Ammonia Gas Detection in Food & Beverage Facilities

Alarm and Warning Devices to Notify Personnel Regarding Dangerous Gas Leaks

Ammonia leaks are pretty uncommon, but when one does occur – the results could be lethal.  Ammonia gas is very toxic and flammable.  Typically ammonia can be detected by smell (a strong and pungent odor), but it is a colorless gas.

The human nose can detect an ammonia leak with exposure between 5-20 ppm. With exposure 25 – 1,000 ppm, employees with have teary eyes, difficulty breathing, and the instinct to flee the area. The time exposed and the amount of ammonia the employee(s) are exposed to, determines various effects on the human body – ranging from a slight smell to teary eyes and unable to breathe, possibly death.

There are both, caustic and hazardous versions of the chemical.  In most large scale food and beverage facilities one would find the caustic version of the chemical used to aid in refrigeration.  The chemical can also be mixed with water (ammonia hydroxide) to create a multipurpose cleaning agent. 

Majority of these leaks occur in the mechanical room containing the refrigeration compressors of the facility.  Most ammonia used within a plant is used for refrigeration.  Why do so many food and beverage manufacturers use ammonia refrigeration in their facilities when it is potentially dangerous?  Ammonia refrigeration is one of the most energy efficient and cost effective ways of storing and processing food and beverage product.

Food and beverage ammonia refrigeration applications include:

  • Cooling of beverages, beer, wine
  • Freezing of process foods
  • Freezing of ice cream
  • Cooling of dairy products
  • Freezing and refrigeration of meats

Unlike fire evacuations and being told to exit to the closest door… with ammonia leaks, employees are asked to wait for specific instructions in where to exit. Sometimes the closest exit may not always be in the right direction, away from the gas leak.  Ammonia evacuation signals must be different from fire alarms to avoid confusions.  All employees must be trained on the difference in the alarms.

Pfannenberg has had experience in protecting personnel from gas and vapor leaks.  Our robust and multi-toned flashing sounders, offer 80 different tones – perfect for alerting and protecting personnel. Due to the large signaling coverage provided by each alarm, the amount of signaling devices required is significantly reduced. This supports an application that is economical while ensuring industrial safety.

Generally speaking, a blue light/strobe is a warning color used for toxic gas leaks, and red is used as a warning color for combustible gas leaks – but users can use any color unless directed by a local code or law. Blue tends to be the favorable color used in Ammonia gas leak alarms.

Common refrigeration alarms alert people about high concentrations in a room where they should not go.  Our signaling will extend this warning to other operating employees in the facility who can be immediately alerted to a problem so corrective action can be immediately undertaken.

Pfannenberg industrial alarms with visual and audible notifications come with a standard 10-Year Warranty, guaranteed in protecting man, machine, and the environment.

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Topics: Industrial Safety & Signaling SolutionsFood & Beverage

Indication, Warning & Alarm Solutions for Food & Beverage Applications

Robust, field-proven, visual and audible devices for alarm, warning, and indication

Signaling confusion throughout many manufacturing facilities is a big problem. At the plant level, many OEM machines have the proper alarms, but they only emit a couple of tones and optional visual alerts, making it difficult to determine which machine had an event or why the alarm was triggered.

Pfannenberg’s visual and acoustic signaling devices can easily be installed on existing systems. Satisfying numerous alarm, warning, and indication requirements, including: machinery operating status, process monitoring, system startup, and building or area evacuation due to fire, toxic gas leak, spills, or intruder alert. With robust construction, up to 80 tones and the ability to withstand severe environments these devices are ideal for the state and federal safety requirements that companies need to obey.

Pfannenberg’s Signaling Technology: Protecting Man, Machine, and the Environment.

Typical Applications:

  • Machinery Startup Indicator
  • Heavy Equipment Movement Alarm
  • Machinery Malfunction Alarm
  • Process Upset
  • Evacuation Sounder
  • Gas Leak
  • Industrial Fire Alarms

Warn operators and employees anywhere of danger, accidents or technical faults – increase facility safety and reduce risks.  Process interruption indication lights alert personnel of machine/line status, minimizing costly downtime. Combination of audible/visual signals provide warning on noisy or busy production lines.

