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A French explosion-prevention company has developed a new type of sensor that allows forklift fleet managers to remotely monitor their vehicles working in potentially explosive workplaces.
New European workplace standards require precautions to be taken when workers are working in environments in which there is a risk of explosion, such as when there is the presence of flammable gases.
The new CentrEx system — from CentrExpert, a company based in Feyzin, France — allows companies to use forklifts in explosion risk zones (ATEX zones) where potentially combustible gasses or dust are present.
The CentrEx system is fully compliant with European work standards for ATEX Zone 2 environments, which are defined as: “An area in which an explosive mixture is not likely to occur in normal operation and if it occurs will exist only for a short time.”
The CentrEx system includes a data acquisition system that is attached to the forklift and controlled remotely using a touch screen tablet with a modular sensor array, according to a CentrExpert news release.
From the tablet, forklift fleet managers can gather data from the wireless sensors to continually monitor such things as gas levels, atmospheric pressure, temperature and electrical induction. The data also is encrypted.
Benefits of Remote Monitoring
The European explosive standards were put in place to protect workers from the risk of injury or death.
The CentrEx system can be integrated with a database that allows businesses to collect a variety of information related to the system — including connections, alarms, calibration, intervention reports, and more.
The system comes with an Android touchscreen tablet that is designed to be extremely intuitive. Businesses can modify the settings to fit their specific needs.
If explosive gas or other combustible materials are detected, safety supervisors can implement an immediate safety shut down and evacuate workers from the area in order to minimize the risk of injury to persons or damage to property.
The device also will maintain records of data so maintenance technicians can reference the times and dates that alarms were activated, the sources of the alarms, and the forklift operators at the time of the alarm.
Deals with Forklift Companies
CentrExpert already has made a deal with at least one forklift company to outfit some of its new vehicles with the device, Linde Material Handling. CentrEx systems can be installed on the equipment without harming the original certificate of origin.
The ATEX directives were put into place by the European Union in 2003 and define what equipment and work environment is allowed in workplaces with an explosive atmosphere. ATEX derives its name from the French title of the directive: Appareils destinés à être utilisés enATmosphères EXplosibles.