Wander AG protects plant with VENTEX® valves from RICO
Wander AG, founded in 1865 and headquartered in Neuenegg, Switzerland, has been operating successfully in the food sector for over 150 years. The 250-strong company, which belongs to Associated British Food (ABF), is one of Europe’s leading food manufacturers and exports its goods to over 50 countries worldwide. Besides tea and breakfast drinks, these include breakfast cereals, spreads, desserts and special foods for athletes. The brands Ovomaltine®, Caotina® and Isostar® in particular have enjoyed great popularity and high sales figures on the market for years. In order to be able to do justice to this in the future as well, the company relies on advanced solutions in production and regularly invests in modern technologies.
Quality plays a decisive role in every area of the company
This is also the case at the production facility in Neuenegg, where, among other things, different varieties of the Caotina® drinking chocolate and various flavours of the Isostar® sports drink are produced. Since the sugar mill used for this purpose was not state-of-the-art, the Wander AG team decided to replace it and modernise the agglomeration plant. In the course of the project, special attention was paid to the safety of the employees and the environment, in addition to the implementation of optimal production conditions. “High quality plays a very important role for us. When selecting suppliers, we always take a close look to ensure that our raw materials fully meet our requirements. However, this requirement does not only apply to the products, but to all areas of the company. When it comes to the technology we use, it goes without saying that we only purchase reliable, high-quality solutions,” explains Kurt Pfäffli, Head of Health, Safety and Environment at Wander AG.
Apart from a pressure-shock-resistant design of the plant, the new mill was to be explosion isolated. “The manufacture of our products often involves processes in which granulated sugar is ground into icing sugar. This production step has an increased explosion potential,” continues Kurt Pfäffli. During the grinding process, dust explosions can occur due to the interaction of icing sugar, oxygen and possible sparking. Therefore, suitable measures are needed to protect both the employees and the production plant. In order to guarantee the highest possible safety level, the responsible plant constructor supplied a plant designed to be pressure-shock resistant up to 10 bar, into which two explosion isolation valves were integrated. The latter were positioned in the mill’s supply air and filter exhaust air lines in combination with a rotary valve – as this is where the product is fed in and discharged. If a dust explosion occurs inside the plant, the valves are firmly closed at pressures of 8-10 bar.
New sugar mill optimally protected
“Our plant builder opted for explosion isolation with the help of the renowned VENTEX® valves from Rico Sicherheitstechnik” explains Kurt Pfäffli and adds: “Thanks to this passive solution, our production is now excellently protected against the consequences of an explosion”. Since emerging explosions spread within fractions of a second, the immediate closure of affected ducts has top priority. The VENTEX® valve does justice to this. This is because the functional principle enables a direct reaction to potential explosions: The pressure wave presses the closing body against the closing body seal, whereupon the valve locks and reliably prevents the spread of flames or pressure waves into adjacent system parts. No external energy is required for the control system with this measure. Moreover, the isolating solution has a low response pressure and causes only a slight pressure drop. Further advantages of the equally uncomplicated and effective solution are the short installation distance and the guarantee of only minimal operational interruptions in the event of an explosion. Due to the immediate closure of the valve and thus the pipeline, sensitive production goods – such as foodstuffs – are also effectively protected against contamination. The ESI-E valves used by Wander AG are single-acting and equipped with appropriate silicone seals in accordance with the specifications of the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). This is because – especially in the food sector – the hygiene specifications must be taken into account for all components. This ensures optimum product quality, not least for the benefit of the end customer.
Convincing in terms of maintenance
Apart from the high level of safety, the valves also offer advantages in terms of maintenance. In general, mechanical solutions require less maintenance than, for example, electronic decoupling techniques. But despite their low susceptibility, it is essential to comply with the manufacturer’s recommended checks. In order to continuously maintain the existing safety level, Wander therefore regularly makes use of services provided by RICO Sicherheitstechnik AG. The maintenance interval for the VENTEX® valves is once a year and is carried out by the manufacturer itself. Besides this, a more extensive inspection is carried out every five years, during which components are replaced as scheduled. The company is very satisfied with the maintenance work – and great importance is attached to good service here! “You can see that there is a lot of expertise in explosion protection behind this. An important criterion for us was that the company carrying out the work is flexible and that inspections can be carried out at short notice. Our experience with RICO in this respect has been very good. Both the team and the product convinced us,” Kurt Pfäffli sums up the project process. The employees of Wander AG were also trained by RICO so that regular visual inspections of the valves can be carried out independently. In this way, optimal functionality is always guaranteed for the benefit of reliable explosion protection.
RICO Sicherheitstechnik AG, based in Herisau, Switzerland, has been developing and selling various components for explosion isolation since 1988. With the help of high-quality products such as explosion isolation valves (VENTEX®) and explosion isolation slide valves (RSV and REDEX® Slide), the company secures plants and protects industrial facilities from the spread of explosions. The solutions are mainly used in the pharmaceutical industry, chemical/petrochemical industry, research laboratories, silos, mills, dryers and separators as well as extraction systems. Furthermore, the specialists’ portfolio also includes butterfly valves that can shut off ventilation ducts 100% gas-tight and offer the rare advantage of being able to easily check the tightness when installed. Possible areas of application include the pharmaceutical industry (e.g. insulators), nuclear power plants, military/civil defence, chemicals/petrochemicals, research laboratories and hospitals. Safety always comes first. Reliability, experience, innovation and flexibility are characteristics that distinguish RICO Sicherheitstechnik AG just as much as the consideration of individual wishes or the development of special designs. A team of experts also advises and supports customers in the selection of suitable components. RICO Sicherheitstechnik AG is certified according to ISO 9001:2015 and ATEX Directive 94/9/EC or 2014/34/EU. In the field of explosion protection, an ATEX type test is carried out for each component under a wide range of conditions. The company also carries out various quality tests – some of which are customer-specific – for the gas-tight butterfly valves. These are based on the requirements of the respective application. As a matter of principle, every single product at RICO Sicherheitstechnik AG undergoes final testing. This principle has guaranteed the highest quality for maximum safety requirements for 30 years now.