Explosion Protection Goes Cloud Computing In the Cloud, not up in Smoke – Cloud Based Explosion Protection

Author / Editor: Konstantin Anissimov / Dominik Stephan

Dust explosions – a dreaded scenario in all powder and bulk handling applications. Therefore, monitoring has become a keystone in plant safety – but these elaborate systems can be bypassed and avoided in the hurry of an everyday operation. Now, the advent of data networks and cloud computing could help to overcome this issue – providing the extra amount of safety and transparency that makes the difference between safe and sorry…

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Safety goes cloud computing: Web based monitoring and data storage is both safe and transparent.
Safety goes cloud computing: Web based monitoring and data storage is both safe and transparent.
(Picture: © PictureArt; © ra2 studio - Fotolia.com / [M]-Schmidt)

It is well known that dry dusty materials can create explosive atmospheres. If the following four conditions come together, an explosive state is nearly unavoidable: First of all, there needs to be high concentration of dust, then there must be oxygen and there should also be an ignition source. If all of these appear in a confined space, an explosion will occur.

The most common ignition sources have long been identified as over-heated bearings, misaligned belt, slipping belt and misaligned pulleys. The industry is saturated with various sensors and controllers that monitor those conditions and stop the machines automatically to prevent ignition and ultimately explosion.

The Human Factor – Number One Problem of Safety Systems

These systems work really well, but there is one big problem with all of them: All these solutions rely on the on-site personnel not to modify the system in order to run in bypass mode. With the ever-growing demands on the performance and efficiency of terminals and processing facilities, it is understandable that a shift manager may make a decision under pressure to keep a leg in operation even after an alarm has been detected. One can appreciate that there still are a number of ways to cheat the safety system and carry on running regardless of the dangers imposed to equipment and personnel.

Taking the Digital Plant Into the Cloud

What is needed is a transparent solution that allows the monitoring and record keeping of all safety relevant parameters – a solution that could become reality with the help of web based cloud computing technologies. Bulk materials and elevator systems specialist 4B Components have been working on a secure cloud based industrial monitoring solution that allows any registered user to login and see all their facilities in real-time from anywhere in the world.

The result: Hazardmon.com, a solution that “will revolutionize the industry!”, 4B believes. Centerpiece of this solution is a modern, simple and user friendly website, featuring a secure and encrypted login and data transfer of industrial strength – 256bit SSL for website security and data safety. The data transmission is fully integrated into 4B’s T500 Elite “Hotbus” communication BUS system.