Methods for Intrinsic Safety in Industrial, Manufacturing and Research Scenarios
GENEVA, OH, January 31, 2020
Due to the presence of flammable materials and arcing sources of power in various contained environments, the possibility of explosions is a very real and present danger that must be addressed. Ruined product, damaged equipment, as well as loss of life or limb - and the many morale and legal complications that can arise from tragic accidents - should always be avoided at all costs. Intrinsic Safety is the set of best practices, procedures and technology used to prevent unwanted and unnecessary explosive scenarios in the workplace.
To prevent the ignition of vapors in a hazardous location, there are three different methods used by industries.
- Containment (Explosion-Proof)
Containment is the only method where an explosion is actually permitted. The source of ignition is surrounded by an enclosure which is designed to contain the explosion to a defined area. This is what is meant by an “explosion-proof” enclosure. The safety of this method is entirely dependent on the mechanical integrity of said enclosure, so periodic inspections are necessary and should be mandated and scheduled. Some handheld test instrument manufacturers may use the term “explosion-proof” when they actually mean “intrinsically-safe." Strictly by the definition of the former, this would imply that the instrument itself could explode internally instead of being designed not to ignite an explosion. THAT would not be a very worthwhile device to have on-hand at a facility - and certainly not one you'd want to be holding when it exploded!
Segregation is a method used to separate the ignition source from the hazardous material, using various isolation techniques. A few of these segregation techniques include using pressure differences to remove or separate the hazardous material from the ignition source, or by submerging the ignition source in an insulative oil, powder, or resin so that contact with the flammable material never occurs.
Prevention is the method where intrinsically safe practices and engineering are used to design devices that can be used in the hazardous environment so that these devices are virtually incapable of containing enough stored-up energy that could cause a spark that would ignite the hazardous material. This method is the preferred one due to the ignition source being omitted completely.
TEGAM has been designing and manufacturing intrinsically safe test & measurement devices for some time now for industries as varied as Aerospace, Research, Oil & Gas, and Plastics. We offer intrinsically safe thermocouple thermometers with both single and dual-channel capacities, intrinsically safe air/gas temperature probes AND intrinsically safe high-temperature surface probes, as well as an intrinsically safe milli-ohmmeter and bond meter.
What's next for TEGAM in the world of I.S. devices? Contact us here - we may be able to help you with a unique application for your needs. Thanks for reading.