Explosion Proof Equipment
Explosion protected equipment, also known as “Ex equipment” (often mistakenly generalised as Explosion proof equipment), refers to devices and systems designed to prevent explosions and fires in potentially explosive atmospheres where there are flammable gases, vapours, dust, or fibres. Ex equipment typically consists of components and materials that can withstand high temperatures, pressure, and impact without creating sparks, arcs, or heat that could ignite the surrounding combustible materials. (It is important to note the difference between an electric arc and an electric spark; the former is a continuous discharge of electricity while the latter has a momentary discharge).
They can be certified and tested according to international requirements, such as ATEX (Europe), IECEx (International), and ANSI (USA). This helps to maintain a safe working environment and prevent incidents that could be catastrophic.
Examples of explosion proof electrical equipment offered by EUTEX include cable in accordance with. NEK 606 (BFOU, RFOU, BU, RU), explosive atmosphere cable glands, enclosures, plugs, locknuts, and many electrical accessories to be installed in hazardous locations. These components are essential for ensuring safety and controlling potential ignition-related incidents in potentially explosive atmospheres.
Why Ex Equipment Must Be Certified?
Ex equipment must be certified to ensure that it meets the requirements and standards for use in potentially explosive atmospheres. Certification provides assurance that the equipment is designed and tested to prevent sources of ignition from occurring which could lead to explosions and fires in environments with flammable gases, vapours, dust, or fibres. Ex equipment is often installed in oil refineries, chemical plants, mines, and grain silos which follow rigorous safety measures.
Certification is essential because it ensures that the equipment is fit for purpose and can operate safely in potentially explosive atmospheres. It also provides assurance to regulators, customers, and end-users that the equipment meets safety standards and regulatory requirements. Without certification, there is a risk of using equipment that is not designed or tested adequately, which can result in significant safety risks.
Ex Equipment Certification Process
The certification process involves testing the equipment to ensure that it meets specific safety standards. The testing includes verifying the device’s construction, materials, and electrical properties to ensure that it is capable of operating safely in potentially explosive atmospheres. The testing also concludes how the device is labeled to indicate the protection technique (s), gas groups, and temperature classes where suitable and any special conditions for use. The certification process is typically carried out by third-party organizations that specialize in product certification or unit verification, such as EUTEX.
More information about certification services/process.
ATEX Certification (Europe)
IECEx Certification (International)
NEC Certification (USA)
Does Explosion Proof Equipment Need To Be Inspected?
Yes. Ex equipment needs to be inspected regularly to ensure that it remains in safe and reliable condition for use in hazardous areas. Inspections are necessary to identify and address any potential issues or hazards that could arise from the equipment’s use.
The frequency and scope of inspections may vary depending on the type of equipment, its condition, and the hazardous environment in which it is used. However, inspections must be carried out by qualified personnel who are trained to identify any deficiencies or faults in the equipment. EUTEX inspectors are highly skilled and certified to carry out hazardous area inspections, either to meet initial or periodic requirements at visual, close, or detailed grades.
During inspections, the equipment is checked for damage, wear, or any other signs of deterioration that could affect its performance or safety. Electrical components and wiring are checked for loose connections, corrosion, or other issues that could cause sparking or arcing.
EUTEX follows a fail-fix inspection philosophy to ensure any equipment inspected – which can “simply” be brought into compliance at the time of inspection with actions such as cleaning, lubrication, or tightening (no parts required) – have these actions performed during inspection.
Additionally, any more intrusive maintenance that is required, such as the replacement of components, can be performed during the inspection as required.
Regular inspections are necessary to ensure that the equipment remains in good working condition and complies with safety standards, directives, codes, regulations, and recommended practices. The IEC 60079 series of standards mandate the period between inspections should be no more than three years. The inspection reports from this should always be kept on file for audit purposes along with/inside of a comprehensive dossier of documentation to demonstrate compliance with regulatory requirements.
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