ATEX LED MAX, the new luminaire for zone 2-22 made by Airfal

Airfal International expands its family of light fixtures for explosive atmospheres with a highly innovative product, manufactured by the company. The ATEX LED MAX luminaire is a light fixture  that can be installed as a hood and as a projector, and has a protection for Zone 2-22.

Read more

Lighting in underground mines

lighting underground minesA characteristic of underground mining operations is that, as we move from the surface to the interior, the darkness becomes more complete, which is why lighting is a very important and fundamental factor.

Under these conditions, it may be interesting for mining companies to focus on a key aspect of the production equipment, lighting.

In underground mines, it is vital to have safe and efficient lighting. Airfal manufactures high optical performance luminaires adapted to underground mines. These Atex certified light fixtures meet the highest safety standards and are explosion proof.

Explosion hazard in underground mines involves the use of special lighting to avoid possible accidents. In coal mines, firedamp concentration can be high, resulting in explosive atmospheres, An explosion can be caused by mechanical or electrical sparks.

Inside the mine, where the atmosphere is potentially explosive,  electricity has to be used safely. To prevent or minimize the effects of explosions, besides mine ventilation, electrical equipment and lighting has to be specially designed for use in explosive atmospheres.

All electrical equipment and lighting used in the mine must be able to withstand an internal explosion, and prevent any risk of spreading an explosion, which is called explosion-proof.

Lighting standards help ensure the safety of lighting installations in mines. The lighting systems used inside a mine must comply with the ATEX directive, and avoid any risk of explosion or propagation. The ATEX normative (explosive atmosphere) is the result of two European Directives (1994/9/EC and ATEX 137) for equipment intended for use in ATEX zones and 100A ATEX 1999/92/EC or safety of workers).

With many years of experience in technical lighting, Airfal has created the Minex luminaire which has been designed  for use in hazardous areas. With low maintenance cost, easy installation, and maximum security, the luminaire Minex is compliant with Atex. It was created especially for lighting in underground mines. It can also be used in other industrial facilities, both indoors or  outdoors.

Led light fixtures for the mining industry

Effective mining companies must use the latest technologies, including a safe and effective lighting system. The main characteristics of a lighting system for mines are safety, durability, efficiency and long life. Such elements are essential to survive in the harsh environment of the modern mining industry.

LED lighting is extremely popular today in the industry and in particular in mining, because of the many technical advantages of this technology. Increased longevity, efficiency, energy savings, respect for the environment are some of the many benefits that can offer LED light fixtures for mines. Airfal offers a range of lLED light fixtures suitable for mining, light and strong, with an exceptional lighting performance. These luminaires are designed for extreme environments, and can withstand explosions.

Please contact us for more information about Airfal luminaires suitable for the mining industry.

Certification of ATEX lighting: interview with Carlos Jiménez

ATEX lighting is very complex and still unrecognized by many industry professionals around the world. In the previous articles, we have analyzed what ATEX lighting is and why it is necessary to distinguish it from flameproof lighting.

Airfal is the only Spanish company certified to manufacture this type of lighting and to understand why it is so complex to certify this type of product, we interviewed Carlos Jiménez, director of Airfal’s R + D + i.

Carlos explains the process that follows an ATEX luminaire from the “first draft”bto its introduction on the market.

Read more

ATEX and Explosion-proof luminaires: why they are different

In many cases the terms ATEX and Explosion-proof are confused and according to many, they have the same meaning,  but this is far from being true.  reality. In addition, this error can lead to dangerous situations, and manufacturers and installers have a great responsability, so it is necessary to make the relevant distinctions.

Read more

Explosion proof light fixtures and lighting in hazardous industrial areas

industrial-lightingA high risk or hazardous area is where a mixture of air and potentially explosive substances such as gases, vapours, mists or dusts, could spread. Typical examples of hazardous environments are refineries, drilling platforms, chemical and power-generation facilities, mines… In these locations, it is required to ensure safety against occurrence of arcs, sparks and excessive temperature. Currently, lighting for shale gas drilling platforms that are expanding in many countries, requires compliance with a gas facility classified as Zone 1 (ATEX hazardous area) and Zone 2 (standards Class I Div 1 and Class I Div 2 in the USA).
Industrial lighting must often provide illumination in areas where usual lighting is inadequate. Some factors related to the very nature of the activities carried out have to be taken into account, due mainly to the materials handled and the by-products produced. Whether the manufacturing process deals with the processing of hazardous petrochemicals or relatively benign food products such as food grain, there is always the underlying risk of accidental ignitions of flammable or explosive of materials. An atmosphere saturated with gasoline or solvent vapours can literally turn an enclosed area into a potential bomb capable of releasing enough force to destroy the entire building.

The main way to prevent explosions in such industrial areas is to remove potential ignition sources. Potential ignition sources is anything which has the ability to produce sparks, flame, or otherwise is capable of producing enough heat to ignite any flammable materials which may be present. In industries and facilities, the primary sources of potential ignition are usually electrical, they are numerous, and it is usually impossible