“Anyone who has dust accumulating in an interior space could benefit from HazardPRO, because it identifies risks that may lead to fires and explosions,” said David Klenk, the President of Electro-Sensors, Inc. “That could be grain, dust, sugar, flour, or sand. But even if you don’t operate within an explosive environment, you can still use HazardPRO to save money by alerting you in advance of maintenance issues that can cause expensive failures or shutdowns.”
In fact, HazardPRO is now the only turnkey wireless hazard monitoring system on the market for conveyors, mills, augers, fans, and more.
Grain dust is extremely volatile, and can easily explode with the proper ignition source in confined spaces (for example, overheated bearings can ignite grain dust). OSHA has mandated that grain elevators in Class II, Division 1 environments (or grain elevators with a permanent storage capacity of 1+ million bushels) must track bearing temperature, belt speed, and belt alignment. This requirement reduces the risk of fires and explosions caused by grain dust.
This same rule also applies to the flour and sugar processing industries, which also have a high level of dust floating in interior spaces. HazardPRO takes care of all 3 of these requirements by monitoring conveyor (or elevator) slowdown, bearing temperature, and belt misalignment—all of which can be a potential ignition source.
“The threat of explosion from grain dust is not a minor threat, it’s really a major explosion we’re talking about, which could endanger the lives of employees and potentially cause several millions of dollars’ worth of damage to a large operation,” said Brad Slye, the Product Development Manager at Electro-Sensors. “While this OSHA requirement is currently targeted toward larger facilities, it may eventually be applied to smaller facilities as well.”
HazardPRO uses a system of sensors that connect to a simple, wireless transmitter node (with a 5+ year battery life). The rugged sensors monitor bearing temperature, belt misalignment, and conveyor/elevator slowdown. The transmitter node sends data collected from the sensors wirelessly to the HazardPRO system manager, which is usually located in the control room. The system manager has an advanced touchscreen interface and an assortment of built-in tools, such as self-diagnostics, transmission logging, and redundant radios.
It’s easy to install, and can be expanded without custom coding. Better yet, you can interact with the system directly via tablet, smartphone, email, text, or web—and even use it to shut down your equipment, if necessary. The system has been successfully installed and monitoring industrial processing facilities with hazardous environments for more than 5 years. During this time period, the product has been proven to be extremely reliable and simple to operate.
“The best part about this system is how inexpensive it is, compared to a wired monitoring system,” Slye said. “HazardPRO does not require expensive conduit or the labor costs that are necessary when installing traditional hazard monitoring systems.”
He added that plant supervisors love the flexibility of the remote wireless access. “Even if you’re at a trade show in another state, you can log in with your smartphone and view equipment status, receive and respond to alerts, silence alarms, and even shut down operations in emergency situations,” Slye said.
The system has 2 hazard threshold warning levels, letting you know that danger is either possible—or imminent. It uses a real-time data display.
“Even if you don’t have an explosive threat, it can help prevent a half-day shutdown from a failed bearing, which can be catastrophic for some businesses,” Klenk said. “It can also help you avoid huge fines for delays if you’re scheduled to load your material onto a train or ship that day.”
Excellent for Preventive Maintenance
HazardPRO can also help maintenance managers know when it’s time to schedule planned maintenance—or when there might be a problem. It tells you when a belt is slipping, a bearing needs lubrication, or if the conveyor is overloaded.
“You can get 2x or 3x longer life out of your bearings when they are properly lubricated, and not overloaded,” Slye said. “Basically, the HazardPRO does a great job of educating your personnel on how well the plant is running. It’s like an early warning system.”