Intrinsically safe instruments for safe leak detection in hazardous environments

In areas where flammable substances are handled, even a small leak can quickly turn into a major safety hazard if it goes undetected. Certified, explosion protected leak detectors are crucial safety devices for use in such hazardous locations as they cannot create sparks or high temperatures that could ignite combustible substances present in the ambient.

When you work at process and petrochemical plants, for example, you can be tasked with monitoring jobs to detect and prevent the release of potentially explosive gases, liquids, or vapors. Without explosion protected devices, you would be at an increased risk of explosions, fires, and other safety hazards. By detecting and identifying flammable substance leaks quickly, explosion protected leak detectors allow for safe inspections and safe evacuation of the area, preventing injuries and saving lives.

inficon_IRwin_12juni_1775 Low Res
inficon_IRwin_12juni_1775 Low Res

The most common type of protection for portable leak detectors is called intrinsic safety. This means that electronic circuitry is designed to prevent any ignition source, even in the case of equipment malfunctions.

Fredrik Enquist, Development Manager at INFICON AB with twenty years’ experience in Ex-products development says that “the importance of explosion protected leak detectors in hazardous locations cannot be overstated.” Enquist explains that national and regional regulations make it illegal to use non-certified equipment in hazardous locations.

Intrinsically safe instruments provide early warning of potential leaks, allowing for prompt repairs and maintenance, which can help prevent more extensive damage to machinery or facilities.
Fredrik 01
Fredrik Enquist
Development Manager, INFICON AB

In addition to their life-saving benefits, Ex-certified leak detection devices can help companies save money by reducing the risk of costly accidents, equipment damage and downtime. “They provide early warning of potential leaks, allowing for prompt repairs and maintenance, which can help prevent more extensive damage to machinery or facilities,” says Enquist.

Equipment intended for use in potentially explosive areas must comply with several regulations, standards and directives before they can be traded. Enquist continues, “First of all, the protection must match or exceed the risks classification of the area in which the instruments are used. The classification is based on likelihood of flammable atmosphere to be present and which flammable substances that could be present. Based on this, intrinsically safe equipment must be designed with a suitable level of safety, like redundancy in fault tolerance, and limitation of possible temperature and spark energy.”

The certification is in most cases made by an accredited laboratory like an NRTL or Notified Body. For the higher levels of safety for high-risk areas there is also a requirement for third party quality assessment audits.

Are you looking for Ex-certified alternatives for leak detection? 

The IRwin® Methane Leak Detector and Extrima® Hydrogen Leak Detector from INFICON are certified, intrinsically safe for the highest level of safety for use in Zone 0 and Class I, Div 1 locations.

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