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Contrary to popular belief, potentially explosive atmospheres are not uncommon. That is why so many electrical and mechanical devices, systems and installations are manufactured for use in such an atmosphere. They have to comply with specific requirements, which are stipulated in the EU directive 2014/34/EC, commonly known as ATEX (from the first syllables of the words “atmosphere explosible”).
TME's offer includes a number of products intended to work in this type of atmosphere, which meet the requirements of the directive and its supplementary document (ATEX 137). They can be found in various categories and product groups. However, first of all it should be clarified what the two ATEX directives are and what they apply to.
When discussing the ATEX Directive, two legal acts are most often considered, which are complementary and apply to slightly different areas. In professional literature, you can often find two common terms: ATEX 114 and ATEX 137 – each of these refers to a specific piece of legislation listed in the table below.
|Legal act||Directive 2014/34/UE||Directive 1999/92/EC|
|Common name||ATEX 114||ATEX 137|
|Date of adoption||26 February 2014||16 December 1999|
|Scope of application||1. Equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres;||1. Minimum requirements for the occupational safety and hygiene;|
|2. Safety, control and regulation equipment for use outside potentially explosive atmospheres, which is essential for safe operation of equipment and systems;||2. Division of areas into explosive hazard zones;|
|3. Components which are intended to be incorporated into the equipment and systems listed in point 1||3. Warning marking of explosive hazard zones.|
Directive 2014/34/EU primarily applies to equipment, systems and components, while Directive 1999/92/EC applies to their users, hence the expressions ATEX DEVICES and ATEX USERS which, in a sense, reflect these relationships.
The ATEX 114 Directive directly applies to manufacturers of all products intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres, and it is their responsibility to meet the requirements of the directive. According to its provisions, the equipment and systems must first of all bear the CE mark and have an EC declaration of conformity – without meeting these requirements, the equipment and systems cannot be certified for compliance with ATEX 114. What is more, Article 95 of this directive defines harmonised requirements and procedures for demonstrating that the devices and systems meet its requirements. Discussion of specific provisions of individual articles of the directive would take up too much space in this article, however, they can, in a very simplified way, be summarised as the following requirements for manufacturers:
TIB EX series power supplies by Traco Power is a series of switch-mode power supplies mounted on a DIN rail, perfectly suitable for automation applications. These modern devices provide voltage with parameters that are as close as possible to those of linear power supplies, while retaining much smaller dimensions. The Traco power supplies of the TIB EX series are designed for use in industrial environments and in electrical control cabinets. They feature a narrow profile for mounting on a DIN rail and an alternative side mounting system for flat panels. Their high power factor is achieved by active power correction.
Power supply: TIB240-148EX
It is worth noting their back power immunity and ability to operate at 150% of the peak power for 4 seconds. It is also important that increasing the power facilitates the activation of stepper motors, electromagnets and actuators. The power supplies of this series are, of course, equipped with short-circuit and overload protection, and are also fitted with a signalling device which informs about the correctness of direct current (DC-OK). However, in terms of environmental impact, it is worth pointing out their compliance with RoHS directive requirements. The TME offer includes Traco Power power supplies from the TIB EX series in the range of 80W / 120W / 240W / 480W and 12 / 24 / 48 V (DC) output voltage at 1.7 - 20.0A.
PCIN series sensors by SELS is a group of inductive proximity sensors with ATEX and IECEx approval, which are used, among others, for contactless detection of metal parts, machine parts and for measuring or checking metal sheet thickness, speed or acceleration in drives. In an intrinsically safe version, they require installation in explosion hazard zones in accordance with the general intrinsic safety requirements. The SELS sensors guarantee correct operation in high humidity and dusty conditions thanks to IP67 rating. TME offer includes five models in M30, M18, M12 casings with NAMUR output configuration, with a range of 2, 4, 5, 8 and 15 mm - all supplied with 7-18V DC.
