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Hazardous area rated pneumatics

The project to replace the old remote Ex rated I/O panels and pneumatics in the bottling plant was awarded to a joint team comprising a major Siemens Distributor and a systems integrator that specialises in installations within the Scotch whisky industry.

The objective was to replace the panels in situ, without major disruption to the existing infrastructure.

The hazardous Ex rated nature of the project meant that a Siemens’ intrinsically safe SIMATIC ET 200iSP™ distributed I/O system was specified for the electrical control element. As regards the pneumatic system, the designers opted for Bürkert, primarily because the company’s ATEX rated Type 8650 valve island system has been used successfully with the ET 200iSP™ on a number of critical applications; recently for example on a Zone 1 North Sea project for controlling a sampling and blending system in an oil and gas application.

The AirLINE EX 8650 system provided the ideal solution for the client's retrofit project. It offers the key benefits of substantial reductions in cabinet space, wiring, documentation and validation, reducing the complexity of the task and reducing costs for the client. The 8650 delivers these benefits by combining EEx ia classed solenoid valves with modules from the ET 200iSP™ system and Fieldbus communications, providing users with a complete ATEX certified unit for use in zone 1/21.


The key benefits of the integrated Siemens/Bürkert system are all evident in the project as it was conceived and implemented. The combination has produced a neater, more compact and more modular solution; and one that, because of Profibus communications, requires far less wiring than the original Ex panels.

The success of this project has resulted in the systems integrator actively considering standardising on the AirLINE Ex 8650 system for future hazardous area applications that have a pneumatic actuation function, while the installer is applying the concept of reduced wiring through the use of Profibus to help other clients in the future.

“We are delighted that such a prestigious project has allowed us to demonstrate the benefits that our integrated AirLINE EX 8560 system can provide in demanding, hazardous applications,” said Neil Saunders of Bürkert UK. “The integration with the Siemens system provided a more reliable, maintainable and compact design that saved considerably on labour during the design and building of this system. In many applications of this type, customers go for traditional solutions that require far more pipework and cabling, a larger enclosure and take far longer to built and install. We have demonstrated with this application, the real cost saving advantages of adopting new technologies that are fit for purpose.”

Bürkert’s AirLINE Ex 8650 unit is fully ATEX, IEC-Ex certified; it can, therefore, be used in explosion-hazard areas with gas or dust atmospheres. The system is particularly suited to decentralised process control tasks concerning fine chemicals, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and oil & gas; it can be used for example to automate the filling of potentially volatile solvents, alcohol or lacquers. In these application areas, the new system is unique, as it is the only compact electro-pneumatic automation solution allowing integration of EEx ia rated pneumatic valves without additional wiring.

The AirLINE Ex 8650 units are available from Bürkert UK as separate components or built-up into a full Ex cabinet or panel by the in-house panel building and systems team.