Safety in hazardous locations, interest in home fuel cells

Re: "Intrinsically safe or Explosion proof," Control Engineering North America edition, October 2008. As a regular user of both IS and EXD equipment for automotive spray applications (Class 1 Div. 1), it was nice to see an article about our forgotten needs. I would like to point out another important difference between IS and EXD other than costs: Maintenance.

04/01/2009


Re: "Intrinsically safe or Explosion proof," Control Engineering North America edition, October 2008.

As a regular user of both IS and EXD equipment for automotive spray applications (Class 1 Div. 1), it was nice to see an article about our forgotten needs. I would like to point out another important difference between IS and EXD other than costs: Maintenance.

EXD enclosures maintain their integrity by using lots and lots of bolts around the perimeter with torque specs. This leads to increased labor time to service equipment, leading to longer production downtimes when there are failures. Furthermore, many times the bolts are not all secured properly after a service, thereby making the enclosure no longer safe. I have actually seen bolt heads glued onto enclosures so the maintenance personnel would not have to work as hard. Scary as it may seem, it happens. With IS systems, this risk is eliminated and is one more reason to use them.

I am curious about the battery operated devices mentioned in the article. I hope they are certified for use in the environment they are putting them in. As you mentioned in the article, capacitance is a major factor in device selection. Just because a battery doesn't create a spark when you change it out, does not mean the unit has not built up a charge that could create a spark. It is important to note that both the intrinsic barrier and the device connected to it need to be third-party listed for use in the environment, with some exceptions for simple devices such as limit switches that cannot hold capacitance.

One more thing to mention. Purging and pressurization (NFPA 496) is another way in which motors can be deployed in hazardous areas. Here at FANUC Robotics America, our paint robots are purged with fresh air and maintained with a positive pressure inside. This allows the use of regular servo motors in hazardous areas.

Just wanted to put my two cents in. I am always on the lookout for ways to safely implement new controls technology in hazardous locations.

Matthew R. Carter, Senior Engineer - Controls Hardware, Paintshop Automation, FANUC Robotics America , www.fanucrobotics.com

Home fuel cell interest grows

Re: "Heat and power your home with a fuel cell," news item by Peter Welander, in which he describes Baxi Innotech's new Gamma 1.0 Fuel Cell Heating Unit.

I would love to put one in my home. It would have to have a break even on the financial return in less than 2 years. At 20,000 hours, it looks like the unit would only last slightly more than 2 years.

Bertram Barco, U.S. Engineer

Well, I hate to be critical, because I'm dying to get a fuel cell mCHP system in my house, but Ballard Power, the world's largest producer of PEM fuel cells, is located in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

In regard to the more mundane details, the Ballard 1030 stack has achieved 40,000 hours in lab tests with previous versions (at 8–12 hours/day, this is a hard benchmark to achieve in the field). Field tests include hundreds installed by Tokyo Gas over the past 4 years. BAXI is one of the largest heating system manufacturers in Europe and knows what they're doing. On the other hand, the EU, Germany, and the UK have much morestringent environmental requirements than the US, and multiple well-funded programs to promote fuel cell commercialization in general and FC mCHP in particular.

As far as low temp (&100 °C) PEM FC technology, that is perhaps the least practical of the fuel cell technologies being used for these applications, but far and away the most reliable. HT PEM at 160–200 °C provides high quality, which can be used to run cooling systems in the summer. They are less demanding on the fuel supply where hydrogen must be reformed from natural gas, making for simpler and potentially much cheaper systems. Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFC) operate at 500 °C –1000 °C, have a much higher power to heat ratio, are self-reforming (can use NG, LPG, or even biogas directly at high temps), and need no platinum catalyst at all, therefore being potentially near the cost as simple home heating systems. 1.5 kW – 3 kW (for the power hungry US market) of power is the target for these, but 1 kW will do because of the incredible efficiency, silent operation, and lack of pollutants given off by the non-combustive devices.

Jim Horwitz, industry analyst, Newton, MA , FuelCellIntel@comcast.com





No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
The true cost of lubrication: Three keys to consider when evaluating oils; Plant Engineering Lubrication Guide; 11 ways to protect bearing assets; Is lubrication part of your KPIs?
Contract maintenance: 5 ways to keep things humming while keeping an eye on costs; Pneumatic systems; Energy monitoring; The sixth 'S' is safety
Transport your data: Supply chain information critical to operational excellence; High-voltage faults; Portable cooling; Safety automation isn't automatic
Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Plant Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.

Maintaining low data center PUE; Using eco mode in UPS systems; Commissioning electrical and power systems; Exploring dc power distribution alternatives
Synchronizing industrial Ethernet networks; Selecting protocol conversion gateways; Integrating HMIs with PLCs and PACs
Why manufacturers need to see energy in a different light: Current approaches to energy management yield quick savings, but leave plant managers searching for ways of improving on those early gains.

Annual Salary Survey

Participate in the 2013 Salary Survey

In a year when manufacturing continued to lead the economic rebound, it makes sense that plant manager bonuses rebounded. Plant Engineering’s annual Salary Survey shows both wages and bonuses rose in 2012 after a retreat the year before.

Average salary across all job titles for plant floor management rose 3.5% to $95,446, and bonus compensation jumped to $15,162, a 4.2% increase from the 2010 level and double the 2011 total, which showed a sharp drop in bonus.

2012 Salary Survey Analysis

2012 Salary Survey Results

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.