Pfannenberg industrial alarms with visual and audible notifications come with a standard 10-Year Warranty, guaranteed to protect man, machine and the environment.

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Topics: North AmericaIndustrial Safety & Signaling SolutionsFood & Beverage

PATROL horn with strobe

Pfannenberg’s PATROL & PYRA Industrial Alarms – Effective, Customizable & Easy to Install Signaling Solutions

Pfannenberg’s PATROL Sounders and PYRA Flashing Strobe Lights: Technically Advanced Signaling Devices for Safety Alarm Requirements

Pfannenberg’s industrial visual and audible signaling devices are the best solution for many applications worldwide. Due to the large signaling coverage provided by each alarm, the amount of signaling devices required is significantly reduced. This supports an application that is economicalwhile ensuring industrial safety.

Pfannenberg’s PATROL and PYRA visual/audible alarms offer extensive certifications including UL, GL and CE in support of worldwide requirements. They also include a standard 10-Year Warranty, guaranteed to protect man, machine and the environment:

PATROL Sounders – versatile audible alarms:

  • Superior sound penetration and coverage
  • Operates in harsh environments
  • Fast, easy and safe to install
  • Can be surface-mounted or flush-mounted.

PATROL Flashing Sounders – combined audible and visual alarms:

  • Enhance safety with alarms that are seen and heard.
  • Utilize flashing strobes with higher energy/visibility.
  • 80 pre-programmed tones, up to 4 different events
  • Separate control of horns and strobes
  • Superior sound penetration and coverage
  • Operates in harsh environments
  • Fast, easy and safe to install

PYRA Flashing Strobe Beacons – the versatile visual alarm:

  • Visible field of 180° x 360°.
  • Surface or flush/panel installation.
  • Mounts on top of metal conduit with standard 1/2 NPT compression fitting.
  • Operates in harsh environments
  • Fast, easy and safe to install

Pfannenberg’s design excellence for its Signaling Solutions is internationally recognized and has been awarded the prestigious Red Dot Award in 2013 for PATROL and in 2015 for PYRA-MA.

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Topics: Industrial Safety & Signaling Solutions

Pfannenberg’s Signaling Devices compliant with the Seveso III Directive

Enhance Industrial Safety: with the SIL/PL-compliant Signaling Technology from Pfannenberg, plant operators can guarantee standard alerting in accordance with the Seveso III Directive.

The EU Directive, Seveso III, is based on the catastrophic accident which occurred in the Italian town of Seveso in 1976 which prompted industrial companies that use dangerous chemicals to prevent and control such incidents. This can be achieved by installing appropriate industrial alerting and alarm systems.The amended Seveso III Directive has been enhanced and now stipulates that the authorities must do systematic assessments of all known plants with hazardous incidents as well as random inspections. Therefore, plant operators should, without fail, take the new legal situation into consideration when planning new plants – and check their existing plants for conformity to standards.

More industries concerned by the Directive
The Chemical Industry is no longer the only one affected by the Seveso III Directive legal requirements. Indeed, depending on the amount, type and risk category of the substances which are processed, the revised specifications can now be applied to metal processing and logistics companies or storage facilities for technical gases. A classification system (attachment 1 of Seveso Directive III) can be used to know how the new regulations apply to a company.

More safety with Pfannenberg’s sounders and flashing lights
An important requirement of the Seveso III Directive is to prevent failures and to limit the possible effects of incidents; for example, installing appropriate industrial signaling.

Pfannenberg’s SIL/PL Signaling Devices are therefore compliant to the EU specifications. Pfannenberg’s sounders and flashing lights are equipped with the safety-related parameters and can be integrated to your plant’s safety plan. Our DS Sounders or our Quadro Flashing alarms and PMF Series are, for example, particularly suitable for the compliant implementation of the revised Seveso III Directive.

