Why Do We Need Explosion Proof Equipment?

Submitted by Kristian on Sat, 01/14/2023 - 03:40

Why Do We Need Explosion Proof EquipmentWhy Do We Need Explosion Proof Equipment?

One of the best ways to give yourself peace of mind in a mining environment is to consider the use of explosion proof equipment. Mining environments are some of the most dangerous environments on earth.The tiniest of sparks could potentially set off a chain reaction that leads to multiple injuries or the chance that equipment could be completely destroyed. Explosion Proof equipment is one of the best investments for your mining site and in the prevention of serious shutdowns. 

Equipment that is explosion proof comes with the UL certification seal as a designated type of classification that sets it apart from other forms of mining equipment. These devices come with their own enclosure that can act as an external cooler preventing the chance for the explosion or sparks from reaching into the atmosphere or igniting various components are gasses. Regular equipment maintenance will make sure the protection along the outside of explosion proof equipment can prevent these accidents.

The use of explosion proof equipment will make sure that you can reduce the chance for damage and hazardous areas. Venting alongside the equipment will ensure that devices can properly cool without potentially igniting dust or other hazardous items in the environment. The buildup of flammable dust around equipment can be a constant threat to any mining site and with this added layer of protection if possible to prevent incidents that would regularly occur. 

Safety and Increased Productivity

Materials used to manufacture this type of equipment need to be of the best quality and whether it is in a monitoring device or some type of electrical equipment there needs to be proven solutions that demonstrate longer shelf life and long-term benefits for the product. 

This type of equipment is built out of the highest standard of building components and external casing. Every element is designed to last and offer excellence in a mining site for preventing accidents. This type of equipment does often require a bit more investment but it's well worth it in the prevention of downtime and accidents. 

Explosion Proof equipment can add to productivity levels in the workplace and investing in the safety measures can reduce hazardous areas that would experience downtime due to broken equipment or accidents. Everything from the installation of explosion proof lighting fixtures down to explosion proof electrical equipment for mining sites introduces an increasing productivity. 

Investing in explosion proof equipment also offers a recognition of high standards of equipment and employee loyalty. When employees see that a company is investing in them in their safety they are much more likely to offer greater efficiency as well as less sick time. 

How Has the Mining Equipment Improved Over Time?

Since the days of miners dragging canaries into coal mines, explosion-proof equipment has advanced a lot.

A canary is a person who sees dangers before anyone else in a coalmine. This idiom is derived from the fact that miners used the birds to detect underground dangerous gas emissions. When the canaries died, workers were notified to evacuate the mine immediately. This basic alarm system was greatly improved over time.

Take a Trip Down Memory Lane

In the 19th century, the first attempts at designing explosion-proof equipment were made. To protect the flame, fuel-based oil lamps were fitted with a cylindrical enclosure made of glass. It was quite primitive and a lot of mining accidents were occurring at that time. Safety equipment was developed to reduce the human deaths and material damage.

In the early 20th century, electricity was introduced to the mines. It made life easier for miners as they could rely on electric motors, better lighting in tunnels, and communication with outside. Carl Beyling, a German mining engineer, developed several protection methods that are the predecessors of Ex flameproof protection. The parts that are susceptible to ignition in an explosive atmosphere will be protected by flameproof protection. This means that they can be contained within an enclosure that can resist the pressure and force generated during an explosion.

In the first ten years of the 20th Century, it was discovered that mine explosions could be caused by gasses and coal dust. After a series of mine explosions in America and Europe, authorities began to investigate the situation and took the first steps to ensure the safety of their workers. Dust and the possibility of explosion are also present in other industries. As explosive as coal dust, flour, sugar and sawdust can also be explosive. Spark ignition can also trigger explosions from gasses, mists, and vapors.

Future Direction of Explosion Protection Research

In the context of U.S. mining law, the fundamental question is: How can new explosion protection techniques not reduce the protection afforded to the miner? This comparison is difficult without considering all factors that contribute to an explosion risk, including the equipment protection technique, mine ventilation, monitoring the atmosphere, maintenance of equipment, and reliability. Although it is obvious that these techniques are the most effective in providing explosion protection on an equipment-based basis, does that mean that new technologies cannot be introduced to improve safety or health? Alternative explosion protection methods could be used to develop more affordable and practical atmospheric monitors with integrated system shutoff, rather than the ones currently being used in the U.S. mine industry. If this is true, could explosion risks and/or potential hazards be reduced by better monitoring in more parts of the mine with integrated equipment shutoff? If yes to both of these questions, then it may be necessary to find a better method of determining an equivalent level of protection. There are several possible methods, including system-level methods like those described in the IEC61508 standard for Safety instrumented systems. This standard provides guidelines for quantitatively assessing the Safety Integrity Levels (SIL) for systems.

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Integrating proper explosion proof equipment in a hazardous work area is one of the most beneficial tasks that you can take on. After integrating various forms of explosion proof equipment, making sure that you are regularly looking at the maintenance and safety of this equipment will make sure that you can keep eye safety standards. If you're interested in learning more about the best types of equipment that you could integrate into your mining site, contact our team at Becker Mining today.