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Hazardous Area

One of the greatest safety hazards in industrial settings are explosions or fires, creating the need for explosion proof equipment. The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) has developed a set of regulations, the Zone system, for hazardous areas. These standards are used throughout Europe and most of the world (except for the United States) and help to classify areas where potentially dangerous explosive conditions exist. These standards are based on two components— zones and groups, which are described below.

 

ATEX/IECEx REFERENCE

 Area Classification (IEC 60079)
 Usage area in the presence of GAS Usage area in the presence of COMBUSTIBLE DUSTS  Hazardous level of the operational ZONE
 Zone 0  Zone 20 Explosive atmosphere ALWAYS PRESENT
Zone 1  Zone 21 PROBABLE explosive atmosphere
Zone 2 Zone 22 Explosive atmosphere IMPROBABLE

 

Equipment Categories (IEC 60079)
PROTECTION LEVEL guaranteed by the equipment Category MINE (Group I)  SURFACE Gas (Group II) SURFACE DUST (Group II)
Very High M1 1G 1D
High M2 2G 2D
Normal not provided 3G  3D


Equipment Categories (IEC 60079)
Explosive Atmosphere Danger Zone Protection Guaranteed Protection Mode EPL
ALWAYS PRESENT 0 Very High IEC EN 60079-26 Ga
PROBABLE 1 High Ex db
Ex db eb
Ex eb
Gb
IMPROBABLE 2 Normal Ex nA
Ex ec
Gc
ALWAYS PRESENT 20 Very High Ex ta Da
PROBABLE 21 High Ex tb - IP6x Db
IMPROBABLE 22
Conductive Dusts
Normal Ex tb - IP6x Db
 IMPROBABLE  22
Non-Conductive Dusts
Normal Ex tc - IP5x Dc

N.B.: Equipment if an higher category can be installed in place of a lower category



TEMPERATURE CLASSIFICATION

 IEC 60079
Group II 
Max Surface
Temp.
NEC 500/CEC NEC 500/CEC
T1 450°C (842°F) T1 T1
T2 300° C (572°F) T2 T2
280° C (536°F) T2A
260° C (500°F) T2B
230° C (446°F) T2C
215° C (419°F) T2D
T3 200° C (392°F) T3 T3
180° C (356°F) T3A
165° C (329°F) T3B
160° C (320°F) T3C
T4 135° C (248°F) T4 T4
120° C (248°F) T4A
T5 100° C (212°F) T5 T5
T6 "85° C
(185°F)"
T6 T6

N.B.: For Group I (IEC/IECEx) applications, fixed temperature limits shall be considered i.e. 170°C



NEC REFERENCE

 Area Classification
(NEC 500/505/CEC)
 North America
NEC 500/CEC
NEC 505/SEC  Hazardous level of the operational ZONE
 Class I, Division 1  Zone 0 Continuous Hazard
(GAS)
  Zone 1 Intermittent Hazard
(GAS)
Class I, Division 2 Zone 2 Hazard under Abnormal Conditions
(GAS)
Class II, Division 1  Zone 20 Continuous Hazard
(COMBUSTIBLE DUST)
  Zone 21 Intermittent Hazard
(COMBUSTIBLE DUST)
Class II, Division 2  Zone 22 Hazard under Abnormal Conditions
(COMBUSTIBLE DUST)


 Protection mode related to Zones
(NEC 500/505/CEC)
 Standard Danger Zone  Protection Mode EPL
 NEC 500  Class I, Division 1 Groups A, B, C, D -
NEC 500  Class I, Division 2 Groups A, B, C, D -
NEC 500 Class II, Division 1 Groups E, F, G -
NEC 500  Class II, Division 2 Groups E, F, G -
NEC 505  Class I, Zone 1 AEx db Gb
NEC 505  Class I, Zone 2 AEx nA Gc
NEC 506  Zone 21 AEx tb - IP6x Db
NEC 506  Zone 22 AEx tc - IP5x Dc

N.B.: Equipment of an higher category can be installed in place of a lower category

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