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Gary Friend, Extech Safety Systems We all know what can happen if the correct techniques are not used when interfacing into the hazardous area. Using intrinsic safety (Ex i based on IEC/SANS 60079-11; IEC/SANS 60079-25), the energy in the hazardous area is limited to below the ignition energy of the gas present, thereby preventing explosions. For an explosion, all three of gas/dust, oxygen and source of ignition (spark or heat) need to be present. Intrinsic safety works on the principle of removing the source of ignition. This can be achieved by using a Zener barrier or galvanic isolator. Zener barrier A Zener barrier is a simple device where the voltage is limited by a Zener diode and the current by a resistor. A fuse is present to protect the Zener diode as shown in Figure 1. The key to safety is the intrinsically safe earth. Without it, there is no protection. If the input voltage increases above Zener diode voltage, the Zener conducts and the fuse blows, after which the Zener barrier needs to be replaced. In addition, the barrier has a volt drop across it under normal operating conditions, so careful calculation must be done to ensure that there is sufficient voltage at the field device. [Note: using Zener barriers without an IS earth is not safe.]
Figure 1. Galvanic isolator A galvanic isolator is an active device that energy limits without the dependence on the IS earth for safety as shown in Figure 2. It also has the advantage of supplying higher voltage at the hazardous area terminals and allowing longer cable lengths. Isolators have local LED indication and most 4-20 mA isolators transfer Hart communications through the optical isolation.
in this case Ex ia i.e. which means it can be located in zone 0 in gas group IIC – T4 is the maximum surface temperature of the device (135°C). Figure 4 shows that the barrier/isolator has [Ex ia] IIC. the square brackets indicate that the device (mounted in a safe area) can have connections to the hazardous area. This transmitter has Ex ia IIC T4. Figure 3 defines Ex i for the various classifications of hazardous zones. zone 0 – IIC is the gas group.Figure 2. . Figure 3.
2 in IEC/SANS 60079-11 lists the maximum cable capacitance against output voltage. so maximum cable capacitance Cc = Co-Ci and maximum inductance Lc = Lo-Li. To complete the system loop approval. The transmitter has internal capacitance and inductance. Table A. Io and Po).Figure 4. which are the maximum values that can be applied under fault conditions and still be safe. Ii and Pi). A simple loop drawing is still required and an assessment of power/maximum surface temperature needs to be completed. The field device has maximum input parameters (Ui. These are maximum output values under fault conditions (known as safety description or entity parameters). Figure 5. In the example shown the maximum electrical stored energy that can be connected to the hazardous area terminals equates to Co = 83 nF and Lo = 4. . [Note: inserting a barrier or isolator with a non-certified field device is not safe.2 mH. current and power (Uo. a system certificate or loop approval can be documented.] Some field devices (see Figure 5) like thermocouples are defined as Simple Apparatus. the electrical energy stored in the cabling needs to be considered. The barrier/isolator has maximum output parameters for voltage. [Note: for a safe loop all three input parameters must be greater than or equal to the corresponding output parameters. The cable specification typically gives pF/m and μH/m allowing a calculation of maximum cable length Based on this assessment.
