Ex-Protected Materials Handling from Sichelschmidt
When it comes to materials handling in potentially explosive environments, safety is paramount, and German manufacturer Sichelschmidt, which celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2014, has been the market leader in the particularly demanding field of Ex-protection technology for decades.
The distinguishing features of Sichelschmidt’s Ex-protected products, fully compliant with ATEX directives, is that they have been designed from the outset for operation in potentially explosive zones, not simply “converted” from a non-Ex truck. Customers in the offshore, pharmaceutical and chemical sectors can therefore be assured of the utmost performance and safety levels.
The harsh conditions on drilling platforms pose a particular challenge for equipment which is why major operators and suppliers of drilling rigs appreciate Sichelschmidt’s “offshore package” which ensures that forklifts working in these extremely harsh applications can withstand long term exposure to the elements without risk of corrosion or down-time. All coated components benefit from salt water resistant double pack paint, the pistons in all the hydraulic cylinders are nickel and chromium plated and components such as hydraulic valves, hand brake and other operating controls are protected from spray water by special seals.
Battery charging can be a hazardous procedure in this environment – in contrast to other industries there are no non-Ex-zones where this can safely be carried out. Sichelschmidt has developed a charging box which protects the connector between the battery and the charging unit from its surroundings. If the box is opened during charging the process is immediately interrupted, for safe and efficient battery charging.
Sichelschmidt also addressed the very stringent requirements of GMP-Cleanroom Class C directives when it delivered a wide gauge truck with a load capacity of 1250kg to a major pharmaceutical manufacturer, which is used for feeding weighing scales in the filling area and transporting decanters to the cleaning and sterilising station.
Trucks made of stainless steel have long been the preferred solution for cleanroom operation but by incorporating special coatings for steel components and solvent resistant synthetic materials, Sichelschmidt has reduced the amount of stainless steel required to offer a more cost effective solution whilst adhering to exacting standards of chemical stability to prevent product contamination. Friction and consequent abrasion also need to be avoided at all costs and Sichelschmidt’s collaboration with a wheel manufacturer resulted in innovative technology which keeps abrasion to an absolute minimum whilst maintaining the necessary level of traction.
Following a successful tender bid for the Linde Group, Sichelschmidt is pioneering a new chapter in the explosion proof handling sector by designing and manufacturing a truck from the ground up that is able to operate in areas where hydrogen and acetylene are present – a global first.
The Gas Division of the Linde Group has ordered twelve bespoke electric pallet trucks for its production facilities across Germany, which accord to the rigorous requirements of the Explosion Group II C directives. Features include an Ex compliant electric AC motor, a new housing for the control system as well as specific measures taken by Sichelschmidt to address mechanical explosion protection. The optimised pallet forks are a further innovation on the Linde trucks: with just two length variants a total of ten differing types of containers can be lifted and transported. The forks can be quickly and easily unscrewed and interchanged, fulfilling Linde’s requirements for very flexible operation at the company’s sites.
Im Hilingschen 32
Tel. 02335 6309-0