Late recognised and still too few operators aware of it

MBA measurement technology against dangers of electrostatic charge in rolling and hydraulic oils

Only in recent years has it become known that hydraulic oils not only prevent machine wear, but can also become electrostatically charged during the handling process. In order to prevent this charge and thus the lightning discharge – which can lead to explosions – MBA Instruments has developed complex measuring technology. The instrument MLA1000 ensures safety worldwide through continuous and precise conductivity measurements, especially in paraffin pipelines.

Devastating consequences

“Sparks often occur in tanks, filter elements and also valves. We see traces on the machines in many aluminium rolling mills. Some make do with thick walls as a secondary protection,” says Frank Wengler, engineer and senior product manager at MBA Instruments. “But with sporadic and less accurate measurements, many operators are simply lucky that nothing worse happens.” This is because electrostatic discharges, even below 350 mJ, can trigger at least one startle reaction in people, which in turn can cause an accident. Only continuous and close monitoring at all crucial points in the handling of oil creates complete safety.


Rolling and hydraulic oil is used in rolling mills to protect against wear, sticking and energy wastage. Different materials come into contact with each other. “The safety risk that arises here due to frictional energy was unknown for a long time. Due to the fact that oil is exchanged again and again, this risk accumulates. There are anti-static additives, but they lack long-term stability,” says Frank Wengler. Mixing and oil ageing, the “varnish” on hydraulic elements, contribute to the problem. The key is to determine the right amount of additives: As much as necessary, as little as possible. In Germany, only the MLA1000 has been able to do this for eight years now. The measuring device uses the flow velocity within the pipeline for a highly accurate current value of conductivity and temperature.

Now also with IECEx certificate

No wonder, then, that the German quality product has long been in use worldwide – in factories in Australia and China, among others. Now the MLA1000 has once again been officially certified as suitable for use in potentially explosive atmospheres. With this international certificate according to the standards of the Electromechanical Commission, national certificates can now be issued more easily. For the German market, the MLA1000 already had the corresponding important ATEX certification.

MBA Instruments – the material handling specialists for instrumentation

The SMB Group in Quickborn develops sophisticated system solutions for worldwide use. MBA Instruments is a specialist for digital level measurement technology and conductivity measurement in light mineral oils. The company deliberately relies on a high share of in-house production at their location in Quickborn near Hamburg. This allows customer requirements to be met quickly, effectively and at consistently high quality. The companies” design and production facility provides the basis for the high vertical integration, which permits the timely delivery of high-quality products. The service team works on large-scale projects both nationally and internationally. The distribution network, which has global operations, ensures swift and effective information-sharing and coordination.

We are the specialists for measuring technology and offer you a wide product range for a wide spectrum of applications.

MBA Instruments
Beate Hambrock
Friedrich-List-Straße 3-5
25451 Quickborn
Phone: +49 4106/123 88-80

Format Communications Consultants GmbH
Lena David
Große Elbstraße 45
22767 Hamburg
Phone: 040284189520

Bildquelle: @MBA Instruments