Class III Hazardous Locations Defined

The National Electrical Code (NEC) has a system for classifying areas deemed hazardous due to flammable or combustible materials. When an area is considered classified, extreme caution needs to be taken to ensure nothing within that area provides a possible ignition source. In the US, Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) provides third-party certification for products that can safely be used in these areas. EXAIR’s newest addition to the longstanding line of Cabinet Coolers was our Hazardous Location Cabinet Cooler. Designed and built with these types of applications in mind, the Hazardous Location Cabinet Cooler has been independently certified by UL for use in Hazardous Locations in Class I Div 1, Groups A, B, C, and D; for use in Class II Div 1, Groups E, F, and G; and also in Class III areas.

Class III areas can often be overlooked as the materials that generally create a Class III area may not always be considered “explosive” by nature. In Class III areas, the risk of combustion occurs due to the presence of ignitable fibers or materials that produce or process combustible flyings. According to the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), combustible flyings are defined as solid particles, including fibers, where one dimension is greater than 500µ in size, which can form an explosive mixture with air at standard atmospheric pressure and temperature. These areas are most commonly found within the textile and woodworking industries. The video below, posted to YouTube by News Center Maine, shows just how violent an explosion due to wood fibers can be:

When using a Hazardous Location Cabinet Cooler in a Class III area, it’s important to keep the Cabinet Cooler and immediately surrounding area free of settling debris. Implement a regular inspection, and cleaning procedure if necessary, to ensure that the flyings/textiles don’t accumulate on the Cabinet Cooler.

If you have control panels installed in a hazardous location and are sick of the nonstop maintenance associated with an A/C type system, the Hazardous Location Cabinet Cooler is the right tool for you. Contact an Application Engineer today for help determining the most suitable model for your enclosures.

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer
E-mail: TylerDaniel@EXAIR.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_TD

UL Classified Certification for HazLoc Cabinet Coolers

Although history only records back so far, I am certain (based on my experiences with sharp and heavy objects) that humans have been injuring themselves with tools, and the stuff they make with them, since the beginning of time.  In fact, recorded history DOES bear this out…the famous Code of Hammurabi (circa 1750 B.C.) set specific amounts of compensation for specific injuries, as did laws from all over the ancient world, from the empires of Rome to China.  Since then, we’ve come a long way in regulating safety not only for the worker in the workplace, but in public places, homes, and workplaces where manufactured products are used.

UL LLC (or Underwriters Laboratories, as they were known throughout the 20th Century) is a safety consulting & certification company founded in 1894 by an electrical engineer named William Henry Merrill.  A year earlier, an insurance company hired Merrill to perform a risk assessment and investigation of new potential clients…George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla, the proprietors of the Palace of Electricity at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.  It was this experience that made him realize the potential for such an agency to test and set standards for product safety at the dawn of a new age of technology development.  And 120 years on, the benefits in safety & protection have been proven many times over.

If a product or device carries one of these markings, it’s been evaluated for safety by top professionals in the field.

One of the more critical accreditations that a manufacturer can receive for a product is the UL Classified Mark.  This differs from other markings (like the ones shown above for Certified, Listed, or Recognized) in that Classification means that samples of the product were tested & evaluated with respect to certain properties of the product.

EXAIR’s new Hazardous Location Cabinet Cooler Systems bear the UL Classified Mark.  This means they meet the stringent UL requirements for installation on purged electrical enclosures in specific classified areas:

  • Class I Div 1, Groups A, B, C and D
  • Class II Div 1, Groups E, F and G
  • Class III
EXAIR Hazardous Location Cabinet Cooler Systems maintain NEMA 4/4X Integrity and are CE Compliant.

When choosing products for use in classified areas, it’s critical to ensure safety through compliance, and the HazLoc Cabinet Cooler Systems allow you to do that, with simplicity and reliability.  If you’d like to discuss an enclosure cooling application, in or out of a classified area, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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Explanation of Hazardous Locations – Class II Div. 1, Groups E, F and G

Per the National Electrical Code (NEC) there are (3) classifications for areas that are defined as hazardous.  They are Class I (gases & vapors), Class II (flammable dusts) & Class III (fibers), the focus of today’s Blog is on Class II locations.

Class II locations are those that are hazardous because of the presence of combustible dust. Note that the dust must be present in sufficient quantities for a fire or explosion hazard to exist. The fact that there is some combustible dust present does not mean a Class II hazardous location exists. Dust is defined as a combustible material that must exist as a finely divided solid of 420 microns (0.420 mm) or less. This will allow the dust to pass through a No. 40 sieve.  Just as in Class I, Division 1 and 2, the subdivision of Class II into Divisions 1 and 2 identifies the likelihood that there is an explosion hazard.

Division 1 locations are defined as an area where the amount of combustible dust is either suspended in the air or accumulated on surfaces in a sufficient concentration to allow for ignition.  The ignition could be caused by a failure or malfunction of the equipment in the classified area.  Group E & F dust (see chart below) are considered conductive and could penetrate into electrical equipment such as electric motors, control panels, electrical panels, etc.. and cause an electrical failure.

Chart1

Group E dusts are metal dusts, such as aluminum and magnesium. In addition to being highly abrasive, and likely to cause overheating of motor bearings if it gets into them. Group E dusts are also electrically conductive and if they are allowed to enter an enclosure can cause an electrical failure.

Chart2

Group F dusts are carbonaceous, the primary dust in this group is coal dust. Coal dust has a lower ignition temperatures than those in Group E.  While Group F dust has a higher thermal insulating value than the layer of Group E.  Therefore Group F requires more control of the temperature on the surfaces that the dust settles on. Group E dusts are semi-conductive, however if the voltages are 600 volts or less it is not generally considered a factor.

Chart3

Group G dusts include plastic dusts, most chemical dusts and food-grain dusts. They are not electrically conductive. Generally these dusts have the highest thermal insulating characteristics and the lowest ignition temperatures. Therefore the equipment used in Group G areas must have the lowest surface temperatures to prevent ignition of a layer.

Chart4

Lastly, equipment rated for use in Classified Environments have a rating called the Temperature Code or “T-Code”.  This is the temperature or temperature range that the rated device will operate normally and/or in a failed or failing state.  Consider something as common as a light fixture, electric motors, etc.. as they could become hot enough to cause ignition depending on the type of dust in the area.  So be sure to check the “T-Codes” for every piece of equipment that will be used within a Classified Environments.

Chart5

When you are looking for expert advice on Hazardous Location Cabinet Coolers or safe, quiet and efficient point of use compressed air products give us a call.   We would enjoy hearing from you.

Steve Harrison
Application Engineer
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