An extensive network of conveyors and lifts is used to transport products at fertiliser producer EuroChem's bulk cargo port in Antwerp. The interlinked element is a gigantic conveyor, which also operates as a sorting system. The challenge here is the rugged environment: the extremely dusty discharge points must be cleaned regularly, so the machine area must always be easily accessible to operators. At the same time there must be adequate protection for the operator, as the belt tripper weighs several tonnes and is always in motion, presenting a high safety risk. Today, the safe radar system PSENradar ensures that safe, efficient workflows are guaranteed, even under these extreme (visibility) conditions.
Danger clearly identified!
Everything safely on (radar) screen
The safe solution applied at EuroChem comprises a radar system and PSSuniversal PLC controller from the automation system PSS 4000. Six radar sensors are attached to each of the conveyor's six discharge points. They reliably detect all movements in the surrounding area. Each discharge point has its own control unit, which interprets the sensors' signals and is used to configure the warning and danger zones. PSS 4000 collects the status messages from all the control units, as well as the E-STOP pushbutton and rope pull switch. And a signal tower now displays the respective current hazard status: whether someone is approaching a danger source, whether a sensor is "blanked" – perhaps by an object, which misaligns the sensor – or whether the position of the sensor itself changes, intentionally or by accident – during cleaning work, for example. After the upgrade, efficient workflows and safety are accounted for in equal measure.
The benefits at a glance:
- In extremely rugged and contaminated production environments, the radar system represents a safe, high-performance solution
- Protection against tampering: PSENradar also detects unwanted changes in the sensors' position
- Safe, complete solution with control technology for protection zone monitoring, including conformity assessment
"Pilz were a great help to us with this project. Not only when developing and validating the concept, but also with the correct sensor settings on site. The use of radar sensors is a relatively new concept in the field of safety. But for complex production environments such as ours, these sensors represent a long-term, high-performance solution."
EuroChem is a leading manufacturer of raw materials and special fertilisers with branches worldwide, including a production facility in Belgium. Synthetic fertiliser is produced at the Antwerp site and is then shipped as bulk cargo via sea, rail or road. The Belgian plant was established back in 1964 by BASF and has belonged to the EuroChem Group since 2012.