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IECEx certified switchboxes for valve position monitoring

29 September 2010

ATEX and IECEx are both certification schemes for electrical equipment in hazardous areas but why are two systems needed?ATEX is accepted outside Europe to some degree but its prime objective is free trade within the EU. This is achieved by establishing a level of safety acceptable to all the European national authorities. IECEx on the other hand was designed as an ISO/IEC Type 5 Certification Scheme administered by a single third party.

IECEx certified switchboxes for valve position monitoring
IECEx certified switchboxes for valve position monitoring

It uses recognised practice to achieve a common acceptable level of safety. The scope of the Scheme is defined by the standards issued by IEC Standards Committee TC 31. There are currently 34 participating countries with a further 11 countries observing.

The only ATEX document in the public domain is the manufacturer’s "Declaration of Conformity". This is not the case with the IECEX scheme. Assessment and Test reports are available online and in real time, giving users access to much more detailed information. This transparency together with compliance to clearly defined standards that are based on recognised practice are leading to the adoption of the IECEx scheme in an increasing number of countries outside Europe. Safety may be the prime objective of IECEx certification but as a single global standard moves closer to becoming a reality, free trade will be one its welcome consequences.

K Controls is now able to offer a comprehensive range of intrinsically safe, IECEx certified, 007 Switchboxes for valve position monitoring. Marking is Ex ia IIC T6 Gb for use in hazardous gas zones 1 and 2 and Ex tb IIIC T85oC for use in hazardous dust zones 21 and 22. The permitted ambient temperature is in the range minus 40 degrees C to plus 70 degrees C and varies with type. Certification includes all elements of the switchbox not just the switches themselves.
Products are compliant with the latest revisions of IEC and EN 60079:

IEC 60079-0: 2007 / EN 60079-0: 2009 Electrical equipment for potentially explosive atmospheres – General requirements.

IEC 60079-11: 2006 / EN 60079-11: 2007 Electrical equipment for potentially explosive atmospheres - Intrinsic Safety ‘i’.

IEC 60079-31: 2008 / EN 60079-31: 2009 Explosive Atmospheres - Part 31: Equipment Dust Ignition Protection By Enclosure "t".

007 Exi switchboxes are therefore "state of the art" when considering the requirements of both IECEx and ATEX.

Switch options include micro switches, hermetically sealed magnetically operated reed switches and standard or failsafe inductive proximity sensors. Multiple switches and sensors can be fitted in a single enclosure for optimum redundancy. Enclosures can be stainless steel or coated aluminium and the product can be adapted for use on linear or rotary, manual or actuated valves. Versions are also available for terminating a local actuator mounted solenoid valve.

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