“The deployment of our SIL/PL compliant Signaling Devices in industrial plants and companies reflects the consistent safety mentality of the planners and operating companies. Our products stand for more safety and reliability in the plants”, says Carsten Hippler, Product Sales Manager Signaling at Pfannenberg.

Topics: Industrial Safety & Signaling Solutions

Pfannenberg Signaling Solutions comply to the European standard EN54-3

Providing effective fire alarms has gained prominence in recent years. A major reason of this concern is the increase of ambient noise also called “acoustic smog”. The use of headsets, hearing protection and the consideration of deafness made the requirement of visual and acoustic alerts essential to save lives when a dangerous situation occurs.

European standard EN54-3

In order to meet these needs, The European Standard EN54-23 is effective since January 2014 and now sets requirements, testing procedures and performance features for audible alarms. The general requirements and specifications are made regarding the range of the audible alarm thus giving a certified area. Every certified tone has to be measured independently due to varying sound pressure levels.

In particular, the horizontal and vertical angle radiation characteristics of the signaling devices must be checked and defined for each individual tone allowing the total volume of area to be correctly alerted. This is an essential part of the approval which must be considered during the planning phase, as the number and location of devices is critical to meet approval.

Planning of audible signaling devices

Planning an audible alarm must be a complete process and further technical characteristics must now be considered:

  • The sound-pressure level [SPL] and the loudness (dB) of an audible alarm device is not identical for every tone. For planning requirements the SPL of the tone to be used on site always has to be taken as the basis for the plan. Never the loudest one available from the device.
  • The audible alarm device achieves varying dB depending on the radiation angle from the device. The maximum dB is at a 90° angle (head on) in most cases. The level is significantly reduced at the sides (0° / 180°) (see fig. 1: Polar diagram)

Specifically in the planning phase the respective signaling range of industrial sounders must be determined. This results from the existing ambient sound level, or background noise, at the project site in connection with the radiation characteristics. The technology used to create the sound also has to be checked and taken into account.

Pfannenberg visual and audible signaling devices

Pfannenberg PYRA and PATROL series of  industrial flashing sounders are the perfect option to comply with the highest European standards. Our experts assist our European customers to plan and design their signaling ranges with viable certified data and take into account their specific project conditions to determine and install the exact number of audible alarm devices required.

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Topics: Industrial Safety & Signaling Solutions

Pfannenberg’s enclosure cooling units installed in the Gotthard Tunnel

Under construction for 15 years, the 35 mile long Gotthard tunnel located in Switzerland is due to open in 2016.

The Gotthard Base Tunnel impresses with many outstanding features:

  • It is the longest railway tunnel in the world at 57 km and its tunnel run, with all the transverse and connection tunnels, stretches over 154 km.
  • From 2016, passenger trains should have a top speed of 250 km/h, reducing the travelling time e.g. between Milan and Zurich to under 3 hours and should almost double the haulage capacity on the Swiss North-South Axis to 40 m tons of goods.

Operating a tunnel poses a huge challenge for engineers and operators. All products and solutions have to meet the highest requirements and have to work perfectly even under harsh ambient conditions. In particular, this applies to electrical enclosures and their thermal management, which are subject to extreme alternating pressure loads, temperature differences and are also exposed to dust and moisture.

In close collaboration, Swibox and Pfannenberg have developed a special climate control concept for tunnel applications. Robust Swibox electrical enclosures with a pressure body which was developed especially to protect the cooling circuit and the side mounted cooling units with integrated controller and heater from Pfannenberg guarantee a high system uptime which are situated, in the 176 cross passages amongst other places.

These electrical enclosure cooling units ensure that the thermal pressure of the electronic components integrated inside the electrical enclosures does not become too high and that they work safely and reliably throughout their whole service lives.


Electrical enclosures withstand every alternating pressure

The largest technical challenges were the high requirements to the system of protection of the electrical enclosure, IP65, and also the high alternating pressure load which is caused by the trains passing through. When entering the tunnel, the train pushes the air ahead of it, causing overpressure until the train passes by the cross passage where the electrical enclosures are standing. As soon as the train has passed, the overpressure transforms suddenly to a corresponding under-pressure.

