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Southernhighlander

Distilling Area Classification?

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We have stills in around 300 distilleries.  All of those distilleries except for 1 had the area around the still classified as a Class I Div II hazardous environment or some lesser classification or no classification. 

My electric baine marie stills are good for a Class I Div II hazardous environment.  The powers that be in a particular state just decided that the area around one of my baine marie stills should be class I div I.  My steam stills are good for a class 1 div 1 but not my baine marie stills.   I have stills in several distilleries in that same state that are just like this one and the areas around all of those stills were classified as class I div II

Has anyone else ever had their distilling area or the area around their still classified as a class I div I hazardous environment?  Thanks for any help anyone can give.

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The situation is not as bad as I thought.  The customer emailed me the drawing showing the class 1 div 1 and the class 1 div 2 environments that the civil engineer placed around the still and it turns out that they classified the area around the manway , which they call a fill opening and the area around the parrot as class 1 div 1 and the rest of the area out to 5ft away from the still as class 1 div 2.  Since the agitator is good for class 1 div 1 and the rest of the electrical components are outside the class 1 div 1 area, we are good to go.  I have had them do an 18" or 3' class 1 div 1 area around the parrot before, but I have never had them do it around the manway, but whatever they say is the way it must be.

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Now they say that the civil engineer considers the area 3' around the drain of the still pot to be considered a class 1 div 1.  I guess the fact that you can run the 8% mash out of the drain onto the floor and hit it with a blow torch and it will not burn does not matter to them.  Jeez I hate the stupidity that some of my customers have to deal with from some of these people.  I have no problem making things as safe as possible and we do.  But some of these over educated inspectors and engineers have absolutely no common sense whatsoever.  Don't get me wrong.  99% of them know there stuff but the other 1% of them are stupid.  I guess we better be careful or this idiot will want to put a class 1 div 1 around the fermenters. 

 There are Hoga and other direct fired stills being fired by jet burners all over, but this Civil engineer thinks that my wash down NEMA 4 electrical enclosures must be explosion proof (crazy expensive) as well as all of the conduit because he thinks that the freakin drain valve on the still pot represents a point where hazardous explosive 8% mash might leak out and ignite.   This is going to cost out the ass. !@## and ##$%^! %)  *^&%##@.  

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Wow.  I feel for this customer.  I have not complete my full CofO so I should not count my chickens before they hatch.  My fire official is also prone to spontaneous requirements in the extreme.   It seems the most advantageous lever that I have is that everyone likes the project, likes whiskey, and wants to see the project come to fruition.   I also did quite a bit of political friendly stuff with the city manager and the city council.   I keep telling the building official and the fire marshal that I am completely ready to comply, but I will challenge things I think are too extreme if I think they are also highly costly.  Otherwise I will just do what they say.  I let them know that up front, and I think it helped.  For example, they wanted three new fire hydrants installed on the property and we challenged it down to two.

But I am not there yet.  If they go Class-1 Div-1 on me, I am toast.   

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I lived in Sonoma county, and a bunch of people were having a wine party on the deck of a house in Healdsburg.  The deck collapsed.  So now, only parties that go on after 10 pm can continue IF there are enough bedrooms for the occupants...   Because someone decided to load the damn house up with tones of people on a deck and luck struck, everyone pays. 

Sorta like if your condenser line on your super over compensated electrical division code fails, it may still blow up bc of something as simple as static... what can you do... try and negotiate as much as you can with the engineer by simply asking them what they are concerned will happen that is different than other division 2 stills.  I'd try that first before I spent tones of time to realize later that the engineer types may have over thunk it.

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Southernhighlander:  My interpretation of Class 1 Div 1 is the following:  we are only classified as that group when explosive vapors are present under normally operating conditions.  Class 1 Div 2 is when explosive vapors can be present under abnormal operations.  Is there any chance your customer can review the code with the civil engineer and demonstrate that under normal operation of the still there are no explosive vapors present in the areas he is classifying as Class 1 Div 1?  

 

Adam

 

 

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Class 1 Div 1 isn't really a worry, any distiller making vapor at the levels necessary to support combustion as part of normal operating conditions would likely go out of business very quickly.  I mean... Looking at it from a practical perspective.

 

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18 hours ago, AK2 said:

Southernhighlander:  My interpretation of Class 1 Div 1 is the following:  we are only classified as that group when explosive vapors are present under normally operating conditions.  Class 1 Div 2 is when explosive vapors can be present under abnormal operations.  Is there any chance your customer can review the code with the civil engineer and demonstrate that under normal operation of the still there are no explosive vapors present in the areas he is classifying as Class 1 Div 1?  

