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Explosion-proof equipment for safe paint production

14 October 2008

A range of explosion-proof electrical equipment, including light fittings and isolator switches manufactured by Cooper Crouse-Hinds (CEAG), are helping to ensure the safe production of paint and powder coatings at a UK-based manufacturing plant.

Explosion-proof fluorescent light fittings and switches enable safe paint production
Explosion-proof fluorescent light fittings and switches enable safe paint production

Based in Manchester, HMG Paints manufactures a range of paints and powder coatings for a variety of different applications, including commercial transport, automotive, general industrial and the marine sector. The company’s products can be seen in many popular locations throughout the world, such as Disneyland Europe and the Jodrell Bank telescope and have also been used on P&O cruise ships and Grand Prix racing cars.

Established in 1930, HMG Paints now employs around 200 staff at its Manchester site. David McDonald, Maintenance Manager at HMG Paints commented “I’ve worked at HMG Paints for more than 18 years now. Over the last five years, I’ve purchased around 200 fluorescent light fittings and approximately 15 isolator switches from Cooper Crouse-Hinds. The light fittings and switches have been very reliable. They are very well designed, enabling us to install and replace units very quickly.”

Production of paint and powder coatings is potentially a hazardous environment and so safety of HMG Paints’ employees is critical. Therefore, all electrical equipment installed in these hazardous areas at the site is ATEX-certified to the required Zone. According to McDonald, 99% of fluorescent light fittings installed at the site are located in potentially explosive gas atmospheres. The use of powder pigments in the production of coatings means that some electrical equip-ment needs to be protected from dust, as well as paint fumes and vapours.

McDonald said there are approximately 350 original simplex light fittings across five buildings at the HMG Paints site in Manchester. “These lighting units are becoming less reliable but very time-consuming to service and maintain. It took me the best part of a day to service one of the original simplex lights because I had to disassemble the whole unit in order to fix a specific tube fault. We therefore decided to gradually replace all the lights with new twin five-foot versions,” he added.

In his efforts to source replacement light fittings, McDonald was assisted by Mark Lees, Sales Engineer at local electrical distributor Cable Systems based in Warrington. As Lees stated: “We’ve supplied CEAG explosion proof lighting and switchgear products to our customers for more than five years. We know HMG Paints very well and have developed a close working relationship over the last five years.”

HMG Paints has now installed more than two hundred eLLK 92 fluorescent light fittings from CEAG across two build-ings at its Manchester site, and some units have also been installed at the company’s warehouse in Scarborough.

The CEAG eLLK 92 light fittings are available for ATEX Zone 1, Zone 2, Zone 21 and Zone 22 hazardous areas. The lighting units come in 2, 4 or 5 feet lengths, with twin lights. HMG Paints has installed the five-feet versions. The light-ing units are designed with a glass fibre-reinforced plastic enclosure and a polycarbonate protective bowl. The units are protected to IP66 (EN 60529). Permissible ambient temperatures are from –20°C up to +50°C.

“The CEAG light fittings are great to work with. For example, our maintenance technicians can now individually isolate each unit quickly and easily. The eLLK 92 is around a third of the weight of the original lighting units. Previously, it needed two of our technicians to install or replace the original lighting units. Now this can be done by one person,” said McDonald.

“Since installing CEAG light fittings, we’ve saved valuable maintenance time and resources,” McDonald continued. “It’s very easy to install the CEAG lighting units and there’s so much room inside because the design is first class. And, because the units are wired-through, it’s very fast and easy to connect rows of lights in the factory. I estimate that HMG Paints has saved 50 per cent on installation times by using the CEAG product. In addition, whilst the original light fittings took hours to install or replace, the CEAG units take just 20 minutes.”

As well as fluorescent light fittings, HMG Paints has also installed around 30 CEAG isolator switches, several of these custom-designed. The switches are used on various types of drives and electric motors around the site. The switches are used to isolate the motors and to trip the units if they become overloaded. Again, all CEAG switches were purchased through Cable Systems.

In addition to supplying systems and components certified for ATEX environments, Cooper Crouse-Hinds also offers hazardous area equipment to IEC and NEC standards, as well as other international approvals for Eastern Europe, China and North America.

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