Kommerling UK has improved safety and productivity at its Lancashire (UK) site with a new fleet of explosion protected forklifts. A switch from a “Zone 1” reach truck to “Zone 2” has also helped to greatly reduce costs.

“We are storing a variety of flammable, solvent based materials in IBC containers, plus 200 litre and 25 litre drums, to be used in our manufacturing process,” says Mick Ollerton, Warehouse Manager at the Kommerling site in Preston. The company’s main activity at the site is the manufacture of the CILBOND range of high-performance primers and bonding agents for automotive applications.

To ensure maximum safety, the company has recently introduced four new explosion protected reach trucks to the raw materials warehouse which is formally classified as a Zone 2 hazardous area. Undergoing a complete explosion protection conversion by Pyroban®, the UniCarriers TERGO® reach trucks now feature system6000™ to ensure they cannot be the source of ignition if a flammable vapour is accidentally present.

Pyroban’s system6000 detects the wide range of potential hazards using pellistor based gas/vapour sensing technology. The system warns the operator and safely shuts the reach trucks down when any vapour starts to approach dangerous levels. In addition, the reach trucks are used in the finished goods store where there is also a mixture of different flashpoints, temperature classes and material characteristics.

Most of the truck components have been re-housed by Pyroban into restricted breathing enclosures and the forks are clad in stainless steel. To ensure the motors, brakes, electrics and other components remain below the auto-ignition temperature of the flammable solvents there is surface temperature cooling to T4 (135°C). The trucks are also fitted with a fleet management system also protected by Pyroban.

The new reach trucks replace an older fleet which featured an earlier Pyroban system. Mick Ollerton, who has been at the site for over 25 years, explains “We were happy with the previous system5000 approach from Pyroban, as it shuts down the truck if a gas or vapour is detected leaving it in a totally safe condition.” The site previously also had one reach truck with a higher level of protection for Zone 1.

“Through risk assessments and a small change to our process, we were able to replace the Zone 1 truck with a new Zone 2 truck,” says Mick. “By doing this, we have reduced the overall cost of ownership of the fleet and also improved safety by being able to alert operators to a problem.”

“Safety is the top priority for Kommerling, but it was also important to identify the right trucks for this particular application,” explains Alex Grice, Sales Executive for UniCarriers UK Ltd. “Working with Pyroban, we have been able to deliver a cost-effective reach truck which not only works and manoeuvres well in the narrow warehouse aisles, but is also safe and compliant with relevant legislation.”

Certified with gas groups IIA and IIB, the new explosion protected reach trucks have full CE approval in accordance with the ATEX 2014/34/EU Directive and EN 1755:2000+A2:2013 standard. There is also written consent from UniCarriers in line with ISO 3691-1:2011.

Pyroban will carry out Ex-ASA inspections annually on the new reach trucks under the user requirements of EN60079/17, to make sure that the integrity and safety is maintained throughout the life of the fleet. Service engineers have also been specially trained to ensure that systems are regularly serviced and maintained in accordance with the handbook to prevent safety being compromised.

Kommerling has also enhanced safety in “safe areas” adjacent to the Zone 2 hazardous areas by using Pyroban’s Gascheka™. The gas detection and shutdown control solution has been fitted to a UniCarriers electric counterbalance forklift used for marshalling duties, mainly outdoors.