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Explosion proof cabinets simplify deployment of field instrumentation in process plants

Editorial
article image Intertec's pressurised explosion proof (Ex p) cabinet

Intertec has introduced a new range of explosion proof cabinets to protect field instrumentation operating in hazardous areas.

Certified for use in Zone 1 and Zone 2 hazardous areas, the cabinets from the leading outdoor enclosures specialist are available in a diverse range of standard sizes as well as in custom shapes up to walk-in shelter dimensions. Intertec’s explosion proof cabinets are recommended for housing forward-placed analyser equipment in industrial process facilities such as petrochemical/oil refineries and fertiliser production/storage plants. The cabinets can also be used to install non-Ex rated analysers and instrumentation inside Zone 1 or 2 classified environments.

Intertec's pressurised explosion proof (Ex p) cabinets are constructed from glass reinforced polyester or GRP-based composite materials. These materials deliver multiple benefits to the application including high resistance to corrosion; robust strength equivalent to stainless steel but about 75 percent lighter, making them ideal for equipment containment and personnel shelter applications; and higher thermal resistance than metal simplifying construction of cabinets that provide excellent insulation, greatly reducing the energy required to heat or cool the equipment.

The higher thermal resistance also makes it easier to build cabinets without any thermally conductive links between their exterior and interior surfaces, thereby avoiding cold spots, which can lead to problems with condensation. The GRP composite materials are especially suitable for applications where robustness and rigidity need to be combined with low mass such as on offshore platforms. They are also ideal for areas where there is a need to mitigate injury to personnel or damage to equipment, such as on sites where there is risk of an explosion.

Intertec can produce single-piece panels of GRP composite as large as 6 x 12 metres, enabling them to create cabinets of virtually any size. The panels can be chemically bonded to create very tight sealing that prevents the ingress of hazardous gas and reduces the consumption of air, which is used to create the slight positive over-pressure needed for Ex p protection. Any requirement for special air locks to allow unfettered access to equipment inside the cabinet or shelter can be accommodated very easily.

The pressurised cabinets are equipped with a control unit that regulates the flow of inert purging gas or compressed air, and then monitors the pressure inside the cabinet to ensure that it is maintained slightly above atmospheric pressure by automatically compensating for any leakage losses. Intertec works with a number of controls manufacturers to equip these Ex p cabinets with the most appropriate type of purging and pressurisation systems.

Intertec tests each partially equipped enclosure at one of its manufacturing plants, before delivering it to the systems integrator for installation of the analyser instrumentation. Final safety testing of the complete unit is carried out at the integrator's facility, prior to its installation at the customer's site. Intertec is certified by various competent bodies including PTB (Physikalisch-TechnischeBundesanstalt) to perform the necessary compliance testing.

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