Explosive atmospheres can occur in environments with volatile gases or excessive dust, and many times all it takes to set off an explosion is a single spark. Exposure to that spark, however, can be prevented through the use of properly rated electronic connectors and explosion proof cables.
Applications of Explosion Proof Connectors
Explosion proof connectors are used in a wide variety of applications. It makes sense that these connectors (and explosion proof cables) would be necessary for chemical manufacturing, aircraft fueling pods, land and offshore drill rigs, and petrochemical refineries because of the obvious risk of explosion. The pharmaceutical manufacturing industry also deals with volatile chemicals, and even refining flour or sugar can produce potentially explosive dust atmospheres.
Explosion Proof Equipment Classifications
Zone and Division Classifications
One of the first aspects of explosion protection equipment classifications involves zones, which are used to indicate two things: the probability of how frequently an explosive atmosphere exists, and the duration of time an explosive atmosphere exists. These classifications are essential to specifying the correct explosion proof connector for critical applications.
In zone 0, there are long or continuous periods where an explosive atmosphere exists under normal operating conditions. In zone 1, explosive atmospheres are likely to exist either under normal operating conditions or because of leakage, maintenance operations, or repairs. Zone 2 rarely has explosive atmospheres.
Likewise, a division 1 classification means that flammable material is likely to be present under normal conditions or frequently become present as a result of equipment failure or maintenance work. A division 2 classification means that flammable materials are normally present in closed containers or systems and only escape in the event of an accident.
An explosive atmosphere can take one of four forms: combustible gases, combustible vapors, combustible mists, and combustible dust. Zones 0, 1, and 2 include combustible gases, vapors, and mists.
ATEX/IECex Descriptors for Specifying Explosion Proof Connectors
Perhaps an actual example of a line of connectors will help illustrate the many different ratingsinvolved here. Amphenol Star-Line EX Connectors are certified for Zone 1 Ex d IIC hazardous environment, IP68 rated, and IECex certified (IECex 60079).
Zone 1 Ex d means it is safe for use in Zone 1 explosive atmospheres. Ex d represents the type of protection: d is flameproof, while Ex m is encapsulated in a resin type material, and Ex i is intrinsically safe.
IIC hazardous environment means it is safe for environments that contain acetylene, hydrogen, carbon disulfide or gases and vapors of equivalent hazard. Other hazardous environment classifications include:
- IIA for atmosphere containing propane, acetone, benzene, butane, methane, petrol, hexane, paint solvents or gases and vapors of equivalent hazard
- IIB for atmosphere containing ethylene, propylene oxide, ethylene oxide, butadiene, cyclopropane, ethyl ether, or gases and vapors of equivalent hazard
Explosion Proof Connector Product Lines
There are a few different explosion proof connector and explosion proof cable products on the market, including two Amphenol ATEX connectors, Amphenol cable assemblies, and Trolex connectors.
Amphenol ATEX Explosion Proof Connectors and Amphenol Cable Assemblies
Amphenol ATEX connectors are appropriate for use in hazardous environments. Some products that meet the requirements for these demanding applications include the Amphenol Amphe-EX connector series and Amphenol Star-Line EX connectors. These Amphenol ATEX connectors are both ATEX certified for Zone 1 use and are also IECex certified. In addition, PEI-Genesis is the only distributor that is SIRA certified to build Amphenol explosion proof connectors using Amphe-EX and Star-Line EX connectors and is also BASEEFA competent to build Amphenol cable assemblies for use with them in hazardous environments.
In addition to the Amphenol ATEX connectors and explosion proof cable assemblies, there is also the award-winning Trolex Falcon connector line. These Trolex connectors are ATEX explosion proof and IECex certified Ex d multi-pin bayonet connectors that are ideal for data and power cables in aggressive (and potentially explosive) environments in industrial settings.
PEI-Genesis Knows Explosion Proof Connectors
PEI-Genesis carries the most commonly used ATEX explosion proof electronic connectors. Our engineering team has extensive experience when it comes to designing connectors and cable assemblies for EX hazardous zones. We are also BASEEFA-competent and FPAL-registered.
Contact PEI-Genesis today and we can assist you with all your hazardous environment design needs.