Class 1, Div 1 is a designation for an area considered hazardous when certain flammable vapors or gases are present. Tanks stationed in hazardous areas tend to have unique and very serious requirements. One of these requirements is the use of intrinsically safe electronics. Continuously monitoring tank levels is vital to making sure you can maintain high fill efficiency, but when tanks are located in hazardous areas, doing so as safely as possible is a must.
What safety risks exist for electronics in hazardous areas?
Flammable vapors and gases in the air create a serious safety hazard, and there’s a reason hazardous areas are named as such. Electronic devices may spark, and if the spark is not contained, it can cause an explosion—the nightmare of any operations manager. This is a risk with battery-powered devices, but oil and gas equipment is often in remote locations for long periods of time without access to a power source, so a wireless battery powered device is needed to continuously monitor tank levels. Intrinsically safe electronics solve the problem of using battery-powered electronics in hazardous areas.
What does mean for electronics to be intrinsically safe?
When an electronic device is intrinsically safe, it means that any spark that occurs is contained inside the monitor and not released to the environment, preventing the risk of explosion. All electronics, including the antenna, must reside inside an enclosure to separate them from the environment. Intrinsically safe devices may be required by regulatory officials or company policy—if not basic common sense! This measure helps to ensure employee and plant safety. A device that is intrinsically safe should be certified by a third party that tests it rigorously before giving the seal of approval.
Some agencies that certify products as intrinsically safe in North America:
- CSA Group
- Underwriters Laboratories
- Factory Mutual Research Corporation
In Canada, intrinsic safety is determined by the Canadian Standards Association, and the standard for the European Union is the ATEX directive.
Who uses intrinsically safe liquid level monitoring devices?
Many companies in the oil, gas, and chemical industries that monitor tanks in Class 1, Div 1 hazardous areas use intrinsically safe tank monitoring solutions. Some safety-conscious companies rely on the ST95, a tank monitoring device with a low profile. All electronics reside inside the enclosure, even the cellular antenna, and the device is certified as intrinsically safe by CSA Group. Other companies with tanks in hazardous areas that use the ST95 liquid monitoring device include:
Intrinsically safe tank monitoring devices are key to optimizing plant and employee safety practices while improving the efficiency of your liquid delivery operations. Be safe! To learn more about using the ST95 to track tank levels remotely, you can download the ST95 datasheet.