Due to increasing competition, innovative automation solutions are increasingly in demand in the process industry, with a particular focus on quality, safety and efficiency. The development of new technologies opens up possibilities for optimizing production processes, both for modern new plants and for the retrofitting of existing plants.
PC-based control can meet precisely this requirement with the integration of process-specific protocols and interfaces as well as an extended product range for applications in potentially explosive atmospheres. Through the consistent bundling of control intelligence in software and the use of established standard technologies in the IT and automation world, PC-based control from Beckhoff combines all functions such as PLC, measurement technology and motion control in one system. In addition to the industry-proven Control Panels and Panel PCs, Beckhoff offers specific solutions for use in potentially explosive environments in Zone 2/22 with the CPX series. With the Beckhoff EtherCAT Terminals from the ELX series, a wide range of signal terminals is available for use in areas subject to explosion hazard. Up to eight intrinsically safe inputs are integrated in the 12 mm terminal housing, allowing the direct connection of intrinsically safe field devices from Zones 0/20 and 1/21 to the Beckhoff controller. In addition to the Bus Terminals and EtherCAT Terminals in IP20 for control cabinet mounting, the IP67 EtherCAT Box modules are also available for direct mounting in the process environment for use in Zone 2/22. Products with an increased temperature range and optional coating are suitable for use in harsh environmental conditions. Thus, the comprehensive portfolio of explosion-proof components enables the realization of holistic solution concepts for barrier-free system integration up to Zone 0/20. In the case of new plants, the explosion protection can be integrated directly into the controller; with existing systems, the PC-based controller can easily be extended. The integrated explosion-proof portfolio also reduces dependencies as PC-based control integrates all essential automation functions in one system. This also applies to the software side: The TwinCAT control software allows HMI integration as well as the use of Industrie 4.0 and IoT applications, takes into account the NAMUR requirements for digital and analog signals and integrates both the HART protocol and FDT/DTM technology.
Oil and gas production
Intelligent networking improves plant availability in the oil and gas industry
Chemical and petrochemical industry
Open up efficiency potentials along the entire value chain of large-scale chemical plants through Industrie 4.0
Increased productivity and enhanced personal safety through digitalization in mining
Automation and process technology in one system: from machine control to building automation in the paint shop
PC-based control in woodworking: from sawmill to paper production
Water and wastewater treatment
Intelligent automation of water and wastewater treatment
Innovative control solutions for the efficient and flexible automation of hydrogen facilities
Future-proof solutions for the energy sector: from biogas plants to smart cities
Flexible and competitive production: process monitoring and networking in the steel mill
Open automation solutions for the food industry
At a glance: Ex components from Beckhoff for worldwide use
Explosion protection: Zones and factors
To create an explosion, a combustible mix of oxygen and fuel must get in contact with an ignition source. Explosion protection involves taking measures that prevent explosions by excluding one of these three risk factors. Since many processes use materials that are flammable and create an explosive atmosphere in combination with air, preventing the atmosphere from becoming potentially explosive is often not feasible. This is why hazardous areas must be marked as such in order to ensure that no electrical equipment will be used that can cause an ignition as a result of factors such as sparks or high surface temperatures, for example.
In compliance with European explosion protection regulations, such areas are divided into Zones that reflect the degree of the explosion hazard. For gases, the Zones are 0, 1, and 2. For dust, they are Zones 20, 21, and 22. Zone 0/20 (gas, dust) describes areas in which an explosive atmosphere exists permanently or frequently or for long periods of time. Areas that are occasionally subject to explosion hazards are marked as Zone 1/21. Zone 2/22 describes areas in which an explosive atmosphere exists never or only for short periods of time.
With its broad portfolio of components, Beckhoff makes it possible to build integrated explosion protection solutions through to Zone 0/20 with EtherCAT Terminals, high-quality Control Panels and Panel PCs, as well as Embedded PCs and Bus Couplers for easy integration with all common fieldbus systems. With Beckhoff, users can implement any explosion protection application involving explosion hazards, including the retrofitting of existing systems.
For use worldwide: the explosion protection portfolio
For systems and equipment in areas exposed to explosion hazards, different standards apply all over the world:
- International explosion protection (IECEx)
- European explosion protection (ATEX)
- North American explosion protection (NEC/CEC)
Country-specific approvals such as IA for South Africa may also be required. Users must make sure that their installations meet applicable guidelines and standards. The Ex component portfolio from Beckhoff meets all listed standards and is certified for the intended use in hazardous areas in compliance with applicable regulations.
As a result, PC-based control makes globally uniform solution concepts possible for barrier-free system integration up to Zone 0/20.
Elimination of separate safety barriers: savings with ELX terminals
The conventional implementation of standard compliant explosion protection involves connecting field devices from Zone 0/20 via separate safety barriers. Installing such barriers in the control cabinet, however, requires a relatively high cabling effort and takes up a lot of space. Using highly compact ELX series EtherCAT Terminals eliminates the need for such separate safety barriers, because these I/O modules can be connected directly to intrinsically safe sensors and actuators that are installed in hazardous areas up to Zone 0/20. In contrast, the cost and space savings made possible by ELX terminals allow users to build machines and systems that are as compact as they are efficient. The bottom line: the control cabinet space requirements along with costs and effort involved can be reduced significantly.
Trust counts: with both explosion protection and investment protection
With a control solution from Beckhoff, users choose the comprehensive know-how of a globally successful and reliable partner. With stock levels to cover a period of up to 24 weeks for raw materials and up to six weeks for finished products, Beckhoff guarantees short delivery times and ensures the production reliability of its customers. A thoroughly considered concept for the long-term availability of Beckhoff products means that replacement devices are available in the long term and customers receive with a high level of investment protection.
With an exceptional manufacturing depth at the Verl site, all Beckhoff products meet the highest quality standards, especially for their intended use in potentially explosive atmospheres. The Beckhoff production facilities have been tested in accordance with ATEX and IECEx guidelines for compliance with all necessary standards and ensure a consistently high production quality through continuous quality management and audits. Thanks to a worldwide service network and experienced sales specialists, users of process technology receive fast and competent support on site at all times.