Many motors, and some generators, operate in areas where there may potentially be atmospheres containing flammable gases. If a spark occurs, these gasses may be ignited, starting a fire or initiating an explosion. The main concern for hazardous gases is in petrochemical plants, but there may also be risks in mines, food processing plants where fine dusts are present, and in some jurisdictions, hydrogen-cooled turbine generators are considered at risk.
To minimize the danger of fires and explosions, government regulators require that the motors and all associated equipment in hazardous, or potentially hazardous, areas be certified for the application. Generally, this means the equipment cannot produce a spark or a hot enough surface that it could ignite the gas; or, if it can produce a spark, the equipment must be ventilated (purged) with a non-flammable gas such as air or nitrogen. A massive body of regulations has grown around this topic, and the regulations tend to be different for each country. To certify that equipment will not ignite a spark, third party testing organizations assess the equipment for compliance to the regulations (e.g. UL, CSA, DNV -GL, etc.).
In the past, equipment suppliers, like Iris Power, would have to have monitoring equipment modified for each country and tended to have third party certifiers for each country. In the past 5 years, there has been some effort to make the regulations more consistent between countries, and have mutual recognition of third party testing. We are still a long way from having one set of regulations, and requiring only one set of testing that is recognized everywhere. However, the International Electrotechnical Commission’s (IEC) Ex initiative is a move in this direction. This initiative started with the IEC’s creation of a series of test requirements (IEC 60079 series) that has been adopted by many countries around the world. Many third party testing companies have now been authorized by IEC to issue certifications after successful passing of the required tests. Many countries will accept these third party tests.
Since many motors are installed in hazardous areas or potentially hazardous locations, Iris Power has been obtaining certifications for the relevant on-line monitors for over 20 years. In particular, our PDTracII on-line PD monitor for motors, including the sensors and the electronics, has been certified for hazardous areas in North America, Europe, Russia and Brazil, amongst others. Other Iris Power products that can be certified for hazardous areas include flux probe sensor kits, Stator Slot Coupler kits (for large steam or gas turbine generators) and the EVA (fiber optic accelerometer) kits.
If you have any questions about the details of the certification for each product, please contact your Iris Power Application Engineer.