In hazardous areas of process automation, even small errors during routine tasks can present high hazard potential. A simple mix-up can result in extensive damage to equipment and the environment, production downtimes, and — in the worst case scenario — risks to the health and life of employees. Automatic identification systems that use RFID technology preclude faults that occur due to human error and also save time.
Liquid media or pumpable media are delivered to plants in the process industry using various methods, including by truck, train, and ship. Once on-site, the media are fed into the production process or into storage solutions via pipeline systems, some of which are kilometers long. The supply and transfer between different sections of the plant is carried out via coupling stations, meaning it is extremely important that these connections are established correctly. Furthermore a frequent requirement of quality assurance is that the lots used in the process must be fully traceable with complete documentation.
Rugged IP68 design
Incorrect connections at the coupling points can result in production downtimes, waste of valuable raw materials, unplanned plant downtimes, and — in the worst case scenario — dangerous situations. Using RFID as a means of identification at the coupling stations means that errors can be effectively ruled out. Since RFID does not require a line of sight, detection works even in harsh and polluted environments where optical identification methods cannot be used. Faulty connections are immediately detected and can be corrected. When the solution is integrated into the control system, the start-up of pumps or the start of the next process step can be prevented if there is a fault.
The new IPH-30GM-Ex (LF, 125 kHz) and IQH1-30GM-Ex (HF, 13.56 MHz, ISO 15693) RFID read/write heads from Pepperl+Fuchs are two compact devices with ATEX approval for Zone 1 and Zone 21 that can be used for applications in hazardous areas. The rugged stainless steel housings in the well-known 30GM design are UV-resistant, have IP68 degree of protection, and are ideal for installation in harsh industrial environments. A further special feature is the operating temperature range of -20 °C to +70 °C. This allows the read/write heads to be operated outdoors and in the vicinity of cold or heat sources without any problems. This is one example of how Pepperl+Fuchs is expanding its comprehensive portfolio of components for hazardous areas.