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Ex rated pneumatics automate world’s fastest whisky bottling plant

01 August 2015

A combination of pneumatic valve islands and an intrinsically safe distributed I/O system has been used in replacement Ex rated control panels at a major whisky company’s bottling plant in Glasgow.

Bürkert’s AirLINE EX 8650 system offered a number of benefits, including a substantial reduction in cabinet space, wiring, documentation and validation

The project to replace the old remote Ex rated I/O panels and pneumatics in the bottling plant was awarded to a joint team comprising a Siemens distributor and a systems integrator that specialises in installations within the Scotch whisky industry. The objective was to replace the panels in situ, without major disruption to the existing infrastructure.

The hazardous Ex rated nature of the project meant that a Siemens’ intrinsically safe SIMATIC ET 200iSP distributed I/O system was specified for the electrical control element. As regards the pneumatic system, the designers opted for Bürkert, primarily because the company’s ATEX rated Type 8650 valve island system has been used successfully with the ET 200iSP on a number of critical applications, including a Zone 1 North Sea project for controlling a sampling and blending.

Bürkert’s AirLINE EX 8650 system offered a number of benefits, including a substantial reduction in cabinet space, wiring, documentation and validation. The 8650 delivers these benefits by combining EEx ia classified solenoid valves with modules from the Siemens system plus fieldbus communications, providing users with a complete ATEX certified unit for use in zone 1/21. Indeed, the combination has resulted in a neater, more compact and more modular installation; and one that, because of Profibus communications, requires far less wiring than the original Ex panels.

The success of this project has resulted in the systems integrator actively considering standardising on the AirLINE Ex 8650 system for future hazardous area applications involving a pneumatic actuation function, while the installer is applying the concept of reduced wiring through the use of Profibus to help other clients in the future. Bürkert UK’s Neil Saunders takes up the story:

“We are delighted that such a prestigious project has allowed us to demonstrate the benefits that our integrated AirLINE EX 8560 system can provide in demanding, hazardous applications. The integration with the Siemens system provided a more reliable, maintainable and compact design that saved considerably on labour during the design and building of this system. In many applications of this type, customers go for traditional solutions that require far more pipework and cabling, a larger enclosure and take far longer to built and install. We have demonstrated with this application, the real cost saving advantages of adopting new technologies that are fit for purpose.”

Bürkert’s AirLINE Ex 8650 unit is fully ATEX, IEC-Ex certified for use in explosion-hazard areas involving both gas and dust atmospheres. The system is suitable for decentralised process control tasks where, for example, it can be used to automate the filling of potentially volatile solvents, alcohol or lacquers.

In these applications it offers the additional benefit of being the only compact electro-pneumatic automation system that allows integration of EEx ia rated pneumatic valves without the burden of additional wiring. AirLINE Ex 8650 units are available as separate components or assembled into a full Ex cabinet or panel.

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