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Standardized and Engineered Remote I/O Solutions for Hazardous Areas in Zones 1/21 and 2/22

21 July 2023

Using electrical components in hazardous areas requires solutions that provide reliable protection and all of the relevant certifications. Pepperl+Fuchs has decades of experience in this field, so its remote I/O solutions have been proven to meet the strict requirements. Due to an outstanding level of expertise and high-quality components, both standardized and engineered Pepperl+Fuchs solutions are ready for use quickly and can be integrated into a wide range of applications.

Pepperl+Fuchs remote I/O systems
Pepperl+Fuchs remote I/O systems

Finding the ideal solution is not always easy—but it is possible, provided the right consultation service is used. At the beginning of a project, often the only documentation available is a specification containing requirements and general conditions. This specification is then used to design a solution that fits the customer's needs. At this stage, having project experience is often a key advantage. Those who know the relevant industry well and that have seen and designed many applications are in the best position to evaluate which solution is most suitable for the customer's needs. The experienced product experts from Pepperl+Fuchs know your industry and its applications. The experts use your specifications to define the project requirements and choose a ready-to-connect remote I/O solution that fits perfectly with your application.

The result is a remote I/O solution that connects analogue and digital communication in process automation. Customers can rely on Pepperl+Fuchs remote I/O systems in its FB series (Zone 1/21) and LB series (Zone 2/22). These are used as a base for integrating field devices with analogue interfaces, such as 4 mA ... 20 mA, NAMUR sensors, or solenoid valves, into the digital communication channels of the control system (DCS). The remote I/O systems are also used to transfer diagnostic and configuration data to other systems, such as system management, enabling full access to the process control system. Customers also benefit from the fact that the system supports process optimizations and allows for maintenance concepts that do not impair process control. Both series were designed for use in the vicinity of sensors in Zone 1 and Zone 2 hazardous areas. The systems have a modular structure, so they can be used for a wide range of applications.

An enclosure series designed by Pepperl+Fuchs for a wide range of applications

To use remote I/O technology in harsh ambient conditions, a four-component system (backplane, voltage supply, I/O module, and gateway) must be installed in a suitable enclosure. The enclosure should be specifically designed for such applications to ensure that all explosion protection requirements have been met. The space available in the enclosure should also be optimally utilized. In the finished enclosure solutions provided by Pepperl+Fuchs, the modules can be simply plugged into the integrated backplane, allowing the Ex e and Ex i signals to be combined effortlessly and reliably. For these solutions, Pepperl+Fuchs offers two enclosure series that have been specifically developed for use in harsh ambient environments. The highly flexible enclosures in the GR (glass-fiber reinforced plastic) and SR (stainless steel) series are certified for use in increased safety (Ex e) and intrinsic safety (Ex i) types of protection in Zone 1/21 and Zone 2/22 hazardous areas.

When developing the GR series, enclosure sizes were specifically designed to meet the requirements described above so that they could be used for remote I/O systems. In addition to the choice of sizes, this enclosure series offers many other useful features. For example, the enclosures have very rugged hinges that do not buckle, even when the heavier covers of the larger enclosure sizes are opened frequently. This ensures that the foamed silicone seal on the cover is always seated in the intended position when the cover is closed, which ensures the long-term integrity of both IP66 degree of protection and explosion protection.

The SR stainless-steel enclosure series also offers many benefits when used as a remote I/O enclosure solution. It boasts a level of modularity that is hard to surpass. This allows customers to work together with sales specialists to design a specific solution using the modular system. For example, the flexible mounting options for hinges and mounting brackets allow the enclosures to be installed either horizontally or vertically. The customer can choose the positioning of the cable glands. The glands can either be placed directly in the individual enclosure sides, or customers can opt for a solution with gland plates that can be equipped as desired. In this case, both sides of the enclosure can be equipped with a gland plate. Optional safety locks and deadbolts can be fitted to provide solutions with access restrictions.

Standardized and engineered enclosure solutions

Not every remote I/O solution is designed for just one specific application, and not every solution requires customer-specific engineering. Experience shows that the same framework conditions are often required for a wide range of applications. This is why Pepperl+Fuchs distinguishes between two different types of solution. For applications in which the specification depends on the modules used, the engineers at Pepperl+Fuchs have designed a series of standardized and fully certified packaged solutions. Customers can choose a suitable enclosure from this range, including a backplane, terminals, grounding bar, and cable glands. The size of enclosure the customer opts for then depends on the number of slots required for the modules and any optional redundancy requirements. As no engineering or calibration efforts are required, the solutions are quickly ready for use and are suitable for a variety of applications.

The second type of solution is engineered solutions. In this case, it is important to be involved in customer projects and to take the challenges and requirements of the operating location into account. For this type of enclosure, the Pepperl+Fuchs Solution Engineering Centres (SEC) are on hand to support plant operators and provide solutions tailored to their individual requirements. This approach does not just guarantee that the customer benefits from first-hand expertise and experience, it also significantly reduces the costs of engineering, installation, and configuration on-site.

Global support from solution engineering centres located worldwide

The great benefit of the Pepperl+Fuchs Solution Engineering Centres is their global presence. Located all over the world, the Centres are familiar with local requirements and know the specific needs of the process industry. The services provided are based on in-depth insider knowledge, which allows customers to outsource their responsibilities. As a result, customers receive much more than components for upgrading systems and bridging different generations of technology. They receive a certified turnkey solution that can be seamlessly integrated into the existing process control system, resulting in more control and increased system transparency.  Choose remote I/O solutions from Pepperl+Fuchs.

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