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EPOCH Protection System

The Epoch Protection System is the new generation in protection devices, designed to provide complete protection to the AS/NZS 2081:2011 standard and is certified Intrinsically safe under IEC 60079.11 ‘Ex ia’ for electrical equipment in the mining and industrial environments.  Using advanced microprocessor controlled technology and state of the art hardware design, the Epoch Protection System achieves high accuracy, long lasting reliability, and exceeds Australian standards requirements.

EPOCH Memory

The EPOCH memory unit contains the database of protection function settings for all outlets and various loads. This information is transmitted to all outlets and connected to the EMM via a high speed group communication interface. Through this interface the run time data from each machine is available to the EMM in real time. The depth of memory available to the EMM gives it the advantage of being a gateway for external devices such as a PLC to access this data from each outlet and the configuration settings each outlet is adhering to. The memory interface takes on the important role of conducting synchronisation tasks between multiple outlets, for example, controlling outlets which are interlocked by a fan.

EPOCH Control

The Control Interface is the central unit of the Epoch Protection System and is the integral component that brings together the full protection functionality to each outlet. It performs the AS/NZS 2081:2011 Earth Continuity protection function on the outlet as well as receive and process the signals from the Power Interface. The pilot conductor is connected through an EP041 barrier into the hazardous zone. It drives the HMI Display Interface (EDM) and is also in control of the Main Circuit Breaker. The external buttons for Start, Stop, and Reset are connected through the Control Interface. The Control Interface is to be installed in a low voltage control compartment of a DCB.

EPOCH Interface

The Power Interface is the heart of the Epoch Protection System and its purpose is to collect and process vital input signals of voltage and current in order to perform the following functions:

  • AS/NZS 2081:2011 Earth Fault protection

  • AS/NZS 2081:2011 Earth Fault Lockout protection

  • AS/NZS 2081:2011 Frozen contact protection

  • AS/NZS 4871 Short circuit protection

  • IEC 60255 – 127 Under voltage protection

  • IEC 60255 – 127 Over voltage protection

  • IEC 60255 – 151 Under current protection

  • IEC 60255 – 151 Over current protection

  • IEC 60255 – 149 Thermal overload protection

  • IEC 60255 – 160 Phase Imbalance protection

It controls the main-contactor for the outlet and its design makes it quick and easy to install it next to one. The Power Interface enclosure has been designed to provide protection from electrical noise and as such ensures reliable operation in the harsh target environments, such as high voltage switching cabinets. There are two intrinsically safe devices certified to ‘Ex ia’ installed in a Power Interface unit, the RTC Flag Relay and the EFLO Barrier. When the EPIM1K unit is powered, the RTC Flag Relay and EFLO Barrier are not suitable for installation in a hazardous area. It is recommended that an ‘Ex d’ enclosure be used. When the EPIM1K is not powered, the RTC Flag Relay and EFLO Barrier are suitable to be installed or present in a hazardous area.

EPOCH Display
EPOCH Display

The Display Interface is an ‘Ex ia’ panel mountable WVGA 480x272 pixel 24-bit full colour LCD with a membrane keypad which integrates system functionality. This display, together with the keypad, has the advantage of reducing the wiring overhead for each outlet by integrating test and runtime system functionality. The interface is extremely robust and simple, it enables users to view the system status, change multiple protection function settings in a straight forward manner, debug trip issues with the aid of a very large event log database, and monitor system performance. The EDM is powered by the EP081 power supply through an <EP040> intrinsically safe barrier and communicates with the ECM through the EP051 intrinsically safe communications barrier.

EPOCH Remote Module

The Remote Modules provide additional monitoring and protection for the connected machinery. The PR1 relays information from the machinery back to the ECM using the pilot wire. This information is then communicated via Extended Internet Protocol (EIP) to the EMM. Monitoring of the machine includes equipment identification, earth continuity, remote start and stop functionality as well as temperature protection. This ensures quick disconnection and reconnection of a variety of plant as each machine has a unique identifier which is recognised by the EPOCH protection system. The protection settings for the machine can be pre-stored on the PR1 and this is automatically detected by the EPOCH system once the PR1 is connected to an outlet. This allows for site wide management of the equipment and its protection settings via the EMM and an Ethernet network connection. Equipment settings can be adjusted and saved “in situ” by personnel authorised to access the locked reset facility.

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