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 2015 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...
Safer human-robot collaboration; 2017 Maintenance Survey; Digital Training; Converting your lighting system
IIoT grows up; Six ways to lower IIoT costs; Six mobile safety strategies; 2017 Salary Survey
2016 Top Plant; 2016 Best Practices on manufacturing progress, efficiency, safety
Mobility as the means to offshore innovation; Preventing another Deepwater Horizon; ROVs as subsea robots; SCADA and the radio spectrum
Future of oil and gas projects; Reservoir models; The importance of SCADA to oil and gas
Big Data and bigger solutions; Tablet technologies; SCADA developments
Automation modernization; Predictive analytics enable open connectivity; System integration success; Automation turns home brewer into brew house
Commissioning electrical systems; Designing emergency and standby generator systems; Paralleling switchgear generator systems
Natural gas for tomorrow's fleets; Colleges and universities moving to CHP; Power and steam and frozen foods

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

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.
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Motion control advances and solutions can help with machine control, automated control on assembly lines, integration of robotics and automation, and machine safety.
Compressed air plays a vital role in most manufacturing plants, and availability of compressed air is crucial to a wide variety of operations.
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
click me