 

Adam,

We sent information to the customer to give to the civil engineer explaining that under normal operating conditions hazardous vapors are not present and that vapors are only present under abnormal operating condition.  We explained about the 2 different classifications, class 1 div 1 covering areas where vapor is always present and class 1 div 2 covering areas where vapor is only present during abnormal operation. 

This all started when an electrical inspector called me while he was doing the inspection.  He asked me what the classification was around the still and I said that except for the area around the parrot and the interior of the still, it was class 1 div 2 and I explained the size of that area. He then asked me where I got my info and I said that my employees and I had researched it very thoroughly and that our stills had passed all required inspections at almost 300 distilleries in the US, ( it turned out that including at least 3 in his own state).   He asked me if I or anyone on my staff was a licensed engineer and I said no.  He said that since I and no one on my staff was a degreed licensed engineer we could not make that evaluation.  He said that the electrical heating system on the still was good for class 1 div 2 but he believed that the area around the still should be class 1 div 1 and that only the agitator was good for that. .  He said that my customer would have to pay for an engineer to come out and give his recommendation and if I remember correctly the electrical inspectors decided who the engineer should be.   I am always very nice and as helpful as possible to electrical inspectors.  I'm not really sure why this one did what he did.  I did email the electrical inspector lots of safety info after the above conversation.

Below is a drawing that we started sending to customers fairly recently.  We also sent it to the electrical inspector and the customer gave it to the civil engineer.  We actually have a vent on our parrots that vents the ethanol vapor to the outside of the building,  if the condenser goes down, so I'm not absolutely sure that the class1 div1 should be around it, but better safe than sorry and it does not affect any of our electrical components because they are all in the class 1 div 2 areas.  

 

 

Class 1 Division 1 Drawing-Layout1.pdf

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I converted the drawing to a jpg and it is below.  We are currently working on an updated one that has a lot more info.  I will post it when completed.  

For my liability I must say that if anyone uses this info they do so at their own risk.

 

 

Class 1 Division 1 Drawing-Layout1.jpg

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3 hours ago, Silk City Distillers said:

Class 1 Div 1 isn't really a worry, any distiller making vapor at the levels necessary to support combustion as part of normal operating conditions would likely go out of business very quickly.  I mean... Looking at it from a practical perspective.

 

Your statement is correct but there is the worry of having that classification forced on you, in areas that should be classified as class 1 div 2. 

I'm going to see if I can get my customer to come on and tell his part of the story.

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As it has been said many times on this forum, the AHJ is the boss.  As soon as the inspector told @Southernhighlander that the manway is a fill opening, this code became part of the discussion.

NFPA 30 Table 7.3.3 Drum and container filling – outdoors or indoors – NEC Class 1, Div 1, Zone 1 within 3’ of the vent or fill opening, extending in all directions. NEC Class 1, Div 2, Zone 2 from 3’ to 5’ from the vent or fill opening, extending in all directions; also, up to 18” above floor or grade level within a horizontal radius of 10 ft from the vent or fill opening.  Also, Div 1 for the trench below floor level.

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Thatch,

They did declare the area around the manway as class 1 div 1 but that does not cause me any problems because the agitator motor is for class 1 div 1 and that 3' area does not extend to cover any of the other parts of the electrical system .  I have had other inspectors do the same and that area has never extended to cover any of the heating system components, so I have no issues with that.

The problem is, as I stated in a post above, that the engineer classified the area 3' around the still pot's drain as a class 1 division 1 hazardous environment.  Out of 287 stills in operation that has never happened before and it is incorrect according to the codes.  The 3' area around the drain covers portions of the stills electric heating system which is good for class 1 div2 but not class 1 div 1.  Upgrading the enclosures and conduit to class 1 div 1 will be very expensive.

However you are correct in that these people are the boss and there is nothing to do but meet whatever requirements that they stipulate whether fair or unfair. 

We have several options, the first of which is to simply upgrade the heating system to class 1 div 1 but if that is too expensive I could buy the customers heating system back and  simply change the still over to steam and the customer fires it with a small inexpensive low pressure steam boiler that sits outside of the hazardous areas.  

It is very frustrating and especially for the customer, but we will make it work out one way or another.

 

 

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@SouthernhighlanderDid he quote the code he was applying or is this a done deal?  There's nothing I can find in any code that refers to the drain on the still.

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All joking aside, we were required to go C1D1 in the still area.

Explosion proof motor, wiring, conduit, even the temperature probe housings and steam pressure sensor.

9BE1A2A8-6043-4145-8E48-A279DB431139.jpeg

23AAFE1B-7630-44E4-BCE5-572ECB1C1414.jpeg

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1 minute ago, Thatch said:

@SouthernhighlanderDid he quote the code he was applying or is this a done deal?  There's nothing I can find in any code that refers to the drain on the still.

You are correct concenin the codes and the drain.  We could not find anything either.

