CML is world’s first certification body to issue IECEx certification for Ex s ‘Special Protection’, with UK based client Abtech Limited becoming the first electrical enclosure manufacturer to use the concept.
Ex s, standard IEC 60079-33, provides a path to IECEx certification for products to that do not fall completely within the requirements of the existing protection concepts. Allowing them to be considered safe use in explosive atmospheres following a structured assessment under a defined testing framework.
The standard for the non-standard
Often thought of as the concept for innovative designs; the ones that cannot be accommodated under more conventional protection methods, Ex s allows the IECEx certification of products that may be ahead of the curve. Standards development by committee takes time and there can be a lag when it comes to the assessment of new technology. Commonly where the existing methods of Ex protection are limited in their current scope and have not yet been challenged to evolve. Prior to this, all products were bound to the defined limits of the specific protection concept standard. There was no room for flexibility; even when a justifiable method of ensuring safe operation could be demonstrated, and it is this which makes Ex s such an important addition to the IECEx system and the IEC 60079 series of standards.
The purpose of the ‘Special Protection’ standard is to provide a framework for manufacturers and conformity assessment bodies to conduct a structured assessment of equipment safety, particularly when a product design is limited by the current conventions. It allows independent professionals to use their expertise beyond the restrictions that naturally come from standards that attempt to be all things to all men.
At CML we can tap into our technical expertise in the assessment, testing and certification of a very wide range of equipment for use in explosive atmospheres.
An example of this is our first IECEx certification under this standard. The product in question was an Abtech medium voltage terminal box that required an operational rating of 15kV. Traditionally electrical enclosures used to terminate power connections are covered under the Ex e ‘Increased Safety’ concept. However 15kV exceeds the maximum permitted voltage of 11kV applicable under Ex e. Using our expertise and the expertise of industry specialists, CML could confirm the Abtech design and associated ignition hazard assessment did not result in an increased risk of ignition, allowing the globally accepted IECEx certificate to be issued.
Although the purpose of Ex s within the IECEx certification scheme is not to open the doors to previously non-compliant products; it gives those well-designed Ex products a way of achieving certification for the international market. As demonstrated in the case for the Abtech 15kV terminal box. The Ex s concept may never become as widely used as Ex e, Ex d or Ex m concepts, but its introduction now gives manufacturers the ability to be more innovative in their design process.
More information regarding the product can be found on the Abtech website here: http://www.abtech.eu/news/15kv-iecex-for-zone-1