Explosion proof lighting is lighting fixtures designed for use in environments with chemicals, gasses, high heat, flammable dust, and liquids. They are specially designed with a rugged enclosure to contain any explosion within the light fixture and prevent it from causing a fire outbreak or igniting the flammable materials in the environment.
Explosion proof lighting reduces the risk of ignition that could occur when flammable materials come in contact with sparks from the light bulb or even the heat generated by regular light bulbs. This is achieved by enclosing all the light fixture components in a durable compartment that can contain any internal explosion. Although explosion proof lights have rigid lenses, they are not always vapor-tight; hence, they don't perform the same function as vapor-tight-proof lights and might not be wholly protected against liquid ingress.
According to the National Electric Code (NEC) published by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), it has been mandated that all lighting fixtures used in hazardous locations should be explosion-proof. This is a measure that has to be taken to improve the safety of workers.
As a result, explosion proof lights have been specially designed and approved for these locations, considering the dangers posed during work activities. Ex-proof lights have a robust enclosure that secures the light bulb, wires, sockets, etc., against contact from explosive materials in the air.
On the flip side, ordinary lighting fixtures do not offer such protection, which means the bulb, and wiring, are exposed to flammable materials. For this reason, you should use explosion proof lights to improve the safety of workers in risky environments.
Different explosion proof lights use different bulb technology like the High-Intensity Discharge bulb and halogen bulb, but choosing LED light has many advantages. The major one is cost-efficiency. Although LEDs have higher initial costs, the cost of maintenance is low. Unlike other bulbs, they can last for over 50 000 hours, so you don't have to replace them so often.
LED explosion proof lights are environmentally preferable. They do not contain any harmful chemicals or ultraviolet rays so they are safe to use. LEDs can also be recycled since they are eco-friendly.
In addition, LED bulbs are versatile. They work well in cold weather and do not dim or flicker like fluorescent bulbs. LEDs have good lumen maintenance; the brightness of the light doesn't reduce drastically over time. The light output reduces slowly until burnout time.
Hazardous locations are classified according to the category of flammable material present in the environment. Explosion-proof lights are designed to fall into different classifications of risky locations. This classification is based on National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 70®, National Electric Code® (NEC). The most common classification is the class, division, and group classification.
Flammable fibers and flyings are present within the environment.
Other combustible dust: Chemicals, flour, grain, plastic, and wood
People often confuse these two light fixtures; however, while they achieve the same purpose, which is to prevent fire outbreaks, there is a big difference in how they achieve this.
Explosion proof lights are designed to contain any explosion within the light fixture to prevent it from spreading outside. Their durable covers act as a barrier so, in case of an explosion, the spark will be contained. This prevents the spark from igniting the flammable particles and gases in the atmosphere, thereby preventing a fire outbreak.
On the flip side, intrinsically safe lighting is powered by low-voltage bulbs like LED bulbs. They are designed to limit the amount of energy consumed so that sparks cannot occur, preventing internal explosions. Intrinsically safe lights often use batteries and rechargeable batteries instead of electricity.
Unlike explosion-proof lights, intrinsically safe lights are designed to prevent explosions instead of containing them. A typical industrial intrinsically safe light circuit will have a temperature sensor installed to limit the amount of energy consumed.
Explosion proof lights are enclosed in hard lenses to reduce the chances of a fire outbreak when a light bulb ignites a flammable material. They are designed to contain the explosion to prevent its spread.
LED explosion proof lights are durable and can be easily moved around. They also consume less energy and have high lumens. Explosion proof LED light has low heat emission which helps to reduce the risk of explosion.