A high risk or hazardous area (sometimes abbreviated to HazLoc ) is where where fire or explosion hazards may exist due to flammable gases or explosive substances such vapours, mists or dusts. Typical examples of hazardous environments are refineries, drilling platforms, chemical and power-generation facilities, mines… In these locations, it is required to ensure safety against occurrence of arcs, sparks and excessive temperature.
Industrial lighting must often provide illumination in areas where usual lighting is inadequate. Some factors related to the very nature of the activities carried out have to be taken into account, due mainly to the materials handled and the by-products produced. Whether the manufacturing process deals with the processing of hazardous petrochemicals or relatively benign food products such as food grain, there is always the underlying risk of accidental ignitions of flammable or explosive of materials. An atmosphere saturated with gasoline or solvent vapours can literally turn an enclosed area into a potential bomb capable of releasing enough force to destroy the entire building.
The main way to prevent explosions in such industrial areas is to remove potential ignition sources. Potential ignition sources is anything which has the ability to produce sparks, flame, or otherwise is capable of producing enough heat to ignite any flammable materials which may be present. In industries and facilities, the primary sources of potential ignition are usually electrical, they are numerous, and it is usually impossible to remove from the industrial process. They can be machinery, equipment, electrical switches and controls, or lighting, and they are all necessary for the manufacturing process. They represent potential sources of ignition due to their potential for creating heat, sparks, and even open flame.
Of all the potential sources of electrically caused ignitions, lighting is perhaps the most commonly encountered. No matter the facility, lighting will play an important role in hazardous areas. In order to protect against this potential for ignition, lighting used in hazardous locations must be specially designed and certified by regulators for use in these areas. This type of light fixtures falls into the categories of “Explosion Proof” and plays a critical role in protecting the industrial facilities against catastrophic accidents. Airfal is a manufacturer of safe explosion protection lighting for use in hazardous areas and harsh environments, which are fully certified.
Explosion proof fixtures provide protection by preventing any ignitions within the fixture from igniting the atmosphere outside of the fixture. Explosion proof luminaires are not fully sealed, but they have the ability to prevent the ignition of the atmosphere outside the light fixture should it contain flammable vapors, gases, or combustible dusts, whereas in a standard light fixture, the bulb, contacts, wiring, and any switches are all directly exposed to the local atmosphere. The spark from a loose contact or the movement of the switch and even the heat of the bulb can be a danger.