Explosion Proof Valves are designed to operate safely in hazardous environments where flammable gases, vapors or liquids may be present. They are able to be used in Zone 1 areas, where hazardous air streams may be known to exist in normal operations, or in Zone 2 environments, where the dangerous materials may only surface during accidents or equipment failure. These units use complex designs that help to prevent sparks (through isolation inside conduits or explosion proof enclosures) from interacting with combustible compounds in the external, applicable environment. These devices usually have thick metal components that contain any explosions, while ensuring that any gasses that escape are properly cooled before entering the surrounding atmosphere.
Often referred to as Ex d, EXb or ATEX certified, these valves have been tested and approved for use in hazardous areas. They are available in a variety of spool and function types to suit most applications.
The terms intrinsically safe and explosion proof are often confused, but they are not the same thing. Intrinsically safe refers to the fact that a piece of equipment cannot cause an explosion, while explosion proof refers to a device’s ability to contain an explosion once it happens.
Both are important safety standards, but they address different issues within the work space. To avoid misunderstandings, it is helpful to understand the differences between these two approaches to safety at a higher level. The following article will discuss the main points that differentiate intrinsically safe equipment from explosion proof equipment, and what the requirements for each are in order to meet the corresponding safety standard.