Facilities where flammable and/or volatile materials are present require specific equipment designed to minimize the risk of open fire and explosions. This equipment is Explosion Proof (EX) rated to strictly control temperature, static and other factors that cause dangerous explosions. Should your business invest in EX rated forklifts? The material handling equipment experts at Barclay Brand Ferdon explain how EX rated forklifts improve safety and where they should be used.
When you see the term “EX rated” associated with a product, it means the equipment has undergone extensive testing to ensure it remains explosion-proof when operating around flammable gases, vapors, dusts and other potential hazards. The EX rating verifies that the equipment cannot cause fires or act as an ignition source.
To earn EX rated status, forklifts must meet rigorous design requirements for safe use in hazardous environments. These requirements include:
- Metal surfaces designed to stay below the auto ignition point
- EX enclosures for all electrical components that prevent electric arcs and allow vapors and gases to pass through, but are rugged enough to withstand and contain flames or explosions
- Enclosure joints of a length and fit to extinguish flames and cool gases before their release
- Shafts and mechanical linkages designed to contain flames and heated gases
- Conduits that withstand high temperature and pressure levels due to explosions
- One side of each conduit is sealed to prevent flames and hot gases from traveling between enclosures
- Static conductive tires that prevent static discharge
What Are the Most Common EX Equipment Types?
A variety of EX equipment types are available, each designed for a specific purpose and manufactured to meet certain specifications. Standard categories include:
- Flameproof (Ex-d): The flameproof enclosure rating signifies equipment that can withstand internal explosions. With a focus on enclosure strength and flame paths, these designs stop flames, gases and sparks.
- Increased Safety (Ex-e): This explosion-proof subtype features enhanced insulation and prevents the generation of excessive heat, preventing the equipment and components from getting hot or producing sparks
- Pressurized (Ex-p): Pressurized enclosures are used in industrial settings to offer protection from harmful gases or contaminants. These airtight enclosures keep the interior air pressure separate from the outside environment and use pressure-sensing devices to prevent explosive atmospheres.
- Sand-filled (Ex-q): This equipment type features a powder, sand or glass filler that seals the voids between the wires and components, protecting them from ignition and unwanted gas volumes.
- Optical radiation (Ex-op): Light energy can ignite gas and dust. Optical radiation protection devices prevent ignition, keeping fires from starting in your facility.
Environments that Demand EX Rated Forklifts
Forklifts are a staple in industries that demand heavy lifting and transport. An EX-rated forklift is designed to be robust and rugged while also providing excellent safety features when operating in harsh environments. These forklifts are built to withstand a wide range of temperatures, dust levels and other factors that can cause problems for other equipment.
Explosion-proof material handling equipment is a must for any facility where flammable and volatile materials are present. As defined by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) hazardous location classification system, hazardous materials include:
- Class I: gases and vapors, such as acetylene, propane, hydrogen and ethylene
- Class II: dusts, including metal, coal and grain dust
- Class III: fibers and flyings, which include particles produces by wood, paper and cotton processing
Many facilities can benefit from EX rated forklifts, including sites where paints, varnishes, inks, chlorine and certain medical chemicals, cosmetic products and botanical materials are manufactured, processed or stored. And while EX rated forklifts may not be needed throughout a facility, they are recommended for drying rooms, spraying and painting booths, flammable material refrigeration areas and any other space where material handling equipment could come into contact with highly explosive elements.
EX vs. EE Equipment
EX and EE are two rating systems used for industrial equipment. EX rated equipment is tested for use in explosive hazardous locations, indicating that the machinery will not produce sparks when operating. In contrast, EE ratings signify that spark-producing components remain enclosed and separate from the external environment. Only explosion-proof equipment undergoes testing to ensure it will not cause a single spark or arc flash when used in a potentially dangerous atmosphere.
Make Your Facility Safer
Ready to learn more about material handling equipment for hazardous environments? Barclay Brand Ferdon offers a variety of EX rated forklifts to lease, for short term rental or to own with options to suit your facility, productivity needs and budget. Contact us online or call 908-223-8580 for additional information.