Patol’s fire detection products have been employed in a project to help protect the Hinkley Point B nuclear power plant in the UK. The 945 MW NPP, located on the Bristol Channel, south west England, consists of two operating advanced gas-cooled reactors that became operational in 1976. Placed by site licensee and operator EDF Energy, the order was for the supply, installation and commissioning of Patol’s LHDC fire detection system. The system is now installed to protect cable flats and risers in the power station.

Patol is primarily concerned with the provision of safety related equipment and systems. Giving early detection of hazards at temperatures well below flame point, its LHDC comprises a coaxial cable inside a protective sheath. The core of each cable is tinned copper coated steel with resistive negative temperature coefficient polymer insulation. The insulation is formulated so that the polymer starts to conduct as temperature rises. When this happens, the controller compares the signal and triggers an alarm.

The technology has been applied at the Hinkley B facility to replace an original system installed in the 1990s which required 140 local zone monitoring units dispersed throughout the cable flats. The new system offers significant technological advances, employing control modules grouped into five distributed swing frame control cabinets with 19 inch rack-mounted LHDC monitoring and actuation control modules. This makes identification and location of a potential incident much easier, with each control module monitoring the existing zonal length of analogue re-settable LHDC. The modules feature a two stage alarm output, activated when a short length of the cable is elevated in temperature above the pre-defined trip points. The alarm signals from the modules are sent to the site’s fire alarm system and also to 600 zonal metron actuated sprinklers located throughout the cable flats. If the second stage of the two stage alarm is reached, the relevant sprinklers are automatically activated to quickly extinguish the fire in the affected zone.

A further benefit is easy access for maintenance, with the control cabinets located outside the cable flat and riser areas, eliminating the need to work in confined spaces.

Multi-function, multi-range timer

Automatic Timing & Controls (ATC), a division of the Marsh Bellofram Group of companies, has launched a new DIN rail mount multi-range, multi-function industrial timer, designed to meet demanding OEM machinery, equipment and related manufacturing requirements.

Designated Model 328E it features six timing ranges and a versatile dial-adjusted time-delay relay with a choice of On-Delay, Off-Delay or Interval. The knob-selectable timing ranges are from 1 second to 10 hours, enabling the timer to provide any timing period between 50 milliseconds and 10 hours. Based on a unique digital circuit, the timer provides a status LED for cycle process annunciation and operates from 24-240 VAC and 24 VDC.

The new unit comes standard in a 48 x 96 mm DIN housing with an 11-pin base that accepts push-on connectors or plugs into a surface-mounted socket. It is a direct replacement for the ATC Models 328A, 328B, 328C and 328D and is FM approved and CE and CSA certified.

It is also said to reduce in-house inventory management requirements, by providing a single part number to competently support a range of industrial timing applications.

Laser based alignment tool

Fixturlaser’s new laser based shaft alignment tool, Fixturlaser NXA Ultimate, comes with a complete software and hardware package for both shaft alignment and geometric measurements, such as flatness and straightness. Its makers are calling it ‘a revolution in usability’. It utilises the latest technology in digital signal processing and provides access to advanced functions and capabilities.

The display is rugged, rubber coated aluminum IP65 sealed, and battery capacity higher than average and includes a quick-charge function. By introducing a gyro-powered OmniView function, the screen will always show the machine to be aligned from the same viewing angle as that of the operator.

The flatness application is to allow maintenance staff to check the foundation for any faults. A machine foundation that is skewed or warped in any way will make other alignments difficult, if not impossible. With everything verified to be perfectly aligned, the machine’s optimal operation conditions are ensured.

‘The Fixturlaser NXA Ultimate is the pinnacle of our high end product range. It is a complete measurement system for the most demanding machine condition situations’ commented Hans Svensson, the company’s CEO.

Innovative ash milling system

Specialist low energy milling equipment developed in the UK by Gateshead-based International Innovative Technologies Ltd is being installed in a new pioneering ceramics industry plant in China using locally sourced fly ash from coal fired power stations as the main raw material.

IIT has signed an agreement to supply specialist fine grinding and particle sizing technology to the newly established Shandong V-tong Science and Technology Ltd (V-tong) for use in its new custom built plant in Zibo. This is the first ceramics sector application of its type for the patented IIT ‘M-Series’ mill.

The first stage in the JV project will see the new facility being used for the processing of locally sourced fly ash into high grade raw materials for use in the production of ceramic tiles.

Compared with tile production utilising traditional clay, the new proprietary techniques achieve significant savings in manufacturingcosts, by reducing the initial capital costs required.

The milling of the fly ash as part of the preparation of the ceramic mix is a key requirement in the new process. In particular, close control and reduction of particle size and distribution is essential for a uniform overall composition for subsequent pressing and firing.

To meet these requirements, the M-Series milling system has now been selected for this application to achieve the necessary efficient control of the reduction and finished particle size of the fly ash and other ceramic raw materials utilised in the process.

Medium voltage converter for WTGs

Power electronic specilist Ingeteam has produced a family of low and medium voltage power converters that includes power stack, a basic power module (BPM) the and control electronics for wind turbines up to 10 MW.

They are based on semiconductor parallelisation for certain power values (this is aimed at low voltage) and on the smart parallelisation of several conversion lines (aimed at medium voltage).

Both approaches allow a redundant system solution within a set of completely modular families, offering what the company describes as flexible and scalable solutions for each project and different application requirements. With output powers ranging from 3 MW to 10 MW, the medium voltage converters are especially suitable for the offshore market.

In order to achieve a high reliability product, various important aspects have been taken into account during the design process, such as easy and fast maintenance, high power density (kW/m3) and compatibility, considering at least two suppliers for each main component. Fast and easy definition of the power stack has been achieved through low package IGBTs for low voltage components and high package IGBT modules for medium voltage components. Likewise, the medium voltage products are highly flexible by offering several power stack options based on the number of BPMs per cabinet. Additionally, several conversion lines can be used to achieve a power increase for the whole converter solution.

The converter control unit (CCU) is a programmable electronic device with a range of analog/digital outputs and input and communication channels. It manages and controls the frequency converter’s operation by regulating the power flow between the generator and the grid.

Materials feeder is now on tracks

Samson Materials Handling (former B&W Mechanical Handling) has launched the latest version of its ‘Samson’ material feeder. Designated MF0814T, it is a tracked derivative of the company’s existing Samson feeder. Its maker says that the evolved version exhibits unrivalled flexibility, and offers market proven high performance and reliability.

This concept has been developed as a result of collaboration with mining and minerals customers. They require the huge holding capacity of up to 50 tons offered by the standard MF0814W, combined with its operational durability and accuracy in discharge control – but capable of operating in the most testing ground conditions.

The standard Samson MF08 series is suitable for heavy duty applications with continuous use including impact loading from articulated dump trucks and large loading shovels, and suitable for a material with bulk density up to 2.6 tonne/m³ and lumps up to 400 mm. The typical materials handled include limestone, coal and coke, raw slag, alternative fuels, clays and shale and heavy mineral ores

The MF0814T version is self-propelled and operates via an integrated diesel power supply so as to offer excellent flexibility on site. With self-steering through its umbilical control the unit can be deployed quickly and independently.