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Hazardous Location (HAZLOC) is a place where a determined quantity of flammable gases, vapors or dusts  is located during a certain period. In hazardous area, the equipment must be designed to ensure against risk and to establish a safety working or staying conditions. Not certified electrical elements could be a risk factor and it is to prevent explosions and fires that many certification are required.


Explosion-proof Vehicles CertificationsAlkè electric vehicles certifications following the current regulations and all our electric vehicles are tested and certified as explosion-proof vehicles. Alkè, in fact, can provide certified explosion-proof electric vehicles that can operate in many different hazardous areas such as chemical and petrochemical industries, production sites of mineral oil and natural gas, construction and maintenance and many other sectors.
The first aim of this article is try to give a summary of the most important certifications and regulations about HAZLOC and answer the following question:

 

Which are the most important regulations in terms of Hazardous Locations?

 

IEC 60079-10-1 and IEC 60079-10-2 Guideline Classification

IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) is a Geneva headquartered nonprofit organization that develops and publishes standard concerning electrical technologies. IEC standards reach over 150 countries.
Potentially explosive environments are classified depending on the frequency and duration of the explosive atmosphere condition. This classification was established according to Annex II section A in the Directive 1999/92/EC in conjunction with Annex I of the Directive 94/9/EC.

Gas Zones Classification

In industrial areas, gas zones are usually divided in four different areas: Non-Hazardous Area, Zone 2 Area (or Division 2), Zone 1 Area (or Division 1) and Zone 0 Area. This classification is taken in according to frequency and duration of explosive or flammable gasses or vapor exposition.

Non-Hazardous Area, on chemical, petrochemical or other industries, is present where is absolutely certain that the hazardous gas presence is report as a concentration below 25% of its lower flammable limit (or lower explosive limit). Non-Hazardous Area is a place where there are no explosive or flammable gases and the cleaning product gasses, for example, could represent the main risk. These zones are areas identified as offices or residences and are listed as safe areas. This class presents a low explosion or fire risk.

Zone 2 Area is quite more dangerous than a safe area. In these areas, you can find the presence of gas or vapor just in case of abnormal conditions. In this case, areas hazard is determined by dangerous gasses (or vapor) low presence and, these unwanted substances, must be present less than 10 hours/year or under 0-0.1% of time.

Zone 1 Area is an area where vapor or gas is present, under normal conditions, during long periods. In Zone 1 the substances can be present in a space of 10-1000 hours/year or during 0.1-10% of the time.

Zone 0 Area is an area where the unwanted hazardous substances (gasses or vapors) are present all the time. Following the guide definition, Zone 0 is a place where explosive or flammable gasses, or vapors, are present over 1000 hours/year or more than 10% of time.
 
The image below is an example and shows the zone classification in a filling station.
 
Electric Vehicles Atex Zone 
 

Dust Zones Classifications

IEC classification divides Dust Zones in three kind of areas: Zone 22, Zone 21 and Zone 20.
Zone 22 is an environment where a cloud of combustible dust is present. In Zone 22, the atmosphere dangerous conformation is not usually and it doesn't occur during normal operations but, if it occurs it will persist just for a short period.

Zone 21 is an area where the cloud of explosive dusts persists during routine operations, normally.

Zone 20 is a high explosion hazardous area where a cloud of combustible dusts is constantly (or for long periods or frequently) present in the atmosphere.

USA: ANSI/NFPA/NEC Areas Description

In United States regulations are quite different. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) published NFPA 70 – The National Electric Code that defines the area classification.
The NFPA 70 in article 500 describes the Class/Division classification and it was made according to IEC classification whit the aim to reduce the management complexity.

Article 500 Class/Division Classification

The NFPA 70 classed three different categories that combine gasses, liquids, dusts and fibers: Class I, Class II, Class III. A further classification divides each class in two division (Division 1 and Division 2).

Class I: gasses, liquids and vapors
As Class I / Division 1 is classified an environment where the concentration of flammable or explosive gasses, vapors, or liquids is present continuously or frequently during the normal operation
As Class I / Division 2 is classified an environment where the same unwanted ignitable concentration of flammable substances are presents just under abnormal operating conditions
 
Class II: dusts
Class II / Division 1 is about dusts. In this division classification, it’s possible to find all the areas where an ignitable concentration of combustible dust are present in environment atmosphere during the normal operations.
Class II /Division 2, in this class, instead, combustible dusts are present in atmosphere only under abnormal operating conditions.
 
Class III: fibers or materials
In Class III / Division 1 fiber or materials producing combustible smokes are present in normal conditions.
Class III / Division 2 classifies the areas where ignitable fibers or materials producing combustibles smokes under abnormal conditions.

Specific Protections Classification

To work in HAZLOC an appropriate equipment is required. Specifics Authorities test and certificate the equipment following the classification standards.
The specific process of equipment classification in categories (Category 1, Category 2 and Category 3), is based on the equipment protection level. In this classification, Category 1 represent the highest safety level, Category 2 the lowest. Category 1 equipment it's used in Zone 0, 1 or 2, Category 2 equipment it's used in zone 1 or 2 and Category 3 equipment it's used only in zone 2 areas.
Looking at the picture below it's possible to find a summary of the different kind of protection equipment and its different uses.

Equipment

The equipment must be labelled. The equipment labelling is required by law and confirm the certification, admitting the equipment use in dangerous areas.

Different countries use different labelling process

Europe uses a label that shows the ATEX certification and the CE signature joined with the Ex mark. In the label should be indicated the Group, Category and if it's a group II equipment it should be shown the indication relating to gasses (G) or Dust (D). For example Ex II 2G/D (Explosion protected, Group 2, Category 2, Gas/Dust)


Label ATEX certification and the CE signature

 

In North America a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (such as UL, MET, FM, CSA) must test and certify the equipment for a specific hazardous area. The label lists the Class (or Classes), Division (or Divisions) and, sometimes, may lists the Group (or Groups) and the temperature Code. Near to the label is possible to find the mark of the listing agency.

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Alkè explosion-proof vehicle and certifications

Alkè explosion-proof vehicles are usually developed and certified in according to ATEX 94/9/EC but to satisfy specific customer needs also other certifications such as EX/EE according to USA regulations UL583 or others can be applied.
Alkè professional staff can always suggest the best vehicle for each need and provide the correct certification in accord to the specific country regulation.

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