When it comes to using instrumentation in hazardous locations (HAZLOC), with atmospheric conditions that could lead to ignition via an electrical spark caused by the mechanics or electronics within the instrumentation, there are different sets of standards and classifications used globally. They are not interchangeable, and all instrumentation must have the proper certification recognized in the area of installation.
The goal of all certifications, and the subsequent parties that issue them is the same. To make sure that nothing blows up and no one is harmed as a result.
Prominent industries that most commonly require HAZLOC certification due to ignitable gases, vapors, or mists are the oil and gas industry (including gas stations) and chemical manufacturing. Any processing facilities, storage vessels, or transfer equipment may be subject to regulations.
Areas that are subject to ignition because of the presence of dust include anything with a fine ignitable particulate matter suspended in the air, like grains or wood.
The different standards are not interchangeable and not apples-to-apples. In the EU, IECEx and ATEX are recognized standards. The standards in North America are referred to as Ex-proof.
Let’s explore the difference between IECEx and ATEX. Here are the highlights for IECEx certification.
Here are the highlights for ATEX.
The set of standards used to certify instrumentation as being explosion proof is referred to as Ex-proof. The elements identified by the standard are very similar to IECEx and ATEX, but vary a bit in how they are laid out. Like IECEx, the Ex-proof certification is given by an outside party and not the manufacturer.
Ex-proof follows the standard laid out in the National Electric Code (NEC).
Classification is as follows:
Many times the “Ex-proof” is not part of the common reference in talking about explosion proof instrumentation in the US. Usually, you will just hear the Class and Division rating referred to, such as “it is Class 1, Div 2”.
ATEX is a set of standards recognized only within the EU that certifies instrumentation as being safe to operate in hazardous conditions prone to ignitable gas/dust. UL is a certification/agency within the US that tests and certifies that the instrumentation complies with the North American Ex-proof standards.
The US equivalent of ATEX, from the perspective as specifying instrumentation as being safe to operate in hazardous locations, is referred to as “Ex-proof” and consists of four specified elements. The items of danger (class), the frequency of danger (div), and then the actual danger and the max safe temperature for operation. ATEX and Ex-proof are not interchangeable and ATEX is generally not an accepted stand-alone rating the US.
Liquid, Gas, or Steam | Direct Reading Scales | Up to 550 GPM or 640 SCFM | Up to 660 °F | Up to 8,700 PSI | NPT or ANSI Connections | Variety of Material Options
Liquid, Gas, or Steam | Widest Range of Materials | Extreme Temperature and Pressure Ratings | Mass Flow, Density, Temperature, and Volumetric Flow Measurements
High Flow Rates | Liquids, Gas, or Steam | Flow, Density, and Temperature Measurement | Precision Batching | High Accuracy | NPT or ANSI Connections | Exotic Materials
Custom Design for Hydrogen Dispensation | Liquid, Gas, or Steam | Other High Pressure Applications | Several Certifications | NPT Fittings
KOBOLD USA is a subsidiary of KOBOLD Messring GmbH, a world-leading instrumentation engineering business founded in Germany in 1980 by Klaus J. Kobold. With patented technology and superior service, the company quickly established itself as one of the global leaders in sensor and control systems with high quality products. The KOBOLD brand name became synonymous with superior quality and technological advancement in instrumentation engineering.