Explosion protection with a safer shade of green

Published:  10 March, 2010

Explosion protection with a safer shade of green

Two forklift trucks with hybrid technology and Pyroban explosion protection are believed to be "first of their kind” for energy efficient use in potentially explosive atmospheres.

“Forklift technology has become increasingly complex”, remarks Robin Chapman, principal engineer for Pyroban's Safe Handling Division.  “Energy consumption and the environment are driving forklift design, leading to new and innovative handling technology”.

Pyroban converts any type of diesel or electric forklift truck so that it can be used in areas where flammable material is being processed or stored.  Use in the chemical, coatings, food, drink and logistics sectors is common, where the intense operations demand the benefits offered by the very latest forklift trucks.

Chapman explains: “Converting equipment for use in an explosive atmosphere has become progressively challenging.  Increased electronics, controls and performance enhancing components such as turbo chargers have led to continued investment in Pyroban"s own technology to match industry requirements.”

For the first time, Pyroban took delivery of two vehicles with hybrid technology manufactured by Still GmbH in Hamburg that combine both diesel and electric power.  The Still RX70-22 trucks use energy saving systems to deliver low energy consumption and low CO2 emissions, with the diesel engine generating the energy required for the electric drive motors.

To complete the conversions to ATEX 94/9/EC*, Pyroban had to assess every component on the vehicles to identify what could cause an ignition through heat, sparks, static energy and other sources. The naturally aspirated 1.9 VW diesel engines, all motors, brakes, electrics, the forks, the seat and many other components were modified using various explosion protection techniques such as restricted breathing enclosures and surface temperature cooling.

“The trucks are required for zone 2 operation, so we were able to utilise Pyroban’s system5000 which combines gas detection and automatic truck shutdown with various protection methods”, Chapman says, explaining that System 5000 incorporates an automatic calibration and gas test to ensure the gas detection system is working each day.

He adds: “We have retained almost all the original characteristics of the truck including the exhaust system, but more importantly, the overall environmental performance has not changed.  I believe these are the first of their kind.”

 For more further information please visit: www.pyroban.com

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