What’s so special about Intrinsically Safe devices?

This is a question we get asked a lot. As a distributor and reseller for the Ecom, Aegex and Getac brand of Intrinsically Safe computer tablets and mobile phones, and the Solexy range of industrial networking products, our involvement does not stop with the hardware. We are usually involved in the pilot development which includes the choice of apps, software development/configuration and through our distributorship with Solexy, selection of data networking products and positioning within hazardous areas.

Therefore, a question we get asked a lot is why this intrinsically safe product is different from other similar non intrinsically safe products when the computer is basically the same in each and the rugged construction is the same? And the answer is because the Intrinsically Safe product is proven to be incapable of releasing sufficient electrical or thermal energy to cause ignition in a volatile atmosphere (eg. petrochemical, flour dust, pharmaceutical vapours, etc.) In the example of a tablet computer, a hazardous area-certified tablet will operate the same as all other nonhazardous area equivalents, but because of the IECEx certification (for Australia), the computer cannot generate enough heat by either a spark or radiation to ignite a volatile atmosphere.

The IECEx certification includes a classification for Intrinsically Safe products based on the frequency of the occurrence and the duration of an explosive gas atmosphere. There are also various other gradings to be considered but from a high level;

Zone 0 – Area in which an explosive gas atmosphere is present continuously or for long periods or frequently.

Zone 1 – Area in which an explosive gas atmosphere is likely to occur in normal operation occasionally.

Zone 2 – Area in which an explosive gas atmosphere is not likely to occur in normal operation but, if it does occur, will persist for a short period only.

The recommended retail prices for the computing products are dependant on their zone rating with Zone 2 generally the most economical even though the device ability for computing is exactly the same as a Zone 0 computer.

Accessorize your Intrinsically Safe devices

Today’s landscape for hazardous area mobile computing platforms has changed dramatically compared to 5 years ago. Unlike then, today the Intrinsically Safe Mobile computing products can be either Windows 10 or Android-based, either a 10 inch or 8-inch tablet, or if required, mobile phone-sized computing products. All have options for LTE (cellular connection), wifie and Bluetooth with easy-to-connect bar scanners. There are a host of accessories that can be considered as well including leather carry straps (these must be IECEx certified as well), earphones, docking stations, screen protectors, etc.

If you are considering an Intrinsically Safe computer for your organization, it is important that you contact a supplier that is knowledgeable about the options for your environment and the legislative requirements.  They will be happy to work with you to ensure the final solution suits the situation, meets all your IT requirements and that the users have “buy-in” to ensure it is accepted in the workplace.

If you have any questions about this blog, or just wish to discuss your particular situation, call us at Rom-Control on 1300 766 287 or message via https://www.rom-control.com.au/contact-us/