Electrical connectors in the Atex world

In a world where the installation speed, the overall site security and the installation and maintenance costs are increasingly important, the use of specific connectors as FlowEx series can find wide application.

by Andrea Battauz, R&D Project Engineer of Cortem Group


As early as the beginning of the 20th century, the need for fast electrical connections arose in the nascent automotive industry and in other rapidly expanding sectors. 

Thus, it was that the first electrical connectors joined the typical screw systems of the terminal blocks. 

The reason for the success of these devices lay in the possibility of connecting multiple power and signal circuits with a single insertion operation of the male connector (in the form of a pin) into the female connector. 

We can therefore imagine how much their use could be appreciated in the automotive or household appliances industry, where the products used hundreds if not thousands of components with increasingly complex and diversified electromechanical systems.  

Connectors in domestic and industrial devices

Today we are all familiar with different types of electrical connectors. The power sockets/plugs of household appliances or the ubiquitous USB ports that recharge our smartphones. 

A widespread type is made up of PC or television power cables that are inserted into the special fixed slots integrated in the devices. 

These allow us to make a connection without having to disassemble and open the device. 

Avoiding the opening of household appliances also has another positive aspect: damage that could be involuntarily caused to the equipment is avoided. 

A risk to be avoided when connecting equipment or an electrical component via a connector is the accidental inversion of the connection. 

In other words, you must avoid connecting two or more circuits in reverse. 

This is why the connectors integrate a mechanical system that avoids this possibility. First, the shape of the connector may not allow insertion in a direction other than the intended one (for example, using a trapezoidal shape). Or the profile may incorporate grooves or nibs which are negatively present in the relevant female.


Connectors in the Atex world

The safety request of the device and of the user is further exaggerated when we enter the sector of the risk of formation of an explosive atmosphere, in plants with ATEX classified areas. 

In addition to the aspects already mentioned, there is in fact the requirement to avoid the ignition of the explosive atmosphere.In other words, the additional requirements of the EN/IEC 60079 series of standards must be met. 

The FastEx electrical connectors by Cortem Group are suitable for use in zones 1 and 2 classified as at risk of forming explosive gas atmospheres. To obtain the EPL Gb level of protection, it uses the 'Ex-eb' increased safety protection method, i.e. it obtains a higher degree of protection than the industrial standard by using internally plastic materials with superior insulating and thermal resistance properties. ­­­­­­FastEx is also suitable for use in zones 21 and 22 classified as at risk of forming explosive atmospheres for the presence of dust. In this case, the EPL Db level of protection is obtained thanks to the application of the IEC/EN 60079-31 standards.

In terms of construction, FastEx has an anodized aluminum external body and threaded fastening, completed by the grub screw which performs an anti-loosening action. 

In the 3 or 5-pole version, it is suitable for making connections in the field without having to open the equipment to which the fixed part of the connector is connected. This increases the level of reliability and guarantee of the equipment to which the connector is applied. (*) 

(*) The connection must be made in compliance with the provisions of the IEC/EN 60079-14 standards and other national regulations in the country of use.


FastEx electrical connectors


In a world where installation speed and overall site security are increasingly important, the use of specific connectors can find wide application.The issue of saving overall installation and maintenance costs is always of the highest order but, as always, must be combined with the level of safety required by the final system. This is even more true in chemical and petrochemical plants, refining plants and other industrial processes where there is a risk of forming an explosive atmosphere due to the presence of flammable gases, vapors or dust.

Fecha de publicación: 5/7/2023

Tema: Additional information | Green Energy | Traditional Energy | Food | Shipbuilding | Mining | Pharmaceutical Chemist | Oil & Gas