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Safe and fast handling in hazardous areas with a vacuum lifter

Handling goods is not just about ergonomic working. In many industries, work must also be carried out in potentially explosive atmospheres. Particularly in the chemical industry, products must often be handled that are located in the explosion-hazardous area. An important basis here is the ATEX Product Directive 2014/34/EU. This states how products must be designed and developed so that they may be used in the explosion-hazardous area.

The ezzFAST vacuum lifter from Best Handling Technology is used wherever speed is of the essence. It can be used to move and handle goods quickly, safely and ergonomically. Vacuum lifters are used especially for loading and unloading processes as well as for reloading, palletizing and order picking. In addition to typical containers such as sacks, cartons and drums, of which the ezzFAST can move up to six per minute, it also moves buckets, boxes, crates, plates and sheets as well as rolls and coils.

In the ATEX version, our ezzFAST is also ideally suited for explosion-hazardous areas. Important in the Ex area is the avoidance of ignition sources. This can be avoided in various ways. In the ezzFAST, the metallic components are made of stainless steel so that no sparks can be struck. Plastic parts are electrically conductive or they are designed in such a way that static charging cannot occur. The vacuum hose has a metal coil that is grounded at both ends, as is the vacuum supply hose. In addition, all conductive components are protected by grounding cables. The electric vacuum pump is available in an EX version or is installed outside the explosion-hazardous area. There, however, the vacuum pump still draws air from the hazardous area and must therefore be equipped with additional protection and monitoring. Best Handling Technology's preferred safety concept is a pneumatic vacuum pump, which is not considered an ignition source. To protect the vacuum pump, an ATEX inlet filter is placed in front of the pump to filter the air that is drawn in from the environment before it enters the pump.

The ezzFAST in ATEX version is guided on a crane made of metal (aluminum or stainless steel). The trolley of the crane is made with bronze rollers.

The ezzFAST can then handle bags, for example, using a suction cup. A pneumatic gripper, also designed for explosion-hazardous areas, is suitable for particularly difficult gripping operations. This pulls plastic bags out of a cardboard hobbock, for example. The bags are very elastic, so they cannot be sucked in with a vacuum. The gripper grips so well that it can grab the material under the closure of the bag and pull it out of the hobbock.

The vacuum lifter ezzFAST in practice

In this application example, a pharmaceutical company receives raw materials in hobbocks and other containers. The weight of the containers varies from 30 to 80 kilo. All containers have lids that are secured with tension locks.

Even handling tasks in ISO 8 cleanrooms can be carried out with an ezzFAST vacuum lifter.
The vacuum lifter ezzFAST is also suitable for an ISO 8 cleanroom.

The raw materials are loaded onto aluminum pallets before an airlock using a conventional vacuum lifter, which are moved into the airlock on a conveyor. After cleaning, the products are moved out of the airlock into the ISO 8 class cleanroom. There, the containers with the raw materials must be assigned to the points of use from the aluminum pallet.

The most suitable handling system for this application is the vacuum lifter ezzFAST due to the following characteristics.

Advantages of the vacuum lifter ezzFAST

The vacuum lifter does not introduce any particles into the clean room. Air is extracted from all surfaces and transported to the outside. The vacuum lifter does not introduce heat into the cleanroom and does not interfere with downward airflow. The vacuum lifter is free of lubricants. The elastomer plastics used have FDA approval. All metallic components are made of stainless steel and have smooth surfaces. Even during cleaning, no residues of cleaning agents can settle. The exhaust air filter and vacuum pump are located outside the clean room, allowing easy inspection and maintenance.

The ezzFAST in the EX area

When raw materials are transferred, flammable vapors can escape into the environment. For this reason, the room is considered a Zone 2 hazardous area.

Due to its flexibel ability of adapting to many industrial environments by individually combining a crane system with a vacuum lifter and various load suspension devices, this handling system is also a perfect solution for the chemical industry.
The vacuum lifter ezzFAST is designed for handling tasks in the chemical industry, alongside other industrial sectors.

The ezzFAST from Best Handling Technology is also ideally suited for this requirement. The special features of the ezzFASTex version are that all parts are grounded. The material of the connecting hose is antistatic. The filter, although outside the room, is also antistatic. Inside the filter is the same atmosphere as in the zone 2 room. Instead of the usual electrically driven vacuum pump, a pneumatic vacuum pump is used. This vacuum pump is not considered an ignition source. The dimensions of the elastomer seals comply with the directive.


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