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Panel builders forge a cast iron relationship

01 December 2009

Hazardous area electrical systems builder, PDC Systems has found an explosion proof enclosure that it can rely upon and, moreover, an enclosure supplier that is also willing to customise these special housings to meet its client's specific needs

Kintore, Aberdeenshire based PDC Systems supplies hazardous area electrical instrumentation to a wide range of industries. Established in 1993, the company designs, manufactures, installs and commissions monitoring and control panels for use in the oil and gas, petrochemicals, nuclear, chemicals and other sectors where explosive gas or dust is a risk. It employs 15 staff and turns over some £2 million annually.

PDC's Combined Pressure, Fire and Gas (CPFG) panels, containing a variety of controls and instrumentation, including PLCs, contactors, power supplies and so on, are installed in numerous applications around the world where they are deployed on fire and gas level monitoring duties in hazardous environments. The company is currently using explosion-proof enclosures with cast iron front panels from Cooper Crouse-Hinds (CEAG) to house the CPFG systems. These have proved their worth in terms of reliability and ease-of-access for internal maintenance purposes, as PDC director and joint founder, Richard Cowling explains.

"We began using the CEAG EJB 241-M1 enclosure in 1999, following discussions with Ross Cook [a Cooper Crouse-Hinds UK senior sales engineer] on certification, service, product quality and reliability. As well as being very pleasing aesthetically, the EJB enclosures have proved extremely reliable for us over the last eight years or so. We haven't had a single reliability issue, which is very important to our customers.

"The enclosures are also much easier to access for maintenance than most competing products. There is adequate depth both from the front and back in order to carry out maintenance work, without having to blind guess where you are putting your fingers. For our customers, downtime is money and so a reliable, easily accessible enclosure is critical."

PDC Systems also required a viewing window in the enclosure, which would enable the end user to view PLC status indicating LEDs without having to open the enclosure front panel - a task that would require a hot work permit before any maintenance or checking could be undertaken.

"Cooper Crouse-Hinds incorporated a viewing window in the enclosure, which means that we can sit in our offices in Aberdeen and discuss any maintenance or installation issue with an on site engineer," Mr Cowling explains. "As long as the engineer can tell us which LEDs are flashing, we can usually diagnose the problem and guide them through a step-by-step solution over the telephone, all done remotely without PDC having to send a service engineer to site. It also means the customer's engineer doesn't have to open the enclosure, which would require a hot work permit. The viewing window and overall reliability of the enclosure and control system minimises downtime for the customer."

A growing business
PDC Systems is experiencing particular demand in export markets and around 60% of its control systems are now exported to the USA, The Middle East and Far East. Over the past two years, the business has grown by around 30%, confirming its emphasis on maintaining high quality standards and building good relationships with clients. Mr Cowling believes that it is these qualities, along with a focus on trust and integrity that will be key to business success in the difficult market conditions ahead.

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