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The use of electrical socket outlets in environments with explosive atmosphere

Tuesday, 16 May 2017 PDF icon The use of electrical sockets outlet in Ex Area
The engineering philosophy in general, and in particular the one for explosive environments, besides the normal design for the realization of the production processes, may consider the need for a proper management and maintenance of the plant as a whole: the management and maintenance of the production process and of all the "Utilities" that contribute to the functionality of the production process.
For these reasons, the designer, in addition to the civil, mechanical and process components, studies and analyzes that the equipment operate in continuity and as provided in the processual logic.
One of the many components of industrial plants or hazardous environments are the power sockets.
Normally, in order to ensure the ability to operate in full security and without interfering with operational areas with temporary electrical wires, the designer considers the orographic positioning of the sockets so that the operator can work with cables of lengths which not cause hindrance.
For this reason, more than one power outlet system type is required in the plant, such as:

The evolution of the Ex-proof flame path

Friday, 21 April 2017 PDF icon The evolution of the Ex-proof flame path
As written in previous dissertation, the most critical part of a flameproof enclosure 'Ex d' is the flame path.

Although the Standards are divided into National standards (CEI EN 60079- ...), Community standards (EN 60079- ...) and international standards (IEC 60079- ...), which in fact are the same, we will quote below only the reference 60079- ...

The reference standard, 60079-1 "Explosive atmospheres Part 1: Equipment protected by explosion proof enclosures ‘d’, has been updated so that in this discussion we will analyse the changes relating to the use of the flame path.

This is the oldest method of protection that exists, the first used and still one of the safest because it is based on a very simple technology and, therefore, hardly fallible.

Updating on the dimensional criteria for the design of ‘Ex d’, ‘Ex de’ enclosures for Panel Boards

Thursday, 16 March 2017 PDF icon The new standard of cable entry in Ex d and Ex de junction boxes for Panel Boards
The new standard of cable entry


April 2017: enter into force the third phase of the EC Regulation n. 245/2009 for the elimination of obsolete and/or inefficient light sources

Wednesday, 15 March 2017
To reduce the environmental impact resulting from the use of energy-inefficient solutions, the European Union member States have adopted, since the year 2005, the progressive ban of less efficient lighting products.
Currently on the plants with risk of explosion are installed lighting fixtures with lamps of different types such as filament lamps (incandescent), fluorescent and discharge lamps, mercury vapor, high pressure sodium, metal halide lamps that do not meet the mandatory requirements of this Directive.
The EuP Directive 2005/32/EC, implemented in Italy in 2007 and later repealed and replaced by the EuP Directive 2009/125/EC, implemented in Italy on 16.2.2011 with DL No. 15 and the Regulation (EC) No.

The use of the grounding system in Ex environments

Monday, 20 February 2017 PDF icon The use of GRD4200 grounding equipment
It happened at least once to all to receive an electrostatic shock getting off the car and touching the door handle to close it. If we are not insulated from the ground (bringing rubber shoes), the static energy accumulated while standing on an insulated car discharges to earth through our body, coming into contact with the ground. 
To prevent this phenomenon, it's possible to add to the car a conductive strip that, being always in contact with the ground, allows to instantly discharged the stored energy, thus avoiding the use of our body as the conduction element.
In potentially explosive atmospheres these phenomena occur during loading and/or unloading operations of vehicles that carry inflammable and explosives products, such as tank trucks for transport by road or LNG carriers for transport by sea.
However, it’s not enough to use a ground connection between the tanker and the ground network system, but it’s necessary to adopt security measures that connect the two systems safely, ensuring the safety of people and the protection of the property.

The use of the sealing fittings in explosion-proof electrical equipment (Ex d IIB, Ex d IIB + H2 and Ex d IIC)

Friday, 20 January 2017 PDF icon The use of sealing fittings in Ex equipment

In electrical equipment in which it’s necessary to have a physical separation for the limitation of the flame passage, such as petrochemical, oil and gas, chemical industrial plants and, generally, in places with a potentially explosive atmosphere and the possible presence of gas and dust, must be used specific limitation devices such as sealed cable glands or sealing fittings.

During the inspection operations of facilities, the sealing fittings have been found too many times not installed as indicated by the manufacturer or not filled with the specific sealant material provided with the sealing fittings or even missing between two adjacent boxes. This is due to the superficiality of the operators in charge of assembly operations, safety supervision and testing.

This carelessness and failure to comply with the manufacturer's requirements will invalidate every product guarantee (and this would be the lesser of evils), involving a huge risk to the safety and functionality of the system, with possible health risks and damage to operators.  Furthermore, it can cause economic damage for the loss of production in case of functional failure and out of order of the equipment.

Hazardous areas with risk of explosion and fire: the carpentries

Monday, 19 December 2016 PDF icon Hazardous Areas: the carpentries

Carpentries are plants of the wood processing, usually consisting of industrial buildings, in which a series of machine tools process the wood, through some different operations such as cutting, drilling, planing, milling and turning.

Such operations, produce both shavings and powders because of the wood features. These scraps are normally carried by the air and can form clouds or layers of powder on the ground. 

Therefore, the production of shavings and powders, during normal working operations, requires the assessment of the possible presence of an explosive atmosphere.

For regulatory issues relating to the health of the workers, all the processing machines should be equipped with air intake systems which, favouring the removal of the most volatile dust from the environment, decreases the danger of explosion in the environment.

Moreover, if in carpentry shops is carried out also the products coating through flammable paints, will be presents the danger of formation of an explosive atmosphere due to flammable vapours.

Cortem Group foundry department:

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Advanced manufacturing technology, product engineering and high quality

Cortem Group boasts a production process handled internally which consists of a foundry, a machine shop, a carpentry department and a washing and painting department. In particular, it’s one of the few European manufacturers of explosion-proof electrical equipment with an internal foundry.

Elfit foundry, a company of Cortem Group along with Cortem, is one of the few in Italy to have three different technologies for aluminium processing available:

  • Die casting
  • Low pressure
  • Chill technology.

In the course of time, Elfit acquired a vast experience in the light alloys transformation process, focusing more and more on the use of the most advanced applicable technologies to the production cycle. On completion, it offers the best expertise in the design and manufacture of moulds, in the maintenance of them and of the equipment in use.

The use of drainage valves in Ex junction boxes

Tuesday, 22 November 2016 PDF icon The use of drain valves in Ex junction boxes

The systems installed in areas with danger of explosion are often placed in zones where the presence of vapours and mists is a constant or very frequent.

Many refineries and several chemical plants, for logistical reasons, are located by the sea and, in addition to salt corrosion problems, which we have often discussed in previous newsletter, they have problems of condensation inside switchboards, junction boxes for terminals and increased safety enclosures.

The flameproof enclosure (EN 60079-1), by their nature, do not guarantee a complete seal to moisture, which penetrates right through the same flanges which, in the case of internal explosion, allow the discharge of the pressure, the cooling and the exit of the burnt gases, thus avoiding the explosion of the junction boxes.

The rapid evolution of LED: more lumens and less actual energy consumption

Monday, 14 November 2016 PDF icon The rapid evolution of LED: more lumens and less actual energy consumption

The continuous evolution of "LED" technology, determined by an increased "luminous efficiency" and the lower consumption in terms of absorption (W), requires a constant updating of technical documentation of LED lighting fixtures by our Research and Development office. This activity was not necessary and frequent for the lighting equipment equipped with traditional gas discharge, filament or incandescent lamps, rather static from the technological point of view.