What are the features and benefits of ATEX two way radios?
Atex intrinsically safe two way radios are designed to ensure your employees safety and their ability to communicate in areas where there are explosive conditions, for example a fireground, oil refinery, chemical manufacturing plant or flour mill. Read on to find out how they can support your organisations requirements.
What is an explosive atmosphere and ATEX zone?
In DSEAR, an explosive atmosphere is defined as a mixture of dangerous substances with air, under atmospheric conditions, in the form of gases, vapours, mist or dust in which, after ignition has occurred, combustion spreads to the entire unburned mixture. Atmospheric conditions are commonly referred to as ambient temperatures and pressures. That is to say temperatures of –20°C to 40°C and pressures of 0.8 to 1.1 bar (1).
What does DSEAR require?
DSEAR requires employers to eliminate or control the risks from dangerous substances – further information on these requirements can be found on the HSE DSEAR page. In addition to the general requirements, the Regulations place the following specific duties on employers with workplaces where explosive atmospheres may occur.
Examples include places where work activities create or release flammable gases or vapours, such as vehicle paint spraying, or in workplaces handling fine organic dusts such as grain flour or wood.
The Ex logo symbolises that the equipment has been classified as safe for use in ATEX hazardous areas, which are often referred to as “Ex areas.” Safe, reliable communication is a necessity and a life line in such dangerous environments. That’s where the power and performance of MOTOTRBO ATEX intrinsically safe two way radios for example stand out.
What is an ATEX two way radio?
A radio termed “Intrinsically Safe” can operate completely safely in a potentially hazardous area (ATEX Class I or Class II environment).
These high-performing hand portables have the highest ATEX/IECEx gas explosion group rating. Ideal for hazardous work with loud noises, long shifts, rough weather and dangerous conditions including combustible dust, explosive chemicals, gas leaks, flammable hydrocarbons and more.
For example, the following Intrinsically safe radios comply with the ATEX directive:
Other ATEX two way radio manufacturers include:
- Hytera PD715Ex two way radio – slim form factor, no display model. Read more >
- Hytera PD795Ex two way radio – full keypad, blue surrounding for easy identification, meeting ATEX and IEC Directives. Find out more >
- Entel DTEx ATEX series of digital two way radios – a vairiation of portables to suit different operator requirements. Read more >
- Tait TP9361 IS two way radio – suitable for all levels of DMR, with safety features provided as standard. Find out more >
Remember, both the radio and it’s accessories (battery, headset, etc.) must be IS-Approved.
Do I need ATEX hand portable radios for my site?
The market sectors Radiocoms Systems Ltd have supplied ATEX radio systems to includes but is not limited to:
Where an explosive restriction is stipulated you will require an ATEX certified two way radio such as a COMAH site or a vessel (which now requires a mandatory 2 ATEX radios for the firefighters on board to meet SOLAS requirements).
ATEX/IECEx-rated for safety the Motorola DP4000 Ex Series two way radios for example keep your workers connected safely and productively, wherever the job takes them both on land and at sea.
How do you know if a radio is intrinsically safe?
Intrinsically safe equipment is defined as “equipment which is incapable of releasing sufficient electrical or thermal energy under normal or abnormal conditions to cause ignition of a specific hazardous atmospheric mixture in its most easily ignited concentration.” This is achieved by limiting the amount of power available to the two way radio equipment in the hazardous area to a level below that which will ignite the gases.
Intrinsically safe radio standards and specification are typically classified under four categories. These include the class, group, division and temperature.
- Class: This refers to the type of hazardous material that will be present on site e.g. flammable gas, vapours and liquids, combustible dusts and ignitable fibres.
- Group: ATEX radios will be classified by the ignition temperatures and explosion pressures of the materials
- Division: The site on which the radios are used will be assessed. Factors such as the concentration of hazards and cause of potential hazards such as equipment failure.
- Temperature: The temperature at which an ignition can be started should not exceed the maximum surface temperature of the radio
For example, a MOTOTRBO DP4801Ex two way radio operates under:
Gas Rating ATEX:
ATEX: Class II 2G Ex ib IIC T4 Gb
IECEx: Ex ib IIC T4 Gb
Dust Rating ATEX:
ATEX: Class II 2D Ex ib IIIC T130 °C Db
IECEx: Ex ib IIIC T130°C Db
Mining Rating ATEX:
ATEX: I M2 Ex ib I Mb
IECEx: Ex ib I Mb
How will you know whether or not you need an intrinsically safe two way radio system?
In Great Britain, the requirements of Directive 99/92/EC were put into effect through regulations 7 and 11 of the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR).
The requirements in DSEAR apply to most workplaces where a potentially explosive atmosphere may occur. Some industry sectors and work activities are exempted because there is other legislation that fulfils the requirements. These exemptions are listed in regulation 3 of DSEAR. The ATEX directive requires all products to be marked with the CE mark, the ‘EX’ mark and the equipment coding.
|Explosion proof||in accordance with the ATEX directive|
|Equipment Group||I||For use in underground mines|
|II||For use in all other places|
|Category||1||Equipment that is intended for use in areas where an explosive atmosphere is present continuously, for long periods or frequently|
|2||Equipment that is intended for use in areas where an explosive atmosphere is likely to occur in normal operation and must ensure a high level of protection.|
|3||Equipment that is intended for use in areas where an explosive atmosphere is unlikely to occur in normal operation and must ensure a normal level of protection.|
|Gas / Dust||G||Equipment certified for use in flammable gases|
|D||Equipment certified for use where dust is present in the atmosphere|
|Type of Protection*||d||Flameproof|
|II||Surface above ground industries|
|Gas Sub Group||A||Less easily ignited gases e.g. propane|
|B||Easily ignited gases e.g ethylene|
|C||Most easily ignited e.g. hydrogen or acetylene|
Hazardous area apparatus is classified according to the maximum surface temperature produced under fault conditions at an ambient temperature of 40°C, or as otherwise specified. The standard classifications are as shown