ATEX control cabinets for the upgrade of Primagaz' conveyor belt system

Primagaz Nederland B.V. - Zutphen

To modernise the conveyor belt system at Primagaz Nederland B.V. in Zutphen, ERIKS Econosto supplied a series of custom designed and built control cabinets equipped with AirLINE valve islands made by the quality manufacturer Bürkert. The control cabinets satisfy all aspects of the safety requirements for systems in an ATEX zone 2 environment.

Global market leader

Primagaz is one of the largest suppliers of propane in the Netherlands. In our country, this gas is the most suitable alternative fuel for heating and cooking for those households not connected to the natural gas network. In addition, propane is used in the recreational and agricultural sectors and in construction and industry. Primagaz is part of SHV Energy that – with locations in 27 countries on 3 continents - supplies more than 7,000,000 tonnes of gas each year. SHV Energy is also the world's biggest independent distributor of propane and butane.


Modernisation of the filling line

At Primagaz in Zutphen, various types of gas bottles are filled. Tanks returning from customers are also emptied and re-approved. Under a roof in the outside air, gas bottles are unloaded from special pallets and shoved hydraulically onto conveyor belts. They are then emptied and inspected so that they can be refilled in the filling hall. After being filled, the gas bottles are placed back onto the other side of the conveyor belt in order to be loaded once again onto the pallets. All these activities take place in an area where zone 2 ATEX requirements apply.


"In the context of the modernisation of one of our existing filling lines, the pneumatics and controls of the conveyor belt system that move the gas bottles through the production process needed to be replaced", explained Erwin Hummelink, a technician at the Primagaz technical service division. A Siemens PLC takes care of the control of the rolling tracks, switches and so forth, and we use Profibus to control I/O in the field. Because of the ATEX zone, we already had special Namur low-voltage sensors in the field which we didn't want to replace. But we also didn't want to add any signal amplifiers in the field to increase the signals to 24VDC. Altogether it was quite a challenge".


Bespoke solution

Danciëlle van der Venne, Pneumatics Application Engineer at ERIKS: "The specific question we got from Primagaz was to make a proposal for a valve island with valves, outputs and low-voltage inputs, controlled by Profibus and built into a control cabinet. During operation, the control cabinet must be able to be opened without the entire system's having to be made voltage-free for safety purposes". 


"At first, together with Bürkert, we looked for a valve island that could be equipped with low capacity input modules and that could be combined with a valve that is suitable for both small and large-diameter cylinders. The choice was made for a 32-unit AirLINE valve island (type 8644) from Bürkert”, said Van der Venne. “We offered this valve island as a completely assembled, tested and certified unit in an ATEX control cabinet with cable duct and compressed air of fittings with bulkhead penetration connections. After thorough testing, the control cabinets were approved by Bürkert and delivered to Primagaz".


The right interlocutor

With regard to the choice of ERIKS Econosto, Hummelink is clear: "Compared to other competitors, ERIKS Econosto provided us with a technically sound solution. In addition, throughout the entire process, our impression was confirmed that we were working with the right interlocutor - a party that understood our requirements well. One final advantage was the fact that Bürkert could build the control cabinets themselves at their headquarters in Germany, including the certificate required for the ATEX zone".


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