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Dart Technology On the Road to Success: Dart Technology — Presence and Future

| Author/ Editor: Andreas Hennecke / Dr. Jörg Kempf

Dynamic Arc Recognition and Termination (Dart) has triggered a new era for Ex Zone 1 applications. The first real-life applications demonstrate how this technology eliminates the drawbacks formerly associated with fieldbus-based process control and intrinsic safety for explosion-hazardous areas.

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Fieldconnex fieldbus power supply: intrinsically safe, and with the redundancy of power supply modules, this power supply combines high availability with the safest protection methods. (Picture: Pepperl+Fuchs)
Fieldconnex fieldbus power supply: intrinsically safe, and with the redundancy of power supply modules, this power supply combines high availability with the safest protection methods. (Picture: Pepperl+Fuchs)

The Fisco concept established the idea of system-based intrinsic safety approval for Ex Zone 1 applications. As a result, process control based on a fieldbus communications infrastructure experienced a dramatic breakthrough. Dart will drastically speed up this development. With this new technology, establishing intrinsic safety is easier than ever before at the power levels required for fieldbus applications.

With Dart, intrinsic safety can become a fully integrated part of the complete process control infrastructure. While Dart protects Ex zones, this is not done by limiting the effective electric power supplied to the field instrumentation. Instead, this new technology goes back all the way to the root. Dart monitors the complete trunk and spur topology, reacting immediately if a spark is detected anywhere in the system. In other words, the goal is not to avoid dangerous sparks by keeping the flow of current at a safely low level. Instead, sparks are effectively extinguished as soon as they are detected — long before they can become hot enough to cause trouble.

Intrinsic Safety Starting With the Trunk

The first applications enable an intrinsically safe High-Power Trunk with integrated Dart protection. Pepperl+Fuchs is one of the key players behind Dart. The company was deeply involved in the development of this new technology and has worked closely with the Physikalisch Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) in Germany to promote its inclusion into the IEC 60079 standard, which internationally determines the parameters for intrinsic safety. It is therefore no surprise that Pepperl+Fuchs is among the first suppliers worldwide able to provide the process control market with Dart components.

A typical example is a new Dart power supply used in combination with Dart Segment Protectors to provide intrinsic safety to the trunk without imposing the strict limitation associated with former solutions, such as Fisco. The solution comes with IEC 60079-11 system certification and allows Ex ib Zone 1 applications even within gas category IIC environments. An additional advantage is the easy access to all components within the Ex zone without the need for a hot work permit. Another great advantage of Dart is that a fieldbus infrastructure protected with this technology does not require any special instrumentation. Segment Protectors can connect any standard Fisco-certified field device to the spurs.

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