Pyroban has successfully completed the ATEX conversion of a new generation of Linde diesel forklifts. This breakthrough solution, possibly the first of its kind, achieves emission levels far lower than required for ATEX applications, almost as low as the stringent EU Stage V emissions standards.
“The engineering and production teams really pushed the boundaries of science to achieve what we believe to be one of the lowest emission ATEX diesel forklifts in the world, in partnership with a leading forklift OEM,” says Darren Boiling, Materials Handling Sales Manager for Pyroban.
“We set out to develop a quality solution for the new generation of diesel engines and we delivered on that commitment,” says Darren Boiling.
In 2021 Pyroban took the commercial decision to not offer an ATEX compliant solution for the latest Stage V forklift truck technologies stating that offering a Stage V solution gave the expectation that the emissions will perform to Stage V limits. With the changes required to meet ATEX, true Stage V performance can’t be guaranteed and therefore Pyroban did not want to mislead customers.
“Today, Pyroban has got as close as possible to Stage V emissions on these hydrostatic Linde trucks,” says Darren. “And they are also fully networked for fleet management data analysis and in support of Industry 4.0 applications. It’s all ATEX compliant telemetry.”
Dave Waring, Engineering and Quality Manager adds, “This new generation of engines includes high pressure common rail fuel injection, EGR, a high-performance turbocharger and an array of sensors communicating to the ECU. Our solution retained these original core components, modified to ATEX requirements, in addition to incorporating the mandatory exhaust gas heat exchanger, bespoke inlet manifold, air shutoff valves and flame arrestors.”
To assist at the start of the conversion process Pyroban used Point Cloud scanning to produce a complete 3D model of the forklift truck. This was used to aid the design and modification of components needed for the ATEX 3G conversion, particularly in the engine compartment.
“The engine bay was extremely tight on space, so the size and shape of manifolds, coolers and all other Pyroban components was crucial,” says Dave.
“We were able to develop an ATEX 3G solution that works with the design and ergonomics of the original forklift. You can hardly tell that the truck is explosion proof from the outside,” says Dave Waring.
Truck features have been maintained by Pyroban along with the inherent visibility, low noise levels and ease of routine maintenance.
The ATEX forklifts feature Pyroban’s system6000 which will detect the presence of a flammable atmosphere, alert the operator, and shut the truck down if necessary.
Gas detection combines with various explosion protection methods such as restricted breathing enclosures, component level ATEX modifications, stainless steel cladding of forks, exhaust gas cooling, and surface temperature monitoring to ensure the engine, electrics, and other components remain below the auto-ignition temperatures of flammable materials.
Pyroban invested more than a thousand hours in the development to ensure the conversion was robust, included extended life-cycle testing before being signed off as “customer-ready”. Pyroban’s in-house explosion test facility was used to verify that the inlet and exhaust systems met the ATEX requirements.
Incorporating gas detection gives the operator confidence that they will be warned and the vehicle will shut down in the event of vapour or gas release, which is possible in operations such as chemical plants, waste processing facilities, and many other manufacturing and storage businesses.
“What if scenarios were also used to simulate real life,” Dave says. “We purposely blocked pipes and filters and increased ambient temperatures to put the truck through its paces.”
Now, following successful testing and design approval, a fleet has been converted. Many more forklifts are also on order.
“We work with our customers with integrity and trust and provide a proper route to ATEX compliance,” says Darren Boiling (pictured). “We have developed an ATEX conversion that ensures this dependable low emission forklift will provide long days of safe heavy lifting in hazardous areas.”