Hazardous Location AND Overheating Electronics? We Have You Covered!

Here in Ohio, we like to think we know a lot about the weather. Did you know there are more than 4 seasons? Heck, we have at least two Winters, and then a Pre-Summer, Spring, Summer, Heat is still coming – make it stop season, and Fall. Don’t forget the construction season where the lovely orange cones and barrels bloom on every major roadway, and then we also like to throw in brood weeks for the cicadas every now and then. Yeah, we get a full gambit of weather and the past week has brought out some heat. I know this isn’t just Ohio, we get calls from around the globe of atmospheric conditions that have caused issues within control panels. Some of these panels are in areas where the No Smoking sign is more than just a suggestion to better your health.

1 – Dust Explosion

That’s right, there are areas in manufacturing facilities that are governed by the standard due to a variety of conditions resulting in what is known as Hazardous Locations. NFPA and UL have a list of standards breaking these down into separate Classes, Divisions, and Temperature Classes. If you want all the details, the NFPA code is around 908 pages, cover to cover. The Classified UL mark shown below is one way of knowing that a product has been tested to these stringent standards and is okay to use in clearly marked environments.

UL Classified Markings

EXAIR offers Cabinet Cooler Systems that will meet these stringent standards and keep your enclosures cool in order to keep your production up and running. The top three tiers that we meet are:

  • Class I Div 1, Groups A, B, C and D
  • Class II Div 1, Groups E, F and G
  • Class III

The HazLoc Cabinet Cooler Systems are available in 8 different cooling capacities from 1,000 Btu/hr to 5,600 Btu/hr. and are manufactured to work in conjunction with a purged and pressurized control system. As well as with or without thermostatic control.

EXAIR’s Hazarous Location Cabinet Cooler Systems maintain Type NEMA 4/4X Integrity and are CE Compliant.

If you would like help sizing the correct system for your electrical panels, feel free to use the link, or contact an Application Engineer to discuss the applications and get one sized while on the phone with us.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

1 – Dust explosion 05.jpg, Hans-Peter Scholz, October 7, 2009, retrieved from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dust_explosion_05.jpg

Class I Div 1, Groups A, B, C, and D – Explained

There are a number of hazards to be considered when using electrical equipment in areas where flammable, combustible, or explosive elements do (or might) exist.  The National Electric Cod (NEC) has a system to delineate areas by Class, Division, and Group, based on the specific nature of the hazard.  There are three Classes, each with two Divisions, and a number of Groups that may apply to each of those Divisions.  Today, we’re going to learn about Class I, Div 1, and the Groups that EXAIR HazLoc Cabinet Cooler Systems are designed for use in.

“Class I” simply means that ignitable concentrations of flammable gases, vapors, or airborne liquids can exist under normal operating conditions.  Examples of such areas include:

  • Refineries
  • Distilleries
  • Fuel storage facilities
  • Spray paint/coating booths

Now, not every single square foot of such areas have ignitable elements in the atmosphere all the time; Class I just means they can have them.  This is where the Divisions come in.

“Div 1” means that these ignitable elements can exist during normal operations, as opposed to “Div 2” which means it’s possible, but not likely.  A good example of the difference here might be a paint booth: inside a paint booth, normal operation is DEFINED as volatile liquid (paint) being discharged into the atmosphere in a spray of fine droplets – hence, that would be Class I, Div 1.  The area adjacent to the paint booth should only have that spray of fine droplets in the air if, say, the exhaust hood of the paint booth failed, or if an operator inadvertently sprayed paint outside the booth, etc…any event or condition that’s possible, but not likely – hence, that would be Div 2.

Not only are hazardous areas classified by Class (nature of the hazardous material,) and Division (likelihood of existence of it,) but they’re further delineated by the type of hazardous material, and these are sorted into Groups.  For Class I (gases, vapors or airborne liquids,) four Groups are applicable.  Materials fall into these groups (with one exception) based on two properties:

  • Maximum Experimental Safe Gap (MESG) – this is a standardized measurement of how easily a gas flame (produced by the ignition of the material) will pass through a narrow gap, bordered by heat-absorbing metal.  
  • Minimum Igniting Current (MIC) ratio, which is the ratio of the minimum electrical current required to ignite the material, by the minimum current required to ignite methane under the same conditions.

Group A is the above mentioned exception.  Because acetylene, of all hazardous materials detailed across the different groups, results in the most violent explosion when ignited, it gets a group all to itself.

Group B is for flammable gases, liquids, and vapors with a MESG less than 0.45mm, and a MIC ratio of 0.40 or less.  Hydrogen, butadiene, ethylene oxide, propylene oxide, and acrolein are popular examples of such materials.

Group C materials have a MESG less than 0.75mm and a MIC ratio less than 0.80 (but greater than 0.40, which would put it in Group B.)  Carbon monoxide, ether, hydrogen sulfide, morphline, cyclopropane, ethyl, isoprene, acetaldhyde and ethylene are some good examples.

Group D consists of all other flammable gases, vapors & liquids with MESG’s over 0.75mm and MIC ratios greater than 0.80.  Gasoline, acetone, ammonia, and benzene are common examples.  Methane is also in Group D, which gives perspective on the materials in the other Groups, which all have a fractionally lower Minimum Igniting Current than methane…the lower the MIC ratio, the lower the current needed for ignition, and therefore, the placement in a more restrictive Group.

EXAIR HazLoc Cabinet Cooler Systems are engineered and approved for use in Class I, Div 1, Groups A, B, C, or D environments.  If you have an electrical panel that needs heat protection in such an area, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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