ATEX control panel expertise from Bürkert
It takes experience and expertise to design and build process control panels, particularly when they are due to operate in potentially explosive atmospheres or zoned areas. Bürkert is one of the few OEM manufacturers of large hazardous area Ex rated process panels, as PIF reports.
ATEX process control systems
The primary emphasis for all equipment operating in a zoned area is safety; the identification of different zones categorises the risk and therefore the level of protection required to avoid danger. Any component or system that is to be used in a zoned area must meet the relevant standards and be installed by suitably qualified engineers in order for certification to be valid.
The task of designing process control systems that meet DSEAR, ATEX and other similar standards requires considerable levels of competence in order to deliver a suitably compliant process that meets the demands of the application. The primary concern in such conditions is safety and often this may need to be maintained at the expense of performance.
Designing and implementing efficient and reliable process control systems also requires an excellent understanding of the application. Manufacturers have developed a huge range of products and systems that can be combined and integrated to produce bespoke process control systems. However, when the application involves operating in potentially explosive atmospheres, designers could be forgiven for thinking that the choice of design might be restricted.
Decentralized process control systems
In many cases, especially in larger facilities, working towards a decentralized system of process control can provide a number of benefits compared to the more traditional approach. This concept uses intelligent, pneumatically operated process valves at the field level which can be equipped with all the required automation components such as a pilot valve with manual actuation, electrical feedback units and optical status indication, fieldbus interfaces and even positioners and process controllers.
To bridge the gap between centralised and decentralized automation concepts, flexible pneumatic valve units and compact automation systems can be used. These units are typically wall-mounted directly inside small cabinets that can be installed close to the process in question. These small, pre-configured and standardised units eliminate the long runs to valves and field devices, and can be maintained easily.
Each and every client will have a unique scenario that requires the manufacturer of the control panel to take a very individual approach to the project. At Bürkert, a network of specialist design and manufacturing facilities, known as a Systemhaus has been in operation for several years. Their purpose is to deliver precise fluid control systems designed to meet very specific process requirements and regulatory standards.
The Menden Systemhaus maintains a very high level of expertise in delivering control cabinets for installations in potentially explosive atmospheres. From initial concept to on-site commissioning, a dedicated team is assigned to each project to ensure continuity and understanding of the project requirements are maintained.
Due to the multiple competencies within each team, it is possible to design compact, integrated solutions that often contain both electrical and pneumatic circuits and even fluidic connections as well. In this way, it is possible to deliver a single control cabinet, minimising space requirements as well as all the equipment that will deliver the process control itself, which reduces commissioning time and improves final delivery.
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