IS & Ex


Control and report in hazardous areas

July 2019 IS & Ex

Installers expect quick and on-demand delivery from their electrical equipment suppliers, even for apparatus for hazardous areas. The carefully considered ability to configure many housing and control elements enables manufacturer Pepperl+Fuchs to provide assembled products in accordance with ATEX and IECEx in just five days.

Pepperl+Fuchs has been a well-established name in the automation of process plants with hazardous areas for many years. This experience has now been put to good use so that installers and users benefit from electrical components that feature compact dimensions and well thought out designs, and are specifically designed for quick and simple installation.

Quick delivery thanks to the dedicated assembly line

‘Configured Products’ is the magic formula: a strict, rule-based configuration ability incorporated into the corresponding software tools turns enquiries and quotations into child’s play. The ensuing fully automated engineering process also includes certification, thereby saving time and money on the way to installing a perfectly suited junction box or customer-specific terminal box with increased safety Ex e or intrinsic safety Ex i on the wall. 

Terminal boxes with Ex e approval are typically ordered on demand. “I confirm the required number of terminals, fittings and the various accessories with my customers directly over the phone,” says Julian Weib, engineer and expert for electrical explosion protection. “After all of the requirements have been clarified, I send a quotation in just a few minutes by email. In addition to the parts list, the quotation contains all necessary drawings, clearly showing the arrangement of the terminals, cable glands and accessories.”

Jobs are allocated to a dedicated production line at the manufacturer’s Bühl plant. A detailed examination is no longer necessary thanks to the configurator. The production line is designed so that its processes are optimised for assembling customer-specific products. A CNC machine performs the mechanical processing of the housing – primarily boring holes for cable glands – on an order-specific basis immediately after an order is placed. Assembly is carried out in accordance with the latest lean methods in a one piece or one set flow. The required materials are in a Kanban system off the shelf or directly at the line, so all parts are easily accessible. The production line fulfils all orders in a timely manner, in less than five days on demand. A new laser engraving machine enables tags and nameplates to be labelled ex-works. The delivery also includes the complete documentation, including certification for operation in hazardous areas.

Pepperl+Fuchs can also offer cable glands made from polyamide, which exhibit the full impact resistance of 7 joules as required by the standard. This means that there is no need for additional mechanical protection on the outside of the housing, which would be a hindrance during installation.

All-in-one solution: wireless communication in Ex

Configured products with short delivery times are only one end of the delivery spectrum. The experts at Pepperl+Fuchs also design tailor-made solutions in cooperation with the customer. They are based on housing solutions with flameproof encapsulation Ex d, with increased safety Ex e, or a clever combination of the two. “Electrical components that do not have their own approval for hazardous areas are installed in a flameproof enclosure,” says Jürgen Bächtle, sales specialist for system solutions Ex e, Ex d. “We recently integrated a Bluetooth receiver in a flameproof enclosure with inspection glass. The customer equips its installers with smartphones and tablet PCs. A connection to the company network is made via the Bluetooth receiver, which can be activated on site. The installer activates the receiver on site via a switch and will have access to the works order and documentation. They can connect directly to the instrumentation and read out diagnostics and statuses.

The switching contact simultaneously reports its status to the control system so that colleagues in the control room are also notified about the process. In combination with ECOM tablets and smartphones, digital communication is possible throughout the hazardous area.”

Pepperl+Fuchs offers its customers a better service from a single source by expanding its portfolio to include electrical explosion protection. Users appreciate the comprehensive portfolio of products for automation and installation in process plants.


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