New market possibilities with ATEX Certification of Fuller-Kinyon® Pump

After almost four years of analysis, review, testing and adjustments for total compliance, the FLSmidth® Fuller-Kinyon® Pump recently achieved ATEX Zone 20 certification – a high and respected industry standard in many parts of the world.

“This is a huge achievement that allows our premiere pneumatic conveying systems to be brought to more regions and customers,” said Fred Wuertele, general manager for FLSmidth’s Pneumatic Transport team. “We can now explore opportunities for the pump to be used in fuel-handling applications such as pulverized coal and petroleum coke.”

Originally patented in mid-1925 by Alonzo G. Kinyon, the Fuller-Kinyon (FK) pump’s heavy-duty construction and ability to handle high capacities over long distances have proven the pump’s worth time and again. Since its inception, the FK pump has conveyed dozens of abrasive and hard-to-handle materials in more than 19,000 installations in the cement production, minerals processing and other bulk material handling industries.

Alonzo’s patent was granted as a method “by which pulverized fuel or other material may be conveyed cheaply and efficiently without the production of dust and in quantities which can be closely regulated in the same manner that the flow of ordinary liquids is controlled.” The original intent was to replace mechanical and dilute phase pneumatic conveying systems that allow dust to escape, producing explosive atmospheres.

“Many FK pumps are still in operation after more than 60 years of service. Through continuous innovation, we have kept it as one of the easiest to operate, most-preferred convey line charging devices, and kept it ahead of any copycat products on the market,” Wuertele said.

Now built to a higher standard

The recent developments of this well-proven FK product line and subsequent certification make this simple, yet innovative technology now strategically available in the European Union (EU). Fuller-Kinyon “M” Pumps are built to a higher standard and because they meet the stringent ATEX Directive Zone 20 certification requirements, are ready for the most difficult pneumatic conveying applications, including the handling of pulverized coal and other combustible fuel products.

ATEX stands for “Atmosphere Explosive” – a European directive for equipment used in, and containing, potentially explosive atmospheres. This is a step above the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) standards adhered to in the United States, with which the FK pump’s previous design was in accordance. Going forward, all fuel-handling pumps will be built to the more stringent EU ATEX Directive.

ATEX certification process

“If they haven’t gone through certification, many people may wonder what it is all about and why it might be worth it,” Wuertele said. “The ATEX certification process for us lasted about four years to complete. A thorough analysis of the FK Pump design, supplier sourcing and manufacturing practices was conducted and all were upgraded to comply with the ATEX standard.”

Like ISO9000/1 standards, FLSmidth will be required to continue conducting internal audits and be subject to annual audits to maintain this certification.

Some of the more stringent requirements to achieve the ATEX certification for the FK pump include:

  • Strength – The pump must be able to withstand much higher internal pressures to contain an explosion
  • Surface temperature – The maximum surface temperature of the pump must not exceed 135°C for full-load operation
  • Sourcing of the materials – Suppliers must be continually monitored and all critical casing castings must be certified
  • Manufacturing practice – The FLSmidth Manheim, USA facility must have strict procedures for tracking the materials, provide additional training for the manufacturing team, and keep records on materials, personnel training, inspections, etc.
  • Engineering – All details of the ATEX Pump application and project execution must be maintained for 10 years after the final production of the pumps

In December 2013, rigorous testing for certification was completed on a 300 mm Type-M FK pump at FLSmidth’s material testing facility located near the Bethlehem, USA office. The tests were witnessed by independent firm Sira Test & Certification, which is appointed by the UK government and accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) for international standards. The testing was conducted under loaded conditions to determine the maximum surface temperatures of the pump (Figure 1).

 Figure 1

Figure 1

The material temperature, conveying line pressure, ambient temperature, and the temperatures of the casing and bearing housings were monitored continually during the test (Figure 2).

 Figure 2

Figure 2

The test was completed successfully and the final documentation requirements were completed, allowing FLSmidth to receive final ATEX certification in September 2014.

While many were involved in the certification process, special thanks go to Dennis Balmer, Les Bartholomew, Jim Comerci, Al Conley, Lou DiBuo, Frank Olejack, Joe Vasquez, Lou Schwartz and Gil Welliver for their hard work in achieving the ATEX certification.

Wuertele commented, “This is a very important achievement for Pneumatic Transport. Where before, our pump was designed to NFPA standards, it meant it was only acceptable for use in the Americas and much of Africa. With the team’s hard work and efforts, redesigning the FK Pump to comply with ATEX standards will now open up new markets in regions of the world we couldn’t supply to before.”

In fact, with the newly awarded ATEX certification, customers around the globe can now utilize the additional benefits of this premiere pneumatic conveying system for many fuel handling applications, such as pulverized coal and petroleum coke.

CONTACT: Fred Wuertele

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