The STEGO 01185.0-00 thermostat with temperature class T6 (250VAC and 10A max.), equipped with a bimetallic sensor is a compact mechanical thermostat with high accuracy (+/-3°C) and IP66 protection rating. It is characterized by a small difference in switching temperatures and a long service life – about a hundred thousand switching cycles. Thanks to the T6 temperature class design (operating temperature range from -60°C to +85°C), it can control heaters installed in explosion hazard areas. A large switching current allows to control large high-power heaters directly. The STEGO thermostat has an opening temperature of 15°C, the connection is made via a 3 x 1mm2 cable, and the mounting is possible either using M5 screws or a DIN rail clamp.
BAUMER pressure transmitters are another group of products that meet ATEX requirements. The Y910 series transmitters are dedicated to work in places where, in addition to the risk of explosion, there is also a risk of contact with aggressive media, such as sea water (Bureau Veritas approval). Their operating temperature range spans from -25°C to +70°C. The operation of the BAUMER sensors is based on the Trans-Bar technology, which allows them to measure gauge and absolute pressure as well as negative pressure in the range up to 10 bar with a temporary maximum of 20 bar – with a 0.3% accuracy. Thanks to a reinforced welded construction (stainless steel) and a modular system of processor and electrical connections (IP65-rated), they are suitable for heavy duty applications and can withstand multiple pressure cycles. They are powered by 14-28VDC (0-10V voltage output), feature a DIN 43650 connector and weigh up to 300 grams.
The LBFS series liquid level sensors by BAUMER are designed for indicating liquid level in tanks, separation of media or detection of their presence in pipelines, as well as protecting pumps against dry-running. Their operation can be programmed using the FlexProgrammer 9701 configurator. Wet parts are made of acid-resistant steel and the PEEK polymer. The sensors of this series are characterized by the ability to work with media whose temperature ranges from -40°C to +115°C. They can operate starting from a precisely set point, without the need for calibration, and are suitable for media with DK>1.5 conductivity. A small LED indicates activation of the contact, which is a considerable convenience. Other parameters are as follows: output configuration – PNP, connection – male M12, supply voltage – 12-30V (DC), mounting – ½" thread , tightness – IP67.
BK9050 and EL1004 industrial modules by BECKHOFF are modules supplied with 24VDC voltage. The former is an analogue output and the latter is a digital input. The BK9050 module is a compact bus coupler (RJ45 connector) that connects Ethernet extendable electronic terminal blocks. It acts as an intermediary in the exchange of data between the input/output terminals connected to its K-Bus and the master unit. Communication takes place via the Ethernet interface. It has an operating temperature of 0° - 55°C. The EL1004 module operates in temperatures from -25°C to +60°C, is IP20-rated and uses the EtherCAT protocol. It is a binary input card that retrieves control signals from the process level and sends them in an electrically isolated form to higher level units. Like its predecessor, it has an LED status display.
EC fan motors by Olmo Motors are represented by two twin drives, whose power rating is 30W and 20W at an identical speed of 1300 rpm. These IP64-rated motors, fitted with ball bearings, operate in temperatures from -30°C to +50°C and require 230VAC power supply through 0.5m cables. Their current consumption is 220mA for the more powerful device and 150mA for the weaker one.
Littelfuse Safe-T-Plus series fuses are intrinsically safe fuses designed for gasworks, petrochemical industry or processing industry, among others. Fuses by Littelfuse have a small footprint (ca. 8 x 13 mm), are RoHS-compliant and compatible with devices operating even at 125VAC. TME offer includes fuses for 0.062A - 3A applications.
EC fans by SUNON is a series of four products with a dimension of 120 x 120 x 38mm and a 230VAC power supply. With their power consumption oscillating between 2- 5W (37 - 81mA current) they achieve efficiency in the range from 109 m3/h to 185 m3/h at the speed of 2000-3500 rpm. The rotor and housing are made of thermoplastic material, the bearings used in the fans are ball bearings. During operation, the generated noise ranges from 31 to 45dBA, and the weight of the fans is about 330 grams..
