A hazardous area is defined as a place where concentrations of flammable gases, vapours, or dusts occur.
IRDI System’s products, including the protocol converter with safety barrier and nozzle receiver, are designed and certified to operate in hazardous areas, where hydrogen gas is present under normal conditions. See Table 1.1 for a list of flammable gases categorized into groups.
Table 1.1 Flammable Gas Groups
Temperature classification of electrical equipment dictates that any part of the equipment that may be exposed to hazardous atmosphere cannot exceed 80% of the auto-ignition temperature of the gas or vapour in the area. These temperature groups are shown in Table 1.2.
Table 1.2 Temperature Classification Groups
In the EU, hazardous locations are categorized by zones. For example, a Zone 1 area is defined by the presence of vapour of gas for long periods of time under normal operating conditions. This translates to 10-1000hours per year or 0.1-10% of the time. Refer to Table 2.1 for a description of the zones.
Presence of potentially explosive gas, vapour, or mist
Table 2.1 Zones Defined By Presence of Explosive Gases
In the EU, there are different protection techniques according to the hazardous zones. For example, if the electronic equipment operates in Zone 0, Ex ia protection is required. See Table 2.2 below for the classification of protection techniques.
Table 2.2 Classification of Protection Techniques According to Hazardous Zones
The Equipment Protection Level (EPL) is specified for several types of protection. This is linked to the equipment’s use in the zone it operates in and the hazardous material present. Table 2.3 shows the classifications that are relevant to gases.
Table 2.3 Equipment Protection Level for Zones With Hazardous Gases
Certification in North America
In North America, hazardous locations are categorized by Classes and Divisions, or Zones (similar to EU zones). Refer to Table 3.1 & Table 3.2 for a description of these Classes and Divisions. When zones are used in North America, classification is categorized according to EU zone definitions.
Table 3.1 Classes of Hazardous Atmospheres
Table 3.2 Divisions of Hazardous Atmospheres
IRDI nozzle receiver and protocol converter are certified for the European Union (ATEX) and North America (NEC). We are in the process of certifying the nozzle receiver and protocol converter for Japan.
Below are the certifications of each of our products.
Let’s use the ATEX-certified IRDI protocol converter to demonstrate the meaning of the certification terms. The ATEX protocol converter is certified to operate in Zone 1, where gas group “IIC” (hydrogen, acetylene, or carbon disulphide) is present for long periods of time under normal operating conditions. The protocol converter requires an equipment protection level of “Gb”, which in turns requires the nozzle receiver to be intrinsically safe (protection technique “Ex ib”).
Note that the ATEX-certified IRDI nozzle receiver has a temperature group classification. The IRDI nozzle receiver is certified as temperature group T4, which means the nozzle receiver will not reach temperatures beyond 135C° during operation. Its ambient operation temperature is from -40 to 80 C°.
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