You are on page 1of 7

# How to calculate October 2012, IS & Ex

an

intrinsically

safe

loop

approval

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.

Figure 4 shows that the barrier/isolator has [Ex ia] IIC. in this case Ex ia i.e. Figure 3. the square brackets indicate that the device (mounted in a safe area) can have connections to the hazardous area. Figure 3 defines Ex i for the various classifications of hazardous zones. . This transmitter has Ex ia IIC T4. 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 2. zone 0 – IIC is the gas group.

current and power (Uo. Figure 5.Figure 4. [Note: inserting a barrier or isolator with a non-certified field device is not safe. The cable specification typically gives pF/m and μH/m allowing a calculation of maximum cable length Based on this assessment. To complete the system loop approval. a system certificate or loop approval can be documented. The field device has maximum input parameters (Ui.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. . the electrical energy stored in the cabling needs to be considered. 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: for a safe loop all three input parameters must be greater than or equal to the corresponding output parameters. The transmitter has internal capacitance and inductance. Io and Po). Table A.2 mH. A simple loop drawing is still required and an assessment of power/maximum surface temperature needs to be completed. The barrier/isolator has maximum output parameters for voltage. These are maximum output values under fault conditions (known as safety description or entity parameters).] Some field devices (see Figure 5) like thermocouples are defined as Simple Apparatus. Ii and Pi). which are the maximum values that can be applied under fault conditions and still be safe.

1 and 2.5 (as shown in Table A. 1 and 2 and the wiring can be in the same multi-core cable or trunk. With the new standards. although not spelt out in the standards. This means that single multicore (or trunk) can be used for IS instruments in Zone 0.co. . ExnL (Energy Limiting) was a technique used for Zone 2 which was effectively ‘intrinsic safety in normal operation’ i. it is clear that Exic loops can be run in the same multi-core or trunk as other Exi loops. 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. it was generally accepted practice to run ExnL loops in the same trunks as IS loops. IS & Ex safe loop approvals – Part 2 Gary Friend. 1 and 2.2 of SANS/IEC 60079-11) does not need to be applied to cable parameters allowing for longer cable runs. with no safety factor required.instrumentation.Conclusion Flameproof (Ex d) offers hazardous area protection for zone 1 and 2 and offers protection for higher voltage (110 VAC. This means intrinsic safety can easily be used in zones 0. For 24 V systems.za. I will now consider the impact of Exic and how to handle long cable runs in IS loops. Another advantage of Ex ic is that the safety factor of 1.extech. Previously.co.za/7571a).gary@extech.za Calculating intrinsically July 2013.e. 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. For more information contact Gary Friend. Note: Ex nL has been replaced by Ex ic for zone 2 in the standards. ExnL has been reassigned as Exic in IEC/SANS60079-11 and IEC/SANS60079-25. www. It does require some design and planning to ensure that the system loop analysis is acceptable. intrinsic safety offers a simple and flexible solution for zones 0.co. +27 (0)11 791 6000. 220 VAC) applications and requires mechanical planning and preparation.

The max cable capacitance Cc=63 nF. The Co value is actually defined in IEC/SANS60079-11: 2012 Table A.5 to the cable parameters. the IS loop calculation now fails. and importantly. This impacts plants built between 1995 and 2002 based on earlier ATEX standards where longer cable runs were required.2 page 96 (102 of 149). In the early 2000s. IIC). In practice this parameter will define the maximum allowable cable length. reducing the maximum cable length allowed. Further on this topic: When ATEX was first introduced in Europe. . When these plants require a DCS upgrade and a new isolator is to be fitted. With a typical cable capacitance of 95 nF/km. this would equate to a maximum cable length of 660 metres. How can we handle this? Firstly. the ATEX directives were updated to apply safety factor of 1. there is a misconception that the Co values are defined by the design of barrier/isolator. For a standard 24 V loop (Uo = 28 V) this changed the Co from 130 nF to 83 nF. So any barrier/isolator with 28 V safety description will have Co = 83 nF (Zone 0/1. a 1.5 safety factor was not applied to cable parameters. Figure 2 shows an Exia loop with a Co=83 nF.Figure 1.

For new installations requiring long cable runs. the ATL may consider the use of risk assessment methods and a concession may be issued. there is an alternative to be defined in the new ARP0108 due out shortly i. If this is possible it is the simpler option. this is now covered by the third party Exi certification (with minimal extra work or cost). Most ExnL ATEX certified products were also Cat 3 self-certified. classifying the area as Zone 2 offers significant benefit. there are two options: * Reclassify the hazardous area as Zone 2. Figure 3. * If it is not possible to reclassify. Due to the low risk of ignition and high skills proficiency (suppliers and end-users) this is acceptable. Conclusions 1.e.10). In both cases. (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). then use Exic and make use of the higher Co value.Figure 2. so Cc=252 nF would theoretically allow 2.5 km of cable i. no longer a limiting factor. the system is Exic certified. If the loop were Exic. Exic offers some flexibility and for upgrades allows for upgrades of old control systems improving safety.e. making it an accepted .g. there is the availability of a ‘Risk Assessment’ for these loops (Reference in A. the Co=272 nF. 2. Additional note on equipment for Zone 2: In Europe the ATEX directive allows for Cat 3 self certification (e. For upgrading existing plants where the new loop approval fails. In Figure 3. Note: If a change to loop apparatus results in incompatible safety parameters in accordance with the certification standard. However with changing to Exic. ExnA non-arcing).

extech.za.za Share: by email .extech.co. +27 (0)11 791 6000.co.instrumentation.za www. pages 74 and 75. For reference to Part 1 see October 2012.co.practice in SA.za/7571a For more information contact Gary Friend.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.co.gary@extech. www. or refer towww.