All the electrical enclosures and the installed cooling units are exposed to the load of this alternating pressure of up to +/- 5 kPa. It had to be ensured that all devices can withstand this alternating pressure mechanically, simultaneously implementing the high system of protection.

It was possible to meet these requirements, thanks to the mechanical unit custom construction developed especially in cooperation with the company Swibox. This construction ensures a leak-proof separation of the surrounding (outer wall of the unit) and the inside of the electrical enclosure (unit inside), also under pressure load. A special feature here is the developed pressure body inside which the components of the inner cooling circuit are housed. Therefore, it was not enough to use reinforced sheet metal: the selection of a suitable material and the increased material thickness in combination with specially installed stiffening plates led to the desired compressive strength.

Climate control concept of electrical enclosures does not only mean cooling

Another challenge in tunnels is the ambient air. Large temperature differences ranging from -20 °C to +40 °C, maximum humidity of 100%, and ferrous abrasion of brakes, rails and contact lines in the ambient air increase the risk of corrosion and show how different a tunnel application is compared to standard applications.

Therefore, a special enclosure climate control concept had to be established for specifically this application. In addition to the cooling units, which are predominantly used inside the mountains (ambient temperatures up to +40 °C), Pfannenberg heaters also had to be installed in the portal sector (ambient temperatures to -20 °C). These heaters ensure that the temperature inside electrical enclosures does not fall below the so-called dew-point (the temperature that moist air has to drop to – by unchanged pressure – so that the amount of water dissolved in the air is precipitated as condensate). At the dew-point, the relative humidity is 100%; that means that the air is saturated with water vapour.

Pfannenberg’s new generation of controllers, designed especially for this project, were also installed. This is especially important to prevent unplanned failures and downtime and, by planning maintenance works in advance, to guarantee a high level of system uptime. The controllers are not only used directly inside the cooling units. The climate controller was also integrated into 500 other electrical enclosures without a cooling unit. This makes a temperature monitoring system possible, which, like the climate control units, can communicate with the tunnel control system and, if necessary, can be replaced with such, without having to reinstall the data transfer.

In 2010 the first cooling units were delivered to the company Swibox. In the meantime, all units have been delivered and will be installed one by one, together with the electrical enclosures, in the 176 cross passages of the Gotthard Base Tunnel. They have already been able to prove their reliability every day, as the various test phases started a while ago and will continue until the start of the scheduled railway operation on 2016.

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Pfannenberg PATROL Flashing Sounder Used for Boat Warning Alarms

Safety is essential. Warning alarms save lives and prevent injury, this is why Pfannenberg Signaling Solutions are used throughout many different industries for numerous applications.


The marine industry is no exception as visual and audible signaling devices are required for boat warnings. The State of Alaska Department of Fish and Game contacted Pfannenberg to install a flashing sounder to replace the warning alarm on one of their boats.

Different options were discussed like a GL-rated version with the ability to use one or different tones to signify different events: bilge pump failure, fire, engine failure, etc. The customer finally decided to use our PATROL PA X 20-15 with a single tone. The advantages of this product are great:

  • 120 dB sounder
  • Up to 80 tones, 4 tone stages
  • High strength plastic housing adapted to marine environment (protection from splashing water)
  • Choice of 10 or 15 Joules strobe light
  • Choice of colors
  • New 10-year warranty!

Once installed the customer commented “Everything is working great with both strobe lights and audible alarm. Great product!”

The high quality of Pfannenberg’s Signaling products is internationnaly recognized and has once again been rewarded by winning the prestigious Red Dot Award.

Click here to discover our range of Patrol Series Signaling Technologies!

Topics: North AmericaIndustrial Safety & Signaling Solutions

Pfannenberg’s PYRA-MA Flashing Sounder wins 2015 Red Dot Design Award

Every year, the Red Dot Award’s –the most important competition for product design- honors companies from across the globe, recognizing their innovations and product design excellence.

