Missouri power plant upgrades to trapped key technology

Sikeston, Missouri’s Board of Municipal Utilities (BMU) recently installed trapped key interlocks from Castell throughout its 600-acre coal-fired power plant. The system limits access to dangerous areas, protecting employees from injury and equipment from damage.

Brought online in 1981, Sikeston’s 235 megawatt coal-fired steam electric generating station serves both Sikeston and numerous cities throughout the Midwest. More than a million tons of Powder River Basin coal are burned at the plant each year. The coal moves through a steady line of processing steps to the plant’s power-generating steam turbine. At each step in the process there is equipment–pulverizers, boilers, precipitators, etc.– that can be dangerous if accessed under unsafe conditions.

To prevent human error, the 30-year-old plant’s safety equipment was recently upgraded with a system of trapped key interlocks from Castell. Castell worked closely with the Sikeston BMU to select the interlock types suited to each of the processing areas. The resulting custom system ensures that proper safety precautions are taken before accessing equipment for maintenance and routine operation.

Electrical breakers, transformers and nuclear bevel detectors were fitted with Castell’s K and KF bolt interlocks to control the movement of operating handles within these panels. Only when accessed with the proper key can the bolt be retracted to change switch position. In the KF model, an additional flange increases mounting possibilities. Additionally, Castell’s AI single key access looks were installed on hopper and maintenance doors throughout the facility. A NEMA4X stainless steel enclosure manages key exchange, protecting keys from the environment.

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