Pepperl+Fuchs has been a well-established name in the automation of process plants with hazardous areas for many years. Its products, equipment, and solutions for electrical installation in hazardous areas ensure very short delivery times thanks to stockable or configured products. This experience has now been put to good use so that installers and users benefit from electrical components that feature compact dimensions, well-thought-out designs, and are specifically intended for quick and simple installation.
Dedicated Assembly Line
"Configured Products" are 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 box 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 Weiß, engineer and expert for electrical explosion protection. He adds: "After all of the requirements have been clarified, I send a quotation in just a few minutes by email." This means that, in addition to the parts list, the quotation contains all necessary drawings to clearly indicate 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 mounting unit is designed for use in Kanban processes. A CNC machine creates the cable entries on an order-specific basis. A Kanban system is used for the mounting procedure to ensure all parts are easily accessible. Up to ten identical terminal boxes can be manufactured per order using this line. The production line has been in operation since September 2017 and has been able to fulfill all orders in a timely manner. A new engraving machine means that the parts can be labelled in the factory. The delivery also contains the complete documentation, including certification for operation in hazardous areas.
Pepperl+Fuchs is particularly proud to offer cable glands made from polyamide, which exhibit the full impact resistance of 7 joules as required by the standards. This means that there is no need for additional mechanical protection on the outside of the housing, which would be a hindrance during assembly. These cost savings also reduce the on-site costs as installation is quicker and simpler.
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 enclosure "Ex d", with type of protection "Ex e", or a clever combination of the two. "Electrical components that do not have their own approval for hazardous areas are installed in the flameproof housing," 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. This meant the customer was able to equip its installers with explosion-protected smartphones and tablets. The intrinsically safe Tab-Ex 02 tablet and the Smart-Ex smartphone from the Pepperl+Fuchs brand "ecom" support the latest Bluetooth standards, meaning users can communicate in real-time with both Bluetooth Smart Ready Low Energy (BLE) 4.2 devices and devices that conform to older Bluetooth standards."
A connection to the company network is then made via the Bluetooth receiver, which can be activated on site. The installer activates the receiver on site via a switch and receives access to the works order and documentation. They can directly connect to the instrumentation and read out diagnostics and statuses. The switch simultaneously reports its status to the control technology, so that colleagues in the control room are also notified about the process. "By combining the mobile solutions available from ecom, digital communication is possible throughout the hazardous area," adds Bächtle.