By winning the honorable 2015 Product Design award, Pfannenberg’s PYRA-MA Flashing Alarms were proudly recognized by the international jury for their quality and design excellence.

The PYRA-MA flashing sounder has an elegant pyramid design which tapers to the outside and/or top, so the alarm device settles closely against every surface contour. With its stylistcally confident design, the PYRA-MA series can fit in every room and for every machine shapes.

The integrated sound outlets give the device clear “eyes” resulting in a classical-futuristic design.

The PYRA-MA is designed for simultaneous or separated visual or audible alerts (10 joule light output and 100 dB(A) volume). Thanks to the high system of protection (IP 66 and IK 08), and their resistance to a wide ambient temperature range (-40 to + 55°).

Pfannenberg’s industrial signaling products are the best solution for many applications worldwide including machine construction (start-up warning, machine safety) and commercial buildings (fire and gas alerting). Due to the large signaling area, the amount of signaling devices required is significantly reduced and the application remains economical while ensuring industrial safety.

Professor Dr Peter Zec, Founder and CEO of the Red Dot Award stated: “The laureates of the Red Dot Award: Product Design 2015 have demonstrated exceptionally high achievements and have thus been deservedly successful in the world’s largest design competition.”

Pfannenberg industrial alarms with visual and audible notifications come with a standard 10-Year Warranty, guaranteed to protect man, machine and the environment.

Click here to learn more about Signaling Technology and Solutions!

Topics: Industrial Safety & Signaling Solutions

10-Year Warranty on Select Industrial Signaling Products

 Pfannenberg is recognized as a leading manufacturer in the signaling technology sector due to it’s continuous product development and higher quality standards.

We are aware of the durability and versatility of our products, which are used all over the world and would like to pass these higher quality standards on to our customers in the form of a 10-year warranty,” says Volker Matthies, Global Product Manager Signaling Technology at Pfannenberg.

The 10-year wasounders (audible alarms) from the PATROL and PYRA series which have been certified since the beginning of 2013 according to the latest EU regulations EN 54-3 and/or EN 54-23. Also included are the impact resistant Quadro series flashing and LED lights for harsh environments and the DS sounders with an especially high-level IP protection. Each signaling device has the respective international approvals.rranty comprises the flashing lights (visual alarms) and

Quadro lights in particular are used in many art illumination projects to this day. Thus, thousands of Quadro lights illuminate the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Trinity Bridge and TV tower in St Petersburg, the art museum in Hamburg and many more objects worldwide.

Pfannenberg is strengthening its position as a supplier of innovative industrial signaling devices with a high demand on quality along with the best value for money. Pfannenberg offers modern industrial alarms with visual and audible notifications to protect your personnel and processes.

Topics: Industrial Safety & Signaling Solutions

Safest Way to Cool with Water

Electronics Cooling with an Air to Water Heat Exchanger

Water is the most efficient form of heat removal. Using an air to water heat exchanger allows you to safely cool your electronics using water, while also keeping external contaminants from entering your enclosure. Air to water heat exchangers also offer the advantage of being low maintenance while using significantly less energy than traditional methods.

Advantages of Pfannenberg’s Air to Water Heat Exchangers:

How do we safely cool with water?

#1: Bulkhead fitting for condensate drain providing superior ingress protection.
#2: Solenoid valve – controls liquid flow for capacity control and energy conservation.
#3: Color-coded water lines easily identify water supply & return lines.
#4: Air flow path designed to prevent condensate water from entering the enclosure.
#5: Internal design guarantees  full separation of water lines from airflow paths.
#6: Electronic thermostat for more accurate control of temperatures. Manual purge feature eases winterization.
#7: One-piece cover with sloped top for better protection of internal components and easy cleaning in wash-down applications (not pictured).


Water has been used for years around sensitive electronics.  There’s no reason to be afraid of using water to cool your electronics. This is a great option to consider when your looking for safe and efficient solution to manage your cooling.