ATEX zones

Safety is highest priority

At all places where inflammable substances are produced, processed, transported or stored, safety is extremely important - especially in the chemical and petrochemical industry, in oil and natural gas production and in mining.

In order to provide the highest level of safety possible, most states' legislations have developed corresponding conditions in the form of laws, regulations and standards. These now have to be implemented by companies because the operator of a plant is solely responsible for safe operation in accordance with the German Ordinance on Industrial Safety and Health (BetrSichV).

The area of responsibility thereby extends to:

  • Stipulation of the explosive areas (zones),
  • Compilation of an explosion protection document,
  • Realisation of organisational and technical measures for explosion protection,
  • Implementation of checks,
  • Use of products in Ex-areas that comply with the ATEX 95 directive.

Meaning of the zone classification

  • Zone 0/20: Danger is always present, for a long time or frequently
  • Zone 1/21: Danger is occasionally present
  • Zone 2/22: Danger is seldom present or present for a short time

 

Fundamentals of dust explosion protection

Fundamental principles:
The manufacturer of operating devices for areas rendered potentially explosive through dust must indicate the maximum surface temperature of all devices that dust can penetrate (usually expressed in °C - indication of the temperature class should be avoided here). This temperature is part of the dust Ex-designation.

Designation examples:
II 2D T90 °C IP64, II 2D Ex td A21 T90 °C IP64
(If the ignition protection type is based on the housing, the housing protection rating should also be stated as an IP Code)

or II 2D Ex iaD 21 T96 °C
(This device has already been approved according to the new IEC de-jure standard "Intrinsic Dust Safety - iaD". This de-jure standard specifies that the designation also contains the corresponding zone - in this case 21)

Dust explosion protection - temperature:
Combustion and explosion parameters for dusts depend on the their condition. Parameters that affect combustion and explosion behaviour include particle size, particle shape, water content, purity and where applicable the content of the flammable solvents.
The particle size distribution and the mean value (value for average particle size) should also be known.

In accordance with 1999/92/EG Directive (ATEX 137, replacing: ATEX 118a),the system operator /employer is obliged to make a hazard assessment and must therefore be aware of the minimum glow temperature of the dust.

There are simple calculations to determine the two "temperatures" and they are carried out thus:

  1. Limit temperature 1 = 2/3 of minimum ignition temperature
  2. Limit temperature 2 = minimum ignition temperature* minus 75 °K

These two limit temperatures must now be examined to confirm which guarantees the greater safety.

Example 1:
Minimum ignition temperature = +330 °C,
Limit temperature 1 = 2/3 x +330 °C = +220 °C
Limit temperature 2 = +300 °C - 75 °K = +225 °C

Greater safety: Limit temperature (1) = +220 °C
Here a device with a max. surface temperature in the event of failure <= +220 °C must be used. As stated, the device designation includes a corresponding value.

 

Example 2:
Minimum ignition temperature = +186 °C,
Limit temperature 1 = 2/3 x +186 °C = +124 °C
Limit temperature 2 = +180 °C - 75 °K = +105 °C

Greater safety: Limit temperature (2) = +105 °C
Here a device with a max. surface temperature in the event of failure <= +105 °C must be used.

 

*The value for the glow temperature applies with a dust layer thickness of 5mm. The temperature safety distance must be increased for larger layer thicknesses.

 

<< previous  When do I need ATEX?