Efficient and reliable reactor monitoring in ATEX Zone 1

The challenge

Momentive Performance Materials is the second largest producer of silicone and silicone derivatives, and a global leader in the production and development of quartz and special ceramics. Silicones are used for a great variety of products and can be found as the key ingredient in areas such as construction, transport, skin-care and cosmetics, electronics, consumer goods and in the agricultural industry. Silicones are used to enhance, alter or improve the properties of a whole range of products, for example with regard to resistance (heat, ultraviolet light, chemical influence), lubrication, adhesion or viscosity. Some of the best known areas of application are bathroom and sanitation facilities, adhesives, foams, cosmetics and tyres.

Part of our the silicone production is located in Leverkusen, Germany. Complex processes are used to produce silicone precursors for various areas of application. To ensure the quality of the end product, the production process in hazardous area ATEX/IECEx Zone 1 is monitored with cameras at certain sensitive spots from production to shipping.

Until 2013, this was done with standard industrial cameras integrated in ALU-Ex d enclosures with a protective glass screen at the front. The fast ageing of the enclosure caused by the weather resulted in distinctive loss of image quality, and a new monitoring system was needed. We were looking for a camera system with many different options, state-of-the-art technology and a particularly high image quality. These new cameras for hazardous areas should be robust, compact, easily expandable and with individual software in order to be able to incorporate third-party hardware, too.

The solution

For reliable and efficient professional inspection window monitoring of reactor fill levels, R. STAHL Camera Systems provided camera solutions tailored to the specific application requirements. For fill level monitoring we opted for the small, explosion-protected EC-710 compact camera. With a diameter of only 55 mm and high sensitivity it is the ideal tool for monitoring processes in a relatively dark CSTR and to permanently check the medium's fill level.

Another requirement was return flow monitoring in the production process. With key features such as the small and compact design, and 7 different viewing angles we again opted for the EC-710 compact camera providing the control centre with images in enhanced image quality; any addiitonal lighting was not required.

The third requirement was to monitor the outdoor area at the production plant, where semi-finished and finished products are packaged, grouped together in production orders, and shipped. For monitoring the packaging into various containers we have opted for the R. STAHL dome camera. It produces high-quality images, is very compact, and the 18x optical zoom brings any container into focus to monitor for leakage and overflow.


The camera's sensitivity and its clear focuses provide users in the control room with greatly improved image quality and monitoring options. These cameras enable exact registration and an absolutely reliable documentation in the area of container shipping. Foreign objects and materials present in the shipping area can be precisely located increasing the security at our plant. The compact and lightweight design meant further savings in the assembly time, too.

R. STAHL Camera Systems' "open monitoring system" is of a future-oriented design – its open concept means a high level of independence from protocols, and that different types of hardware can be integrated into the monitoring system at any time. We are able to use R. STAHL hardware as well as hardware systems of other providers – this was another key advantage and reason for opting for R. STAHL Camera Systems.




R. STAHL Camera Systems GmbH
Udo Wortmann / Dr. Johannes Hesper




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