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Electronic instruments in hazardous areas
March 2018, IS & Ex


In many industries, there are certain areas that are classified as hazardous or Ex areas. This is an area that contains, or may contain, combustible substances such as gas, vapour or dust. Typical hazardous areas include coal mines, grain silos, chemical and petroleum plants, offshore and onshore oil and gas rigs, oil refineries, pharmaceutical plants and paint shops.

During the coal mining process, byproducts in the form of coal dust and methane are produced. The build-up of either of these can be extremely dangerous. Even a tiny spark can set off a disastrous explosion. Similarly, grain silo dust ignited by a spark, has led to tragic explosions.

Safety measures in hazardous areas

In order for ignition to occur, two things are needed: the combustible atmosphere as described above, and a trigger i.e. a spark or flame. Remove one or both of these conditions and an explosion cannot occur.

Removing combustible dust and vapour

Ventilation equipment can dilute or remove dangerous substances from an enclosed area and as a result reduce the risk of explosion. This method is extensively used in the mining and chemical industry.

No trigger

Apart from ‘No Open Flame’ signs, precaution must be taken to prevent electrical equipment from being a source of ignition. A simple electrical switch, for example, can generate an electrical spark every time it is thrown – depending on the type of load. This spark may be enough to act as a trigger for an explosion in a hazardous area. In a similar fashion, sparks can be created by portable electronic devices. In order for devices to be safe for use in hazardous areas, safety precautions have to be built into the design.

Intrinsically safe (IS) instruments

There are several aspects in the design of IS electronic devices, of which reducing or eliminating switch sparking is but one. Other considerations include, fast fuses, controlling component temperatures, eliminating tight component spacing that could lead to a short circuit, and reducing circuit current and energy storage.

R&C Instrumentation is geared to supply a considerable range of intrinsically safe instruments, for instance the Raytek MT4-IS handheld non-contact thermometer for the temperature range -18 to 400°C, the Raytek Mi3-IS 4-wire system fixed pyrometer and the Raytek TX-IS 2-wire loop powered system fixed pyrometer.

As part of the recently launched range of vibration sensors, there is also a wide range of ATEX IEC and Ex certified versions available. Additionally, due to a special request from a mining client, there is now also the UT390B+IS laser distance meter available from stock.

For more information contact R&C Instrumentation, +27 (0)86 111 4217, info@randci.co.za, www.randci.co.za


Credit(s)
Supplied By: R&C Instrumentation
Tel: +27 32 946 2805
Fax: 086 622 6050
Email: info@randci.co.za
www: www.randci.co.za
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Further reading:

  • Infrared temperature sensing in steel processing applications
    June 2018, R&C Instrumentation, Temperature Measurement
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    Cirrus Hybrid represents the next evolutionary step in the advancement of fire detection systems.
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    The TBM811XEX and TBM812XEX multimeters with a CATIV 1000 V rating from HellermannTyton are designed for hazardous environments such as mining and petrochemical. The approved explosive protection rating ...
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    After time, temperature is the most measured physical unit. In production, as well as in quality control and maintenance, temperature represents an important indicator of product quality or equipment ...
  • Becker Varis gas monitoring for Zimbabwe mine
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    Becker Mining South Africa, specialists in safety and communications technologies for the mining sector, is soon to install a robust atmospheric and environmental monitoring system at a mine in Zimbabwe. ...
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  • Explosion-proof encoder for offshore applications
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    Many applications in the oil and gas industry that require the use of absolute encoders are demanding, not just from a performance perspective, but also because of the operating environment. An example ...
  • Safe motion control in Ex areas
    April 2018, Parker Hannifin - Sales Company South Africa, IS & Ex
    Machinery and moving equipment is a vital element in all areas of modern automated industry, but what happens when the atmosphere in the working environment is potentially explosive? In short, regulations ...
  • Temperature profiling and logging
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    When employing heat treatment as part of a manufacturing operation, the critical information needed is the temperature of the product as it is taken through the heating process. Whether dealing with paint ...
  • Detonation flame arresters from Energas
    March 2018, IS & Ex
    Technology is developing fast, and while innovation is taking centre stage, versatility remains right up on the checklists of both manufacturers and end users alike. With that in mind, the new Protectoseal ...

 
 
         
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