Breaking Down The Explosion Proof Light

- May 07, 2019-

A manufacturer can claim that it has produced an explosion proof light fixture if the fixture retains its integrity in the event of an environmental explosion, and if the fixture itself is designed to contain any explosion that does happen and prevents the explosion from spreading further into the environment around the fixture. Under normal operations an explosion proof light fixture will rarely, if ever suffer a catastrophic breakdown, even if those operations take place in high-stress industrial environments. The fact that a light fixture is rated as being explosion proof is a designation that the fixture is rated for use in hazardous locations that might include flammable vapors, dust, or fibers in their atmospheres.

A typical explosion proof light fixture, like those produced by CARY, will feature a more durable casing and tempered glass lenses that resist shattering. Our fixtures also include advanced thermal control mechanisms that actively and passively dissipate any heat that might build up in the fixture. Thermal buildup is less of an issue with LED fixtures because their solid state illumination mechanisms generate very little heat, although their control circuitry can get warm after a long period of operation. To manage heat in the control circuitry, manufacturers of explosion proof light fixtures will generally use passive heat sink technology. 

Explosion proof light fixtures will also be constructed to remove any potential ignition sources from any flammable components, like volatile vapors, dusts, or fibers, that might be in the atmosphere around the fixture. These fixtures are not necessarily sealed airtight away from those ignition sources. Flammable substances might still seep into an explosion proof light fixture, but the fixture itself will have the integrity to prevent any internal contact between the substances and an ignition source from catalyzing an explosion that spreads to the entire environment in a manufacturing facility.

The terminology used to describe industrial light fixtures might cause some confusion with respect to how and where those fixtures might be used in a manufacturing facility, and particularly in locations that are designated as hazardous in that facility. An “explosion proof” light fixture, for example, will contain an explosion and prevent it from erupting into a greater problem, where as an “intrinsically safe” light fixture operates at a lower electrical load that poses a lower risk of becoming an ignition source. Intrinsically safe light fixtures are typically battery powered, and operate at such low voltages that sparks are unlikely to occur in electrical junctions in those fixtures. Some light fixture might have a “vapor proof” designation, but that designation is not the equivalent of “explosion proof”. Explosion proof light fixtures will have specific Class, Designation, and Group ratings that allow facilities operators to select the fixture that provides optimal safety for workers who are employed in the environment that is illuminated by those fixtures.