Intrinsically Safe Solutions for Accurate Weighing in Hazardous Areas
Accidents in hazardous areas can have dramatic consequences for businesses in terms of both human life and profit. Intrinsically safe equipment is essential to ensure safety and to comply with hazardous area regulations.
Since it was introduced in non-mining applications, intrinsic safety has evolved to become one of the most commonly used protection methods in process industries. Today, intrinsic safety is one of the safest and most advanced methods of ignition protection which is applied in the design and manufacturing of weighing equipment.
Intrinsically safe technology prevents explosions by ensuring that the energy transferred to a hazardous area is well below the energy required to initiate an explosion. As such, it is restricted to electrical apparatuses and circuits in which the output or consumption of energy is limited. Intrinsically safe systems enable equipment to be used without risk of igniting any flammable gas, dust or fibers that may be present in hazardous areas.
An electrical circuit is intrinsically safe when it produces energy below the minimum ignition energy, which is defined by the appropriate standards.
Eliminating the risk of ignition
An intrinsically safe weighing system is different from a standard weighing system. It combines intrinsically safe elements, associate elements and special approved wiring with standard equipment that is installed in the non-hazardous safe area. In a hazardous area, all elements of the system must be compatible to form an intrinsically safe system.
As many industrial processes incorporate aggressive chemical agents, scales in industrial environments must withstand not only the harsh conditions due to corrosion, but also have an inherently safe design to withstand an explosive and flammable atmosphere. Also, the requirements for many weighing applications in which intrinsically safe weighing systems can be applied are very different. Among them are train and truck scales, tank weighing, filling and dispensing applications, conventional bench and floor scales and control of weighing terminals. A comprehensive range of modular intrinsically safe components can be flexibly combined to work together in an intrinsically safe system and in all types of hazardous areas. That ensures not only an efficient and riskless weighing process, but also simple installation, maintenance and technical documentation registration that meet the company’s safety requirements.
Flexible and efficient maintenance
One of its greatest benefits is that intrinsic safety enables equipment maintenance within hazardous areas. There is no need to interrupt the power supply and to obtain a gas clearance certificate, which is necessary with, for example, open flameproof equipment. This especially applies to instrumentation because fault finding on de-energized equipment is more complex and time consuming.
Intrinsically safe technology provides a flexible and modular solution to most industrial applications within hazardous areas. It is possible to communicate with multiple components through specially designed barriers.
Intrinsically safe equipment and its components, such as cables and cable glands, are relatively inexpensive. Therefore, the installation costs, and costs of maintenance and inspection when using intrinsically safe equipment, are significantly lower compared to other existing protection methods.
In addition, it is the only technique that limits power output. With intrinsically safe equipment, no sparks or increasing temperature in the electrical circuit can ignite the surrounding atmosphere.
Moreover, the technology is globally accepted by the international certification bodies IECEx, as well as most of the local legislations, such as ATEX in Europe and FM in the USA.
Intrinsically safe equipment generally satisfies all dust and gas legislative requirements and it can essentially be used for every industrial application.
Finally, intrinsic safety offers the best level of safety and accuracy in all hazardous areas. The technology is safer and less prone to accidental errors than other protection methods. It ensures high uptime in the case of an incident, unlike any other protection methods.
Combining safety and functionality
There are several options when it comes to ignition protection in hazardous environments. Installing intrinsically safe weighing equipment is the safest method, providing highest accuracy and reliable weighing results. Global acceptance by IECEx, ATEX, FM and other relevant local certification bodies provides additional safety assurance.
METTLER TOLEDO focuses on the development of intrinsically safe weighing systems. These weighing solutions offer the highest level of safety and accuracy, combined with broad functionality and low installation and maintenance cost. A wide range of high precision weighing platforms ensures fast and accurate weighing results in applications such as filling, dosing or batching.
Intrinsically safe weighing modules and control weighing terminals with a broad range of communication interfaces provide a full scope of functionality, and enable flexible and modular hazardous area solution setup.
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Download the Hazardous Area Catalog
This comprehensive catalog is specially developed to help you select the right hazardous area equipment for your application. The catalog covers:
- Regulatory guidance
- Area classification
- Manual and process weighing terminals
- High-precision weighing scales
- Weighing modules and load cells
- Truck scales