it is clear that Exic loops can be run in the same multi-core or trunk as other Exi loops. 1 and 2.co.co. Intrinsic safety is the only protection that considers faults of the field wiring and offers live working without the need for a gas clearance certificate.co. 1 and 2. This means that single multicore (or trunk) can be used for IS instruments in Zone 0. For 24 V systems. Extech Safety Systems Subsequent to my previous article published in SA Instrumentation and Control on the subject of calculating an intrinsically safe loop approval (www. Extech Safety Systems. intrinsic safety offers a simple and flexible solution for zones 0. ExnL (Energy Limiting) was a technique used for Zone 2 which was effectively ‘intrinsic safety in normal operation’ i.za.extech.2 of SANS/IEC 60079-11) does not need to be applied to cable parameters allowing for longer cable runs. Note: Ex nL has been replaced by Ex ic for zone 2 in the standards. This means intrinsic safety can easily be used in zones 0. With the new standards. ExnL has been reassigned as Exic in IEC/SANS60079-11 and IEC/SANS60079-25.e. Previously. although not spelt out in the standards. . 220 VAC) applications and requires mechanical planning and preparation. Another advantage of Ex ic is that the safety factor of 1. with no safety factor required.5 (as shown in Table A.Conclusion Flameproof (Ex d) offers hazardous area protection for zone 1 and 2 and offers protection for higher voltage (110 VAC. It does require some design and planning to ensure that the system loop analysis is acceptable. IS & Ex safe loop approvals – Part 2 Gary Friend.za Calculating intrinsically July 2013. +27 (0)11 791 6000. For more information contact Gary Friend.firstname.lastname@example.org. it was generally accepted practice to run ExnL loops in the same trunks as IS loops.za/7571a). I will now consider the impact of Exic and how to handle long cable runs in IS loops. www. 1 and 2 and the wiring can be in the same multi-core cable or trunk.
So any barrier/isolator with 28 V safety description will have Co = 83 nF (Zone 0/1. In the early 2000s. In practice this parameter will define the maximum allowable cable length. the IS loop calculation now fails. Further on this topic: When ATEX was first introduced in Europe. this would equate to a maximum cable length of 660 metres. the ATEX directives were updated to apply safety factor of 1.5 to the cable parameters. With a typical cable capacitance of 95 nF/km. This impacts plants built between 1995 and 2002 based on earlier ATEX standards where longer cable runs were required. Figure 2 shows an Exia loop with a Co=83 nF.2 page 96 (102 of 149). The max cable capacitance Cc=63 nF.Figure 1. and importantly. a 1. For a standard 24 V loop (Uo = 28 V) this changed the Co from 130 nF to 83 nF. How can we handle this? Firstly. When these plants require a DCS upgrade and a new isolator is to be fitted. IIC).5 safety factor was not applied to cable parameters. reducing the maximum cable length allowed. there is a misconception that the Co values are defined by the design of barrier/isolator. The Co value is actually defined in IEC/SANS60079-11: 2012 Table A. .
Conclusions 1. then use Exic and make use of the higher Co value. If this is possible it is the simpler option. 2. (The limiting factor in this system is likely to be the operating voltage at the end of the cable still being high enough to allow the transmitter to work). Due to the low risk of ignition and high skills proficiency (suppliers and end-users) this is acceptable.Figure 2.10). there is an alternative to be defined in the new ARP0108 due out shortly i.5 km of cable i. making it an accepted . so Cc=252 nF would theoretically allow 2. Most ExnL ATEX certified products were also Cat 3 self-certified. no longer a limiting factor. ExnA non-arcing). classifying the area as Zone 2 offers significant benefit. Exic offers some flexibility and for upgrades allows for upgrades of old control systems improving safety. the Co=272 nF. Figure 3.g. Note: If a change to loop apparatus results in incompatible safety parameters in accordance with the certification standard. the system is Exic certified. For upgrading existing plants where the new loop approval fails. the ATL may consider the use of risk assessment methods and a concession may be issued.e. However with changing to Exic. In both cases.e. For new installations requiring long cable runs. Additional note on equipment for Zone 2: In Europe the ATEX directive allows for Cat 3 self certification (e. In Figure 3. this is now covered by the third party Exi certification (with minimal extra work or cost). If the loop were Exic. there are two options: * Reclassify the hazardous area as Zone 2. * If it is not possible to reclassify. there is the availability of a ‘Risk Assessment’ for these loops (Reference in A.
za Share: by email .instrumentation.extech.co. pages 74 and 75. +27 (0)11 791 6000.co.za www. or refer towww.za/7571a For more information contact Gary Friend.co. www.extech.co.practice in SA.za. For reference to Part 1 see October 2012.co.za Credit(s) Supplied By: Tel: Fax: Email: www: Extech Safety Systems +27 (0)11 791 6000 +27 (0)11 792 8294 extech@jhbmail. Extech Safety Systems.gary@extech.