Hazardous locations are areas or buildings where fire or explosive hazards may exist because of the presence of flammable gases, vapors, liquids, or dust. These combustibles can be present in many locations, but there must be elevated levels of concentration for an area to be considered a hazardous location. A few examples of potentially explosive environments include oil & gas wells and refineries, fueling stations, chemical plants, paint-finishing shops, and grain storage and transport locations.
Three things are required to create a hazardous location. The first is the fuel, which could be a flammable gas, vapor, liquid or dust; secondly oxygen must be present to support combustion; finally, you need a source of combustion such as a flame, spark, or hot spot. Any machines or electrical/electronic items used in these areas must be constructed in such a way as to not create a source of combustion (no sparks or hot spots).
The US National Electrical Code (NEC) as published by the National Fire Protection Association defines area classifications and safe installation practices. Local Fire Departments and OHSA are responsible for ensuring compliance with the NEC codes.
The NEC has created a Class and Division system to define hazardous locations and characterize the potential explosive threat. The Class is based on the type of hazard and explosive characteristic of a material. Class 1 locations are those in which flammable gases, vapors or liquids are, or may be present in the air, in quantities sufficient to produce explosive or ignitable mixtures. These Class 1 locations are further separated into two Divisions. The frequency of the presence of flammable concentrations defines the Division. Class 1, Division 1 locations have a continuous or intermittent exposure to hazardous materials under normal operating conditions. Class 1, Division 2 locations will only have flammable concentrations under abnormal conditions. The longer the material is present, the greater the risk, and need for electrical/electronic systems that are rated for use within the classified area. OSHA requires all equipment used in hazardous locations to be marked with the Class, Division, Group, and operating temperature range for which it is approved. The Group is another sub-division for Class 1 hazardous locations; Groups A-D includes protection against locations that may be exposed to acetylene, hydrogen, ethylene, and propane. The temperature classification identifies the minimum ignition threshold for hazardous areas. The maximum temperature of a piece of equipment must always be lower than the ignition temperature of a gas or vapor where it is located. Temperature codes range from T1-T6 with maximum operating temperatures of 185°F to 842°F and should be marked on electronic equipment in hazardous locations.
EIC Solutions, Inc. manufactures a ThermoTEC™ Class 1, Division 2 Series of hazardous location, thermoelectric, air conditioners to protect sensitive equipment exposed to dangerous substances. Certified for Groups A-D and a temperature classification of T4 EIC’s Class 1, Division 2 air conditioners are available from 400 – 1,500 BTU/hour cooling, and are also available with heating capabilities. They are certified by a nationally recognized, independent, testing laboratory to meet requirements for use in hazardous locations. These units are also certified by ETL to UL 1995 standards and can be used in both purged and non-purged enclosures. EIC Solutions Class 1, Division 2 air conditioners are available with options including:
EIC Solutions’ NEMA 4X, intrinsically safe, air conditioners are ideal for areas where flammable vapors, liquids, or gases may be present. These Class 1, Division 2 air conditioners are designed to protect electronics, keeping the process running smoothly and safely for facilities exposed to hazardous situations. Available with heating capabilities the Class 1, Division 2, thermoelectric, air conditioners can be used in a variety of hazardous areas worldwide protecting electronic equipment from damaging heat, dust, moisture, and corrosion. If you have an application where hazardous materials may be present contact one of EIC’s knowledgeable sales engineers to review your unique application.
EIC Solutions, Inc. specializes in the design and manufacturing of thermoelectric cooling systems, air-conditioned electronic enclosures, and transit cases for a wide range of industries. Our products have been used in a variety of enclosure cooling applications involving the protection of electronic equipment both indoors and outdoors. EIC Solutions strives to provide the best products, resources, and tools to help customers protect investments in sensitive electronics. If you have questions regarding any of our products please contact us at 800-497-4524.