ACI 4420 MLU-011 EBM-PAPST axial fan by EBM-PAPST powered by 230VAC voltage is a product with the dimensions of 119 x 119 x 38mm and capacity of 100m3/h. With the power consumption of 1.7W, it reaches 1850 revolutions per minute, provided that it works in the temperature range from -20°C to +75°C. The rotor and housing are made of plastic (IP65-rated). Additional functions of the EBM-PAPST fan include autorestart and an rpm sensor.
Energizer LED torches for use in explosion hazard zones include two twin versions of a hand torch and two models of a head torch. All are intrinsically safe, manufactured to meet class 1 (cat. 1). The 632026 head torch is water and dust resistant (IP64), can withstand a fall from 2 metres and has an impact-resistant lens. It is powered by three AA batteries, thanks to which its diodes achieve the luminosity of 23-75 lumens (min.\max.), and at the same time its continuous operation time ranges from 20 to even 66 hours. The torch offers 4 modes of operation (strong beam, weak beam, red and green), a beam range of up to 45 metres and adjustment of the light beam focus (focused and dispersed light). Of course, the light angle is adjustable. Another interesting improvement is the option of removing the top holding belt.
Head torch: HED-ATEX-2AAA
The ATEX-compliant Energizer handheld LED torches are twin models with a beam range of up to 175 metres and light intensity of 150 lumens. The main differences between both models result from the use of different batteries: the one powered by 2D type batteries has an operating time of up to 65 hours and the other one, powered by AA batteries, up to 12 hours. Both models operate in temperatures from -20°C to +40°C and both are IP67-rated, which guarantees their operation even after 30 minutes of immersion in 1 meter deep water. The torch housings are reinforced to withstand a fall from 1 metre to a concrete surface and profiled to provide a strong grip.
Polyamide and brass cable glands by LAPP is a large group of ATEX-compliant products. These include the KM-M ATEX series (blue polyamide), MS-M ATEX (brass) and LP-M ATEX (brass, black polyamide, blue polyamide). The first are glands with IP68 rating and 1.5 mm thread pitch, available in sizes from M12 to M32. The second is actually one item type, which is a gland with extended M16 thread, with 1.5 mm pitch (IP68). The third series includes several types of glands: M12-M63 brass, M20 black polyamide, M12-M63 blue polyamide, M12-M63 brass with nickel coating, with standard or extended threads.
Cable glands, thread reducers for glands and plugs by Hummel is a vast family of cable accessories, with over a thousand items in the TME catalogue. All of them comply with ATEX requirements. The largest group are glands made of aluminium, brass, stainless steel and polyamide – all of them manufactured to meet the IP66-68 class. Their threads include ranges such as M12-M75, NPT 3/8"-3" and PG7-48, while the spanner size for the described glands falls within 6-227 mm. Thread reducers for glands are a group of about 180 products with IP68 rating, made of brass or stainless steel. Their external threads range from M16 to M63 and from P9 to P48. The range of permissible operating temperatures varies from -60°C to a maximum of +180°C. ATEX-certified gland plugs are a group of almost 200 products made of brass, stainless steel, several varieties of polyamide or elastomers (the latter are press-mounted). They are suitable for glands with M12-M63, NPT 3/8" and PG7-48 threads. Their operating temperature range is identical as in the previous product group. Depending on the series, they are mounted using a flat screwdriver, hex spanner or socket spanner.
Under this product category, TME offers 1-channel optocoupler by VISHAY, marked CNY65EXI. It consists of a phototransistor that is optically coupled with an infrared-emitting diode in a 4-pin plastic package. The components are mounted opposite each other, with a distance of just over 3.0 mm between the input and output. Basic parameters of the optocoupler: THT mounting, 5µs on/off switching time , 11.6 kV isolation voltage, 32V collector-emitter voltage.
This certified calibrator (ATEX II 1G EEx ia IIC T4) is equipped with a built-in pressure/vacuum pump with fine adjustment and a discharge valve. The pressure ranges available to the operator are 30, 100 and 300 PSI (2, 7 and 20 bar) with an accuracy of 0.05%, supported by the internal sensor. It is also possible to measure pressures up to 200 bar, provided that one of the Fluke-700Pxx pressure modules is used. The Fluke 718 Ex calibrator also offers a wide range of pressure measurement units to choose from, allows you to test pressure switches and to measure current with an accuracy of 0.02% and a resolution of 0.001 mA. Its interface is simple (1-button), the meter has minimum and maximum measurement functions and features the HOLD function.
Pressure calibrator: FLK-718EX
This model is a meter that can withstand a fall from 3 meters (when shielded with a protective cover) and meets the requirements of the 61010-1:2001 standard for overvoltage protection.
This multimeter can be used to perform various types of tests and solve power supply problems in ATEX zones 1, 2, 21 or 22 and outside them. The meter is certified to operate in the following zones: I 2G Ex ia IIC T4 Gb and I M1 Ex ia I Ma. Its 4-1/2 digit display enables precise measurements (20000 combinations). Basic parameters of the Fluke 28 II EX multimeter include:
Digital multimeter: FLK-28-2-EX
The robust Fluke 568 infrared thermometer is manufactured in accordance with the requirements of Class I Div 1 and Div 2 or Zone 1 and 2 design safety certificates for hazardous environments, established by internationally recognised safety agencies. It measures temperatures in the range from -40°C to 800°C (-40°F to 1472°F). Its function keys and graphic display allow easy access to advanced functions, while the interface offers five language versions to choose from. The device allows to measure temperature of small objects (distance-to-spot ratio = 50:1). The infrared thermometer has a socket for connecting a temperature probe with a K-type connector. It can measure the temperature of various types of surfaces using the adjustable emissivity function, with a built-in table of materials. It captures up to 99 data points and is useful for precise diagnostics of devices (measurement accuracy up to 1%).
Infrared thermometer: FLK-568EX
The Fluke 707 Ex calibrator features a large display and a rotary switch allowing for single-handed operation. Its basic features and functionalities include:
Loop calibrator: FLK-707EX
Both torch models are durable light sources. They are certified for safety (UL - class I, divisions 1 and 2, ABCD groups; and class II, divisions 1 and 2, EFG groups) and are IP6X- (model 120) and IP67-rated (model 150). Their luminous intensity - provided by the Cree XP-E LED (model 120) and Cree XP-G2 LED (model 150) - is 120 and 150 lumens, respectively, and their beam range is 110 and 200 metres, respectively. They are powered by four AAA batteries, which allow for low-power operation for 69 or 30 hours without interruption.
LED torches: FLK-FL-120EX and FLK-FL-150EX
This model is a small pocket torch, which holds the same certification as the models described above. It is protected against water and dust ingress (IP67). The FL-45 EX torch offers luminosity of 45lm, thanks to the use of the Cree XP-G2 \, while the beam range is 40 metres. It is powered by two AAA batteries, which ensure its continuous operation for 20 hours.
LED torch: FLK-FL-45EX
This model holds the same certification as those described above and is also IP67-rated. The Cree XP-G2 LED emits 100 / 200 lumens of light with a beam range of 75 or 100 meters. The HL-200 EX head torch is powered by three AAA batteries, which ensure its continuous operation for 12 hours.
LED torch: FLK-HL-200EX
Testo 316-EX is a gas leak detector (methane/propane/hydrogen) which, thanks to a flexible measuring probe, enables testing in places that are difficult to reach. An optical and audible alarm informs the user about exceeding the test value. A trend display indicates the maximum leakage of the tested medium. The device offers IP54 rating and is available in a case with an Allen key and batteries. Basic parameters of the detector: operating humidity of 20 to 80 %RH, response time of about 14 seconds (warm-up time of 1 minute), operating temperature range from -5 to +50°C. The detector is powered by two AA batteries approved for use in explosion hazard conditions.
Gas leak detector: TESTO316-EX
BULGIN round EXP connectors are a group of ca. 70 products made of polyester, equipped with 2-10 pins. The contact material is brass, and its coating is made of nickel. The electrical mounting of these connectors is done by means of a screw terminal. Their rated voltage is 250V / 430V / 600V, and the current ranges from 10-18A. The protection class of BULGIN EXP connectors is IP68. They are available in versions with male and female connectors.