Enhancing Safety in Leak Detection with Highly Flammable Gases

SL3000EX Sniffer Line now certified

SL3000X Sniffer Line

The HVACR and automotive industries are undergoing a period of change, driven by environmental legislation such as the regulation of fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-gases). While existing EU legislation has already significantly reduced the use of F-gases, new rules will further reduce their emissions into the atmosphere and help limit global temperature rise in line with the Paris Agreement.

Safety Challenges in Leak Testing

In response to growing concerns about global warming potential, industrial manufacturers are being forced to adopt refrigerants with lower environmental impact. Saturated hydrocarbons such as ethane, propane and butane, present in natural gas, are standing out as environmentally friendly solutions thanks to their low global warming potential (GWP). Their highly flammable nature, however, poses safety challenges in leak detection processes.

To address the safety concerns associated with leak detection with highly flammable gases, manufacturers in both HVACR and automotive industries are introducing more and more rigorous safety measures during leak testing. Regulations in most countries require that facilities handling flammable substances are assessed to identify associated risks. This typically means that an area with elevated risks is declared as a hazardous location and given a Zone of Division rating. The actual rating of these specialized zones decides what electrical and non-electrical equipment may be introduced and used in that location.  This risk assessment and equipment selection is made to mitigate the risks associated with the handling of the flammable refrigerant.

INFICON continuously develops products to meet the market needs and is now extending its product portfolio of certified intrinsically safe products for use in hazardous locations to include the SL3000EX Sniffer Line for leak detection with highly flammable refrigeration gases.

SL3000EX Sniffer Line from INFICON

SL3000EX sniffer line is an accessory to Ecotec E3000 multi-gas leak detector from INFICON.  SL3000EX is certified for use in Zone 2 and corresponding US/Canada location Class 1 Div 2. Being certified it meets the stringent safety standards required for leak detection on products filled with gases in gas group IIA, corresponding to Group D in the division system.

The saturated hydrocarbons considered; Ethane R170, Propane R270 and Butane R600 and R600 all belong to Gas Group IIA (Group D in Division system) and are thus covered by the SL3000Ex certification.

Ecotec and SL3000X Sniffer Line
Ecotec and SL3000X Sniffer Line

A Zone 2 or Division 2 location is an area where flammable atmosphere would be present only in abnormal conditions. This means that the concentration of flammable gas in the room would only be above the lower flammability level LFL (often called LEL) if some safety device is malfunctioning.

The typical measures for creating a Zone 2 are adequate ventilation and gas alarms shutting gas supply if concentration in the room raises. The ventilation should be strong enough to dilute gas escaping from the expected amount of leakage.

Do you want to know more?

Are you using flammable gases in your operations and want to learn more about leak detection with the SL3000EX sniffer line? Contact our experts

Do you want to learn more about regulations and how to comply? Read more here:

On-Demand Webinar

For a more detailed explanation of how to create a safer test environment, attend our on-demand webinar 

“Leak testing for EX zones/HazLocs - Flammable refrigerants in manufacturing”
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