Operating equipment in potentially explosive atmospheres comes with a certain amount of responsibility, not least to use correctly designed components that have the features necessary for the environment. When maintenance and repairs are required, it is important that operators understand what is expected of them to ensure continued safety and reliability.
Karl Metcalfe, Technical Support for the AEMT, looks at the knowledge and responsibilities that are expected when it comes to managing electric motors in zoned areas.
Potentially explosive atmospheres are commonly encountered in many industrial sectors including oil & gas, pharmaceuticals, water treatment, mining as well as the food and beverage industry. Specific areas that may be affected are zoned according to the potential risks and any electrical equipment in these areas must be designed and manufactured to specific standards.
Any business that has identified zoned areas within its processes is expected to adhere to a number of international and regional standards including BS EN IEC 60079-10:2019. This states the responsibilities of operators, managers and repairers to ensure that all equipment is properly maintained and fit for continued service.
Equipment that is designed for Ex zoned areas uses a variety of protection concepts to ensure safe operation. Different concepts can be used in similarly zoned areas, and it is important that site maintenance engineers understand these concepts so that they do not compromise the equipment.