  Basically, from what the customer has told me, the engineer beleives that since the interior of the still must be considered div 1 then the area around the drain valve must be div1 as well because it connects to the interior of the pot like the manway.  Of course that defies common sense because there is no way that vapor can come out of the drain under normal operation or even under abnormal operation.

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25 minutes ago, Silk City Distillers said:

All joking aside, we were required to go C1D1 in the still area.

Explosion proof motor, wiring, conduit, even the temperature probe housings.

9BE1A2A8-6043-4145-8E48-A279DB431139.jpeg

That sucks.  Did they make the whole distilling area C1D1?.  If so they went way above and beyond the requirements.  My steam stills are good for class 1 division 1, as are our ethanol pumps, cip pumps and most of those of our competitors are not.  We can build our baine marie stills so that they are good for class 1 div 1 but the customer had just as well buy a low pressure steam boiler from us, in that situation.  Light switch enclosures and EX motors aren't that bad, but when you go to buy large NEMA7 enclosures, wahoo.

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No just the immediate area, as illustrated in your drawing, 5' from all points on the still.  We actually just removed circuits and outlets that were in the area, as opposed to replacing them.  Cheaper to achieve compliance by tearing out circuits.

The control panel is about 15' away from the still, but in a place that's visible from the parrot, that side of the conduit has similar explosion proof sealing fittings prior to entering the fiberglass NEMA housing (for the still controls) and steel housing for the motor controls.

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On the temperature probes, you can argue intrinsically safe, if your control panel is using Intrinsic Safety Barriers for the RTDs, like this:

https://www.pepperl-fuchs.com/usa/en/classid_4.htm

But this requires panel certification, which we were not required to have.

In the end, the XP probe housings were easier.

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9 minutes ago, Silk City Distillers said:

No just the immediate area, as illustrated in your drawing, 5' from all points on the still.  We actually just removed circuits and outlets that were in the area, as opposed to replacing them.  Cheaper to achieve compliance by tearing out circuits.

The control panel is about 15' away from the still, but in a place that's visible from the parrot, that side of the conduit has similar explosion proof sealing fittings prior to entering the fiberglass NEMA housing (for the still controls) and steel housing for the motor controls.

In my drawing the 5' area is c1d2 and that is correct.  What they did to you went above and beyond the code requirements, but of course they can do that, however a few get away with way less than what the codes require. 

 

I had one customer who owned the wells where his city got its water.  He had a huge winery there already and he purchased some large distilling equipment from us including the low pressure steam boiler.  I told him that everything would pass inspection and he said we don't have to worry about that.  There won't be any inspections, and there weren't any.  Here where I am no electrical or plumbing or building inspections are required and there are other places like that.

 

 

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19 minutes ago, Silk City Distillers said:

On the temperature probes, you can argue intrinsically safe, if your control panel is using Intrinsic Safety Barriers for the RTDs, like this:

https://www.pepperl-fuchs.com/usa/en/classid_4.htm

But this requires panel certification, which we were not required to have.

In the end, the XP probe housings were easier.

In the situation were it is not required but adds little cost we go with components with the higher safety factor. By the end of next year we will go beyond just having our panels certified UL 509. 

By the end of next year the models that are baine marie stills now, will have a their own UL device listings.  I know of no other vendors who sell stills with a complete UL device listing and asme rating for the entire still, that are steam fired by their own self contained heating system.   No electrical inspector can fail one of them and our stills fired by low pressure steam are good for c1d1 already.

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Take a look at Sussman electric boilers.  They have a lower cost, lower power consumption line that goes up to 600 BTUH that uses 200 amps.  This should handle heating about 600 gallons of still operation concurrently.  Depending on the length of your steam header, the cost of this over the electric Baine Marie heating system might be close to a wash, but will likely be another 25%-50% higher cost.  However, it might be what you need to prevent the C1D1 hit around the still drain.  

What is killing me for my gas-fired steam boiler is the cost of installation that is largely related to the 60’ 4” steam header where the joints have to be welded.  The C4 certified pipe fitters in my area are billing at $150 per hour.  I have a ProPress tool for my copper plumbing that goes up to 1.75” fittings for iron pipe and 2.5” for copper.  The MegaPress tool will handle up to 4” for iron pipe fittings but is another $10k investment and it is backordered.  And my building official and engineer don’t have enough experience with it to accept it (worried the pressed fittings would fail).   Hopefully this type of technology gains traction over time and allows distillery owners to do more of their own steam system plumbing, or at least saves some labor cost.  

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How many lb/hr is pushing you to 4”?  That's like 2mmbtu territory.  We run a teeny 16hp with a 4" header and 2" steam lines to the still and mash tun.  The 2" and 4" is sweat copper by the way.  Why not just rent a threading machine and use black pipe?  Welding seems silly.

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