Improving Safety by Conforming to Industry Standards and Certifications

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Abstract

Globally, safety standards play a key role in designing and executing gas and flameame detection projects. How can these standards, which might seem cumbersome at times, help users make informed decisions? What information can be used to assist in conforming to standards and maximizing safety?

This paper will analyze standards from an end-user view, will consider standards’ importance in flameame and gas detection, and will assess the value of third-party certifi cations to those standards.

The paper will consider the following classifi cations:

  • Hazardous Location
  • Ingress Protection
  • Performance
  • Safety Integrity Level (SIL)

Defi ning Standards

A standard can be described as a consensus document that defi nes minimum criteria for determination of good engineering practice. Standards vary by world area and by industry. This paper will look at the standards as they relate to analytics and specifi cally to flameame and gas detection devices and systems.

The different standards place varying degrees of importance on given environmental, performance, and risk factors. For example, some standards deal mainly with hazardous locations, while others are concerned with how devices perform given tasks in defi ned environments.

In general, four classifi cations of standards are most relevant to the areas of analytics and specifi cally of flame and gas detection devices and systems:

  • Hazardous Location
  • Ingress Protection
  • Performance
  • Safety Integrity Level (SIL)

Hazardous Location

To determine that a device safely operates in a given location, hazardous location standards defi ne area classifi cations and set requirements for devices that operate in those areas. Specifi c standards are defi ned by two ratings: Explosion Proof and Intrinsically Safe. The ratings fi rst determine if an area has a certain hazard present at all times, sometimes, or rarely. Then the ratings set levels of technical requirements for devices in those conditions.

In short, an intrinsically safe device must never generate the minimum energy required to ignite an explosive atmosphere. An explosion-proof device is designed to contain any source of ignition from escaping the device housing.

Other determining factors to certify devices to the standards include segregation from flameammable gas, and non-incendive circuits and fi eld wiring.

For example, a user might be required to use a UV/ IR flameame detector with an explosion-proof rating in a gas-fume-fi lled petroleum loading station. In that environment, a spark emitted within or from such a device might cause a deadly explosion. Therefore, the design of the detector housing must provide enough mechanical strength to withstand an explosion inside it and enough engineering to cool any internal explosion or flame.

Ingress Protection

Ingress protection (IP) sets the degree of environmental protection that a given device possesses. Used mostly in Europe, but also in the US, IP sets levels describing how well a device resists solid bodies, liquid, or other environmental factors that make their way into the device housing and affect device operation.

EN 60529 (IEC 60529) defi nes the “IP” rating. For example, a device listed as IP 66 (Figure 1) indicates that a device, such as an IR gas detector, is dustprotected and will be protected against heavy seas during operation. This rating is achieved via a robust mechanical design. To be certifi ed, the device must be immersed and continue to function after it dries naturally. In many cases, to achieve a detector that survives the tests, device designers ensure the physical seal is impermeable by using an o-ring seal with cemented joints in the windows and serviceable areas.

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