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Supplier Profile: R. Stahl

Companies and industries around the globe use R. Stahl’s superior explosion protection equipment and systems to protect against deadly explosions in hazardous locations that can occur if flammable gases, vapors, mists, or dusts combine with oxygen and an ignition source.

Stahl employees

R. Stahl is the global leader in explosion protection, and its innovative designs have made it the premier authority in interface technology in hazardous areas. It offers a complete range of intrinsically safe products, including safety barriers, isolators, fieldbus technology, and operating and monitoring systems. These are used in many industries and environments, including:

  • Processing plants for petrochemical, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries
  • Oil and gas exploration, transportation, and refining
  • Shipbuilding and marine industry for tanker carrying crude oil, LNG, or special chemicals
  • Extreme environmental conditions such as in Siberia with eight months of permafrost conditions (–55 ºC / -67 ºF) or in Saudi Arabia with extreme heat temperatures (+60 ºC / 140 ºF)
  • For application at sea, with constant exposure to seawater and storm conditions or pressure of

300 Bar / 4351.13 Psi

  • Grain storage, processing, and transportation industry

R. Stahl Products Available Through AutomationDirect

AutomationDirect sells R. Stahl’s hazardous area audible signal and intrinsically safe isolators. The signals provide an audible warning, alert, or information in the event of a malfunction or safety issues or when systems are starting up. They give an omni-directional audible signal and are intended for use in hazardous areas or the harshest environments.

Intrinsic safety is a method of protection that limits both electrical and thermal energy under normal and abnormal conditions that can flow in a hazardous location. R. Stahl’s intrinsically safe isolators are easy to connect and user-friendly. They provide intrinsic safety and galvanic separation between the control system and the field device, isolating the field device from other parts of the system. They are easy to use, compact, and offer a wide range of options for all typical applications.  

A History of Innovation and Protection

Rafael Stahl founded R. Stahl in 1876 in Waldenburg, Germany. By 1890, the company had developed the world’s first circular loom with electric individual drive. Building on this ingenuity, the company advanced into creating products for use in the safety sector.

In 1926, the company began to develop and produce explosion-protected, electrical control switches and devices. In 1949, it became the market leader in the explosion-protected electrical equipment field and produced the first explosion-protected electric hoist in 1953. R. Stahl continued to focus on explosion protection and released the world’s first ICS mux fieldbus system for hazardous locations in 1987.

In the mid-1990s, R. Stahl became a leading advocate in synchronizing the U.S. National Electric Code (NEC) and the International Electric Code (IEC). As a result, changes were made that increased the global standardization, efficiency, and maintenance of electrical equipment. These changes also helped position the company for growth throughout the world.

Global Emphasis on Quality and Training

Today, R. Stahl develops and produces products, components, and system solutions for digitalized automation systems around the world. Its comprehensive product portfolios are certified in accordance with NEC, CEC, ATEX, IECEx, and many other standards. It is one of the world’s leading suppliers of components and systems for instrumentation interface, energy distribution, and lighting in hazardous locations. It offers switchgear components, lighting and signaling equipment, network solutions, human machine interfaces, seminars, and technical services, but its main emphasis is on explosion protection.

“We design our products to be ready for installation, no matter where they are used,” said Markus Ehrmann at R. Stahl. “We hold more than 3,000 certificates for explosion protection and 70+ active patents. We also serve on many local and global industry standard committees, technical committees, and working groups.”

R. Stahl has been listed on the stock exchange since 1997 as a joint-stock company. It continues to be headquartered in Waldenburg, Germany, and operates seven sites in Europe, Asia, and the United States. Approximately 1,700 people at those locations and its more than 50 subsidiaries and branches focus on manufacturing and selling the highest quality products and systems.

R. Stahl became ISO certified in 2015, and its quality management system process covers its entire supply chain. The company operates an in-house occupational training center, tool-and-die manufacturing facilities, and an on-site acceptance testing facility.

“Our R&D lab offers many capabilities,” Brad Zimmermann at R. Stahl said. Those include:

  • Aging Pre-Conditioning (heat/cold)
  • Impact testing
  • IP testing (water)
  • Hydrostatic pressure testing
  • Pull / secureness testing
  • Thermal testing

U.S. Market is Crucial for R. Stahl

R. Stahl opened its U.S. headquarters in New England in 1979 and moved its operations to Houston, Texas in 2004. Today, 72 employees there produce custom, high-quality products and systems, often on a short turnaround timeframe.

“We are an assembly location for UL, FM, QPS, and Intertek and certify equipment for the U.S. or Canada as well as ATEX and IECEx,” said Mac Criswell, Managing Director of U.S. Operations. “This equipment includes terminal boxes, control stations, control panels, intrinsically safe panels, automation panels, and HMI panels. We offer long-standing experience and extensive know-how and help our customers fulfill standards which are often very specific.”

The U.S. market continues to grow, not only for the need of certified and harsh solutions for the local market, but also for the export market. Machine builders can rely on R. Stahl products globally certified for their machines to be used anywhere in the world. The R. Stahl team helps U.S. customers navigate the complexity of international standards and provide a solution that meets their specific needs.

Serving Customers – And Preventing Explosions – for the Long-Term

R. Stahl plans to expand its electrical and electronic products, explosion protection systems, seminars, training, and service to companies in more countries in the future. R. Stahl embraces the digital era and is working in improving its online presence with the goal to just be one click away from customers, no matter where they are. 

It also is focused on how progressive digitalization in manufacturing and production sites is changing the requirements for explosion protection across the globe.

“We are on the forefront of helping customers integrate the latest automation and network solutions, human machine interface, and camera technologies into their systems,” said Barbara Vazquez, Product Market Manager. “To do that, we continuously develop innovative products and solutions and bring them to market, from the most modern LED luminaries, signaling, and installation devices to switchgear and control systems. For the past 125 years, we have served our customers as a dependable and trusted partner with innovative products and solutions. That’s how we were founded, and that’s how we will continue to serve customers and industries all over the world.”