Anti-explosion products and solutions can be applied not only in coal mines but also in petroleum, chemical, iron steel and electric power facilities. Due to the advanced technology involved, anti-explosion products and solutions have high profit points. Major Chinese anti-explosion players include LeadEx, Shenghe, Sutek, Yuhua and Zuoan. Most are located in Changzhou, Jiangsu.
Many Chinese certificates, such as China Compulsory Certification (3C), are not accepted overseas. According to Yang Yuyun, Vice General Manager at Sutek, "High-level safety requirements are universal. GB3836 is the same as EX and is accepted in 56 countries. When countries make an issue over anti-explosion certification, it really is nothing more than a form of protectionism." Three Chinese anti-explosion certification levels are IIA, IIB and IIC (these refer to the blasting points of inflammable gases). The blasting point of IIA for coal mines, for example, is 200 microjoules, IIB at 60 microjoules and IIC at 19 microjoules.
Sutek's core advantage lies in its close cooperation with the China Academy of Safe Science and Technology (CASST). Differing from other academic institutes, CASST is highly industry-oriented and runs several Chinese government projects. In addition, CASST may ask clients for feedback. After receiving an order from the academy, Sutek offers a plan and manufacturing schedule.
Yuhua, which produces explosion-proof CCTVs and industrial telephones, has more than 100 certified models. The company also has five product categories with ATEX certification (in Europe), namely explosionp roof PTZ cameras, housings, monitors, and control and junction boxes.
According to Rocky Yao, Sales Manager at Yuhua, the trend is toward intelligence and integration of IP, infrared, and thermal and laser imaging. "Wireless operation is another," said Yang. "This involves coded orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (COFDM) technology to ensure that data is transferred without interruption even if elevator doors are closed."
According to Yang, CASST chose Sutek because of its acquaintance with related standards and R&D capabilities; CASST conducts testing on samples. Sutek also has material, acid mist, high and low temperature, sensor calibration and wireless spectrometer testing devices. All production procedures are based on blueprints with materials and designs meeting any required specifications.
Materials, for example, cannot contain titanium or aluminum, and circle number of screws is regulated. Thirty products (each model) undergo explosion testing in 12 kinds of mixed gases. Until certified, Sutek cannot go to mass production.
Automation devices play a key role in enhancing production efficiency and ensuring product quality. Shenghe just moved to a new manufacturing base with new automation equipment, such as computer number control (CNC). This has enabled Shenghe to provide greater precision with efficiency levels that are two to three times faster. Previously, for example, it took three months to provide 100 anti-explosion housings; now, this requires only a month.
Yuhua's insistence on high standards is the key to real anti-explosion, and this goes for initial processing, PCB jointing, assembly, packing and testing. Mechanical testing devices also are used to evaluate high and low temperature, acid mist, freezing, impact and vibration. Unlike many manufacturers, which provide aluminum or iron housings, Yuhua has opted for stainless steel because of its better performance in terms of corrosion, pollution, magnetism and force.
This year, Shenghe recruited more personnel for its overseas business unit, designed a bilingual catalog and received ATEX anti-explosive certification. At this year's CPSE in Beijing, the company booked a booth in the international area to reflect its ambition. The overseas business now accounts for 10 percent of revenue. In particular, it is targeting emerging markets, such as the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
Yuhua is also looking to Europe, the Middle East, South Africa, Southeast Asia and the U.S. Total sales in 2007 hit US$160,000; this may double in 2008. "Overseas customers," said Yao, "scrutinize washing systems, linkage alarms, lightning proof ability and motion detection. Our customers appreciate our customized services, and we are planning to expand product compatibility with Pelco D/P."
As Shenghe's old series of anti-explosion housings did not combine all parts (PTZ and housings), the products did not run as smoothly. Furthermore, the PTZ deteriorated with operation. The company, therefore, decided to launch a brand-new series incorporating advanced technology and intelligence.
Housings will be more compact and light-weight. The old housing weighed more than 70 kilograms — the PTZ was 27 kilograms, the decoding device was 21 kilograms and the housing was 24 kilograms. The new integrated unit, however, weighs only half as much.
SHF2006, Shenghe's best-selling product, features an integrated high-speed camera, which is designed for use in explosive applications such as gas group IIC (typical gas vapors like hydrogen and acetylene) as well as flammable dust. Advantages are outside wash and water tanks, an integrated design, compact structure, and easy installation and maintenance.
One of Sutek's primary products — risk management terminals — features audio, video, data monitoring and analytics. It analyzes, for example, the lighting of a cigarette and automatically sends an alarm to stop the person. The alarm goes of in only 0.1 second after detection of leaking toxic substances. Besides on anti-explosion projects, the system can be used in emergency command systems.
Yuhua's YHW130 explosion-proof pan tilt camera integrates the housing, pan tilt, telemetry receiver, camera and IR in an explosion-proof device for use in dust and air atmospheres. It passed ATEX and CQST, is made of stainless steel 304 or 316, has a small design and features easy installation and convenient maintenance. It also delivers 360-degree continuous pan, +90 degrees to -90 degrees tilt, speed from one second to 25 seconds and multiprotocol for multicontrol systems. Users can choose stand and pole installation type.