Hybrid Shelters Advanced Outdoor Shelters Simplify Control for Processing Plants
A novel new style of outdoor shelter for process plant applications will be demonstrated by Intertec at Achema. Intertec's hybrid shelter cooling concept is being demonstrated using a model with LED lighting effects that illustrate the natural circulation principle of passive cooling systems.
The firm’s demonstration model illustrates a radical new form of shelter configuration that can dramatically reduce plant building sizes, and greatly simplify construction and installation, claims the organisation. Known as the Peri Shelter, it makes all the system components that are required for normal operation accessible via the building's exterior.
Panel-mounting enclosures on the exterior provide access to electrical connection and I/O termination points, and cooling systems. Touchscreen HMI panels can also be fitted to external walls, allowing operators on the ground to monitor a control element such as a PLC or make adjustments to control programs locally via an inspection door.
Among the many design problems and costs that can be avoided by the shelter's 'inside out' approach is the need to make plant buildings blast proof and fire resistant as the size is reduced by eliminating desks. It also offers much simpler internal atmospheric control requirements.
The shelter concept meets a growing problem faced in process automation projects. Automation systems are becoming more complex due to more sophisticated safety technology. Adding such equipment into an already crowded plant area – often close to the process in hazardous areas – has become a major challenge and a major contributor to project cost overruns.
The company states the shelters can cut project costs by millions of dollars, and cut months off project timescales. For turnaround projects in existing plants, the unmanned shelters can provide an alternative to installing larger and expensive manned buildings such as satellite instrument houses or remote instrument enclosures.
It fits easily in crowded spaces as well as close to the process in hazardous areas. With the benefit of the firm’s unique hybrid cooling technology, it is also ideal for Scada applications and other remote location applications, adds the organisation.
A key contributor to the advanced environmental protection performance of the shelters is its construction from GRP (glass reinforced polyester) materials. According to the firm, the GRP panels employ a composite 'sandwich' construction to incorporate a very high degree of insulation, plus surface protection that can survive extreme challenges including high levels of UV and dust and sand abrasion.
GRP is an inherently inert material that is virtually immune to corrosion and atmospheric pollutants. It is also resistant to a broad range of chemical media. The insulation used in the company’s shelters substantially reduces the total cooling power that is required as compared with shelters that make use of insulated steel or aluminium.
The shelter also provides highly stable operating environments for sensitive equipment such as analyzers. The firm’s composite GRP panels use insulation layers that are bonded between GRP sheets. This style of fabrication eliminates ‘thermal short cuts' between the interior and exterior of the shelter which often arises due to fixings with insulated metal constructions.
Hall 11.1, Stand F61