DART Ushers in the Next Generation of Intrinsic Safety

Feb. 7, 2011
The Primary Benefit of Intrinsic Safety Is to Allow the Operation of Automation Equipment in Hazardous Environments With Hot Work Permitted During Operation

Investments in process equipment typically have the longest lifecycles of any industrial assets. When the payback period is over, process systems can be operated for many years at a high profit if they are maintained well. In the process industries, fieldbus technologies have helped many process users to manage their assets intelligently based on the wealth of information that smart field devices can deliver. However, fieldbus in hazardous areas requires particular attention with regards to explosion protection. Here, power restrictions on equipment that limit the network device-count can make some installations cumbersome or difficult to realize.

Since the advent of intrinsic safety (and later fieldbus), several concepts have addressed this problem with incremental success. Now, a new concept -- Dynamic Arc Recognition and Termination (DART) -- has eliminated the power problem while maintaining intrinsically safe energy levels of power supply, installation components down to the device with a new approach to energy limitation. The concept allows for considerably higher direct power, while ensuring intrinsically safe energy requirements via rapid disconnection.

DART systems supply enough power to support nearly as many devices as are typically applied in non-hazardous areas. In addition, DART can also power field instruments that previously needed more power than intrinsically safe solutions could offer. Thanks to DART, process users can now take full advantage of the many benefits of fieldbus technology, such as ensuring system availability and, ultimately, lowering total cost of ownership.

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