Thorne & Derrick International, based in the UK, are Experts in Equipment for Explosive Atmospheres & ATEX Product Innovation – we supply and distribute the Technor range of hazardous area explosion proof enclosures and protected electrical equipment which make it possible to safely use instruments, lights, motors and equipment requiring electric power in potentially explosive atmospheres and hazardous areas.
Technor is part of the Marechal Electrical Group, leading manufacturer of ATEX plugs and sockets for hazardous areas and explosive atmospheres.
In this blog we will focus on the chemical industry and importance of correctly selecting Explosion Proof Electrical Equipment that is able to withstand potentially corrosive atmospheres. Let’s start by understanding more about the chemical industry.
The chemical industry converts raw materials into 70,000 different products, and in each chemical sub-sector, we can find a huge variety of flammable substances such as:
• Nitrogen & phosphorus the key nutrients of today’s fertilizers, used to promote plant growth and improve plant cell structure;
• Solvents and additives (thickeners, biocides, antifreeze, etc.), used in the production of paints to obtain certain properties such as colour, viscosity, gloss and durability
• Natural gas, crude oil and chlorine or chlorinated organic substances, the main raw materials in the production of plastics, synthetic fibers and rubber
• Nitroglycerin, the primary component in explosives manufacturing
A variety of legislation and regulations have been implemented in the chemical industry as a direct result of accidents — accidents that could have been avoided if companies had followed necessary safety precautions.
The production of dyes, paints, plastics, rubber, explosives, etc.… involves different processes, which may lead to the emission of hazardous or reactive gases. These gases can form combustible mixtures and, consequently, any source of ignition or spark can trigger the explosion process.
HAZARDS IN CHEMICAL PLANTS
One of the greatest hazards in chemical plants is the possibility of electrostatic discharge when handling dangerous chemicals. In this process, static electricity is generated by surface friction when chemicals are exposed to other materials.
Typically, this involves the product being moved or transferred through pipes, filters, mixers, pumps. Pumps, for example, play a critical role in the handling and transferring of dangerous chemicals, as they are used throughout the chemical supply chain to transfer chemicals from the pipeline or bulk tank, just to name a few applications. Avoiding electrostatic discharge starts with selecting the right equipment to transfer those chemicals.
In bulk production, in particular, all these processes are automated and therefore require electrical power and related motors which need to meet ATEX &/ IECEx criteria.
Other processes applied in this sector include the mixing of substances, distillation, filtration, heating and cooling, solvent extraction, centrifugation and injection. All these processes may cause the release of flammable gases and vapours. As a result, even in this case a thorough selection of ATEX/IECEx equipment is mandatory in order to ensure people and environment protection.
Chemical injection systems, for instance, require an electrical control panel to be started and/or stopped. This panel needs to be ATEX/IECEx certified.
SELECTING THE CORRECT EQUIPMENT
In order to select the correct Ex-proof electrical equipment, it is vital to carry out an assessment of the plant hazards for the risk of explosion. This evaluation is performed considering the area in which a potentially explosive atmosphere may be present, the degree of protection that ATEX/IECEx equipment must ensure and, obviously, the necessary preventive measures to avoid ignition sources to be present during normal operation.
HOW CAN TECHNOR HELP?
Chemical plants require high-standard explosion-proof electrical equipment able to withstand potentially corrosive atmospheres, high pressure, extreme temperatures and areas that contain reactive or explosive gases: the recommended material is surely the stainless steel.
Technor Italsmea can supply a full range of stainless steel Ex-proof enclosures, lighting fixtures and fittings:
• In full compliance with ISO 9001, ATEX, IECEx and EAC requirements;
• For installation in Zones 1, 2, 21, 22 & non-hazardous areas;
• With high resistance to high temperatures;
• With high resistance to corrosion (which can be further improved with electro-polishing treatment);
• Designed to be robust, durable and reliable over the years;
• With long lifetime and low power consumption;
• With low costs of ownership and maintenance;
• Highly recyclable, when product lifetime is over
Technor Italsmea Ex-proof stainless steel product portfolio:
• Explosion Proof Enclosures – EJB Series & GUB/EMH Series
• Hazardous Area Junction Boxes – SB/SBHT Series
• ATEX Push Button Control Station – EFXE Series
• Socket Outlet Combination Boxes – MXBS Series
• Hazardous Pressurized Cabinets – QPREX Series
• Linear Lighting Fixtures (LED/fluorescent) – RMS Series
• Floodlight Ex d Lighting – FL Series
• ATEX Cable Glands & Fittings
By Thorne & Derrick International