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Selecting Explosion-Proof Equipment For The Chemical Industry
May 26, 2023

Selecting Explosion-Proof Equipment For The Chemical Industry

The chemical industry produces various chemicals and chemical products daily. These facilities are typically involved in manufacturing a wide range of products we use in our daily lives, such as fertilisers, plastics, pharmaceuticals, and paints. However, producing such chemicals poses a significant risk to the safety of workers and the environment due to the potential hazards associated with handling chemicals.

Explosions and fires are some of the most common hazards that chemical plants face. Any negligence can cause an accident, resulting in significant damage, loss of life, and property damage. Therefore, it is crucial for businesses to ensure that the correct explosion-proof equipment, like explosion-proof LED light fixtures and explosion-proof plugs, are in place to minimise the risks associated with handling chemicals in the industry.

What are the potential hazards in a chemical plant?

What are the potential hazards in a chemical plant

Chemical plants utilise various raw materials during production. Many of which are highly flammable. Some of the notable substances include:

  • Nitrogen and phosphorus, which are crucial ingredients for the production of fertilisers.
  • Solvents and additives (antifreeze, biocides, and thickeners) are used to manufacture paints.
  • Nitroglycerin, which is the primary component in explosives manufacturing.
  • Crude oil, chlorine, and natural gases are the primary materials in producing plastics, rubber, and synthetic fibres. 

The production process usually involves various procedures, which may lead to the generation of hazardous or reactive gases. These gases can form combustible mixtures, triggering an explosion in the presence of any source of ignition or spark. So any electrical equipment within the plant must be explosion-proof.

For example, explosion-proof plugs must be used to connect electrical equipment to prevent sparks or arcs from being generated when it is connected or disconnected from an electrical outlet.

Another significant risk in chemical plants is the presence of electrostatic discharge when handling hazardous chemicals. During production, static electricity may be generated by surface friction when chemicals are exposed to other materials. Therefore, any electrical equipment used during production must meet ATEX and IECEx criteria to prevent electrostatic discharge.

Other processes, such as the mixing of substances and solvent extraction, may also cause flammable gases and vapours to be released into the atmosphere. So explosion-proof LED light fixtures are required to illuminate the environment safely. Explosion-proof junction boxes must also be installed to start and/or halt any electrical equipment in the chemical plant. 

How to select the correct explosion-proof electrical equipment?

How to select the correct explosion-proof electrical equipment

Selecting the correct explosion-proof electrical equipment is critical in ensuring the safety of the workers and the environment in a chemical plant. Let us share the crucial factors to consider beforehand.

Factor #1: Type of hazard

The first step in selecting explosion-proof electrical equipment is identifying the type of hazard present in the work environment. The enclosure must be designed to withstand the specific hazards it will be exposed to in the chemical plant. For example, if an explosion-proof junction box is intended for use in an area where flammable gases or vapours are present, it must be designed to prevent sparks from igniting the gases or vapours.

Factor #2: Certification standards

All explosion-proof equipment must meet the certification standards set by ATEX and IECEx. These certifications demonstrate that the device has undergone rigorous testing and meets the required safety standards.

Factor #3: Manufacturer's expertise

When it comes to safety, there can be no compromise. So it is essential to work with a reputable manufacturer with a proven track record of producing high-quality equipment that meets the certification standards. Additionally, they must be able to provide prompt technical support and after-sales services to ensure that the equipment is installed and maintained correctly.

Learn More: 4 Mistakes To Avoid When Implementing Intrinsic Safety Measures

How can Supermec help?

At Supermec, we provide a comprehensive range of explosion-proof junction boxes and explosion-proof LED light fixtures in compliance with ATEX and IECEx regulations. With over 40 years of experience in the industry and a proven track record of providing high-quality explosion-proof equipment, you can rest assured that our products are designed to withstand the harsh conditions of a chemical plant. Contact us today to learn how we can help you.