A luxury car manufacturer planned to update, then expand hydrogen storage tanks and pumps to modernize its material handling. The company upgraded its fleet of forklifts from high maintenance, inefficient lead-acid batteries to more sustainable hydrogen fuel cells, and needed cryogenic automation solutions to match. Storage and the refueling process had to ensure safety around potentially volatile hydrogen gas, and be absolutely reliable – any delays in fueling the forklifts would halt production.
Premier Automation supplied a custom control panel for two 60 HP pumps in the expanded system, with programming, installation, and startup.
The custom control panel offers remote access, providing instant status updates while also logging data for OEE (Operational Equipment Efficiency) and other data analysis metrics. The design includes redundant drives that will continue operating even with one pump locked out for updates or maintenance.
The panel monitors temperature and pressure, and equalizes the dual bulk tank pressures automatically. High pressures trigger the panel to initiate vapor recovery mode, avoiding the potential hazard of venting hydrogen gas. Further safety features include a separation panel inside the enclosure, allowing access to the PLC while sharply reducing the risk of arc flash.
Premier Automation’s custom control panel and pumps delivered safe, reliable, and cost-effective automation solutions for the customer’s needs. The automated panel drastically reduces maintenance and opens up the fueling process to OEE and data analysis.
The cryogenic fueling system allows forklift operators to refuel in three minutes in comparison to the 20 minutes it cost to charge the old lead-acid batteries. Now the luxury car manufacturer can fuel over a dozen vehicles at once.
In addition to reducing time and labor, the panel’s automated monitoring and vapor recovery capability saves the company on lost product from vented gas and adds another layer of safety. The compartmentalized panel design also satisfies strict safety standards.
Premier Automation’s automation solution fuels the fleet smoothly, with lower environmental impact, upgraded manufacturing efficiency, and a reduction of energy costs.
- Upgraded hydrogen fuel cells needed modernized fueling system to match
- Fueling system needed to be low maintenance and absolutely reliable to avoid interrupting production
- Hydrogen liquid and gas required careful safety measures to eliminate risk
- 2 60 HP pumps
- 2 VFDs (redundant pump system)
- Custom control panel
- Custom control panel building – including unique compartmentalization for safety
- Programming, installation, and startup
- The customer relied on Premier Automation’s engineering experience to build redundancy, safety, and reliability into the solution
- Drastically reduced maintenance and labor
- Built-in data logging and status updates for OEE or other manufacturing efficiency metrics
- Increased reliability with redundant pump system
- Layers of safety in vapor recovery design and separation panel inside enclosure