bigger. When there are ongoing projects we have up to 3000 radios on the site at the same time.” 
Mr. Rene de Backer, TOTAL

Explore more DAMM TetraFlex® products and solutions

BS421 TETRA Outdoor Base Station
With its IP65 protection and compact design the BS421  Outdoor Base Station is ideal for installation in harsh environments and for direct mounting on antenna masts, buildings and towers, reducing feeder loss and installation costs considerably.

BS422 HYBRID Outdoor Base Station
A cross-technology one-box solution offering TETRA, DMR Tier III, TEDS and Analogue, and allowing hybrid usage in one coherent system. 
BS422 offers improved syncronisation, improved redundancy, high power and extended frequency range.

TOTAL - a Global Energy Operator
TOTAL is the world’s fourth-largest oil and gas company and second-largest solar energy operator with SunPower. With operations in more than 130 countries, TOTAL has more than 100,000 employees who are fully committed to better energy. Read more at www.total.com

FLASH Services - a leader in radio communication
Flash Services Netherlands and Flash Services Belgium, both part of Flash Rental Services BV, are full-service organizations for mobile communication solutions. Read more at www.flash-services.com

Download the case in PDF format here

Want to learn more?
Sales team
+45 74423500 Send message
Get our newsletter

Never miss out on valuable knowledge!