Accessories for connecting explosion-proof engines

Increased safety electric engines or explosion-proof electric engines with increased safety connection box have been on the market for many years. Let's see the connection of Ex- db electric engines with Ex- db connection box to the power line by using some examples of system applications.

by Andrea Battauz, R&D Manager of Cortem Group


Increased safety electric engines or explosion-proof electric engines with increased safety connection box, which facilitate the connection of this equipment to the power line, have been on the market for many years. These very common engines are often chosen at the design stage.

In this article we will delve into the connection of Ex- db electric engines with Ex- db connection box to the power line using electrical connection accessories, such as adapters, locking fittings, cable glands and flexible tubes.

In this regard we will give some examples of system applications, remembering that the choice of these accessories, as is the case for cables, is the responsibility of the designer who must scrupulously apply what is foreseen by the IEC/EN 60079-14 in force1.


Connection to a conduit system

In sites classified as at risk of the presence of explosive atmospheres, systems with metal protective tubes, commonly known as conduit system, are very common. Single-core cables are usually laid inside these pipes, as in Figure 1 here on the left.2    


Figure 2: Exampleof connection between a vibrating machine and a conduit system

In figure 2, we see the connection of an engine with an explosion-proof connection box. To prevent a possible explosion inside the explosion-proof equipment from spreading to the system, a conduit sealing fittings was used3. Another important connecting element is the three-piece unions. This adapter can be used to give the right inclination to the sealing fittings, necessary for pouring and filling resin inside. Finally, the connection with the system in metal ducts is made with a flexible tube which, while maintaining high mechanical protection, allows the transmission of vibrations produced by the machine in operation to be reduced. It is a good rule to prevent any vibrations produced by the machine from being transmitted to the pipes and boxes of the system, therefore the connection to the machine must be carried out with flexible tubes with a metal core with mechanical characteristics equivalent to those of rigid tubes4.

Connection to a cable system

If the system to which the machine is connected has visible cable laying, the entry into the connection box with cable glands must be made by applying the selection criterion of the latest edition of EN 60079-14. The main discriminant introduced by this selection criterion is the type of cable; in fact, the solid filling material  between the individual conductors of a multi-core cable must not allow the flame to pass in the event of an explosion and, at the same time, must deform without being crushed by the pressure action exerted by the cable gland rubber.

When a cable is not equipped with these characteristics, a barrier type cable gland must be used. In this device the installer, after eliminating sheaths, screens and filler from the cable for a section, throws a two-component resin into a special bushing. This operation replaces the solid filler material between the individual single-core cables with resin, eliminating the gaps.


Figure 3 : Flow chart based on the EN 60079-14:2014-036

Figure 4 shows the connection of a vibrating machine using barrier cable glands. When, as in this case, the cable has a length of less than 3m or does not have a filling material as required by the standard, the use of the barrier cable gland is foreseen on both the engine and system sides.

Armored cable is often chosen in sections where the cable is exposed for greater protection from mechanical risks.

However, if the cable is sufficiently long (>3m) and meets the requirements of the standard7, a cable gland with rubber grommet can be used. Also in this case, it is advisable to use an armored cable to increase the level of mechanical protection of the cable8.

Figure 5 shows the connection: if, after a visible section, the cable continues in a metal protective tube, the cable is said to be laid in an open protective tube.


Figure 4 : Example of connection of a vibrating machine with barrier cable gland  


Figure 5 : Example of connection of a vibrating machine with cable gland with rubber  


Engines completely made in explosion-proof protection are still widely used and very present in plants. They are increasingly accompanied by increased safety Ex- eb engines or Ex- db engines, with an enclosure with Ex- eb increased safety connection terminals.In the next article we will delve into the connection of the motor connection box made with Ex-eb protection mode.

1 - par. 10.6.2

2 - See “The ‘Ex d’ protection method: electrical conductors in metallic protective tube” – Cortem Group News 05/27/2022

3 - The locking fitting conceptually divides the system into an equipment side, where Ex equipment and/or components are mounted, and a system side where line accessories consistent with EN 60079-14 and relevant national legislation are required, see CEI 31-108 9.4.1

4 - Extract of the CEI 64-2 standard, page 86 6.1.01 (8) now replaced by CEI EN 60079-14, in the latter there are no provisions in this regard. However, this excerpt still makes absolute common sense.

5 - CEI 31-108 Fig. 10.6-B

6 - See “The 'Ex d' protection method electrical cable installation and cable gland selection criteria” - Cortem Group News 09/28/2023

7 - EN 60079-14 9.3.2 (A) or better explained in the guide CEI 31-108 9.3.2 (A)

8 - For the choice of armored cable, please refer to the article “The 'Ex d' type of protection: electrical cable installation” - Cortem Group News 06/21/2022

Publication date: 2024-01-18

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