ATEX-compliant drives designed into systems can be a life-saver

Written by: Pual Fanning | Published:

Whether in the chemical, pharmaceutical or food industries, flammable gases and dust in processing industries create serious safety risks for people and machines. This makes the availability of ATEX-compliant drive solutions such as dust or gas explosion protected motors, gear units and electronic drive technology imperative.

The ATEX directive consists of two EU directives describing what equipment and work space is allowed in an environment with an explosive atmosphere. It derives its name from the French title of the 94/9/EC directive: ‘Appareils destinés à être utilisés en ATmosphères EXplosibles’.

Nord Drivesystems’ range includes ATEX compliant drive solutions such as dust or gas explosion protected motors, gear units and electronic drive technology for Zones 1, 2, 21 or 22. It supplies individually-configured drive systems in accordance with EU Directive 2014/34/EU and IEC Ex for application in potentially explosive atmospheres.

The drive specialist has many years’ experience with gas and dust explosion protection and for more than a decade has produced explosion-protected motors which meet even the most stringent requirements. The explosion-protected drive systems can be operated in category 2D or 3D dust atmospheres (Zones 21 and 22) as well as in category 2G or 3G gas atmospheres (Zones 1 and 2).

A combined dust/gas explosion protection is also available. Nord supplies application-specific drive solutions with individual configurations and equipment from its SAP-supported modular system with validated configuration processes according to ISO 9001. On the basis of customer specifications, NORD calculates individually by testing the ATEX conformity and also delivers the appropriately modified type plate.

If required, the maintenance intervals which are determined for the specific application can be stamped on the type plates. The company offers flexible drive concepts with motors which are optionally designed for use with inverters as well as the option of IEC or NEMA motor mounting. In many cases, it can be mounted directly on the gear unit for an especially compact solution. Depending on the explosion protection zone, various options can be integrated, e.g. external fan, backstop, brake.

The explosion protection range by Nord includes systems for ambient temperatures up to 60°C and is characterised by delivering world-wide with documentation in more than 20 languages. In order to maintain the quality of production, inspection as well as the products, Nord Drivesystems works very closely with the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) and the DEKRA EXAM GmbH.

All Category 2 motors have type test certification. Explosion protected drives by NORD are used in almost all industry sectors in a wide variety of applications, e.g. to drive pumps, agitators or lifting gear. About Nord Drivesystems 1 / 2 A developer and manufacturer of drive technology for over 50 years, Nord Drivesystems employs more than 3,600 people and is one of the world’s leading suppliers of full-scale, comprehensive drive solutions. Nord’s portfolio ranges from standard drives to customised solutions for demanding application requirements, e.g. based on energy-efficient or explosion-protected drives.

Gross sales amounted to €630 million in the 2017 business year. Subsidiaries and distributors in 89 countries around the world and an extensive service network ensure minimal lead times and provide customer-oriented services wherever needed on short notice. Nord’s wide variety of gear types covers torques from 10Nm to 250kNm and more. The company also supplies motors with outputs from .12 kW to 1,000kW and manufactures frequency inverters up to 160 kW. NORD’s inverter line-up features conventional models for installation in control cabinets as well as design types for fully integrated drive units in decentralised automation environments.

Parker Hannifin has introduced a new family of ISO15552-certified pneumatic cylinders. Available in bore sizes from 32 to 125 mm, the P1F series is suitable for general industrial applications, such as linear motion, clamping, lifting and controlling tasks in a range of operating environments. The smooth profile version P1F-S cylinder is complemented by a P1F-T tie-rod version, with an actuator for ‘clean’ applications - the P1F-C, due for release next year.

Fully compliant with ISO15552, which sets out standard interchangeability dimensions for pneumatic cylinders with detachable mountings, the P1F-S range of smooth profile cylinders is suitable for deployment in numerous working environments. For example, standard and outdoor version feature, polyurethane sealing technology to provide extended operating life in markets such as materials handling, automation and transport.

For applications where extra chemical resistance is required - where the scraper in the front-end cover might be exposed to aggressive chemicals, P1F-S cylinders can be fitted with a scraper made from fluoroelastomer compound (FKM). Derivatives are also available with metallic scrapers for use in harsh, extreme environments. Finally, an ATEX-rated smooth profile version, designated P1F-A, is suited to potentially explosive environments.

The smooth profile design of P1F actuators promotes easy cleaning and offers good aesthetics. Further customer benefits include stainless steel cushioning screws on one side, as well as air ports and sensors to allow quick access to all settings from the top on one face. Wiper/rod seals are combined in a single design feature to reduce friction and increase the working life of the cylinders. PTFE piston-rod guidance meanwhile, serves to reduce radial play. Industry 4.0 readiness is ensured through the provision of two T-slots on the top face that can accommodate sensors such as Parker’s P8S CPS Analog or IO-Link sensors.

Applied Motion Products (AMP), meanwhile, has released a variant of its STAC6 series microstepping drive for high performance motion control that has international certification for hazardous area use. Available with full support from Mclennan, the drive is aimed at machine automation applications in oil & gas, mining, printing and other industries where ATEX, IEC-Ex or UL certification is required. The drive, designated STAC6-Q-H, specifically covers ATEX and IEC-Ex certification for Class I, Zone 2 locations and UL certification for Class 1, Div 2, Group C & D locations. These hazardous areas are characterised such that flammable gases, vapours or liquids are not likely to occur in normal operation but, if they do occur, will only persist for a short period of time.

The panel mounted STAC6-Q-H includes an integrated intelligent drive with RS-232 and RS-485 communication and offers motion control configuration options that include step & direction, analogue voltage, PC or PLC host control, as well as standalone multitasking programmable control. With its direct-on-line AC power and programmable output current, from 0.5 to 6.0 A/phase, the drive will suit medium-to-large sized hazardous area compatible stepper motors producing a high holding torque and a wide speed range (contact Mclennan for suitable ATEX and UL-approved motors).

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