This website uses cookies primarily for visitor analytics. Certain pages will ask you to fill in contact details to receive additional information. On these pages you have the option of having the site log your details for future visits. Indicating you want the site to remember your details will place a cookie on your device. To view our full cookie policy, please click here. You can also view it at any time by going to our Contact Us page.

Sponsored Article

Solenoid control without the bang

10 July 2018

Paul Hobden looks at the challenges surrounding process control in potentially explosive atmospheres and how they can be overcome.

Process control achieved using innovative design and industry expertise can deliver solutions to help improve process efficiency and productivity. Very often, at the heart of these systems is a humble solenoid valve.

These devices have evolved over the years to allow them to be used in many challenging applications. 

The use of chemicals and high temperature steam are often controlled by solenoid valves so their design characteristics need to match the application. The latest plastics and polymers, for example, allows solenoid valves to conform to food and hygiene regulations. 

Explosive environments
Some applications involve potentially explosive atmospheres so equipment operating in this environment must have been certified to the appropriate ATEX ratings. The rather complex system for grading the working environment and matching the design of the components to ensure a safe application can be a daunting prospect. When creating a new, fully certified installation, it is important to select partners that understand process control design and which have the ability to deliver bespoke solutions that are certified to the standards in force locally. This will allow design features such as vibration-proof, bolted coil systems, and increased leak-tightness to be included in a system. Just because the application requires a component that is certified for operation in potentially explosive atmospheres, it shouldn’t mean that the choice of control valves is reduced.

As part of its development of ATEX and IEC-Ex certified versions of its components and systems Bürkert Fluid Control Systems has established a centre of competence in Menden, Germany. Testing of individual components and complete valves is a continuous process, partly to ensure continued compliance with a wide range of certifications, but also to ensure that quality standards are being maintained. 

In situations where an existing component will not satisfy the demands of an application, it is possible to create bespoke solutions that can also be tested and certified in-house. 

Safety, above all
Clearly, the overriding concept for process control within zoned areas is that of safety - there can be no compromise here. In many cases regional certifications are used as a basis for individual, market-specific approvals; for example, components destined to operate in potentially explosive atmospheres may be certified to IECEx Cat2, but in countries such as Korea and China further national testing may be required to meet KOSHA and NEPSI standards respectively

Bürkert continuously monitors approvals requirements to ensure that its products are able to meet the challenges of modern industrial processes, including the creation of all the necessary documentation. With so many regional and national approvals systems, attention to detail is crucial to ensure components are properly accredited.

Paul Hobden is UK ATEX solenoid valve champion at Bürkert. 


Contact Details and Archive...

Print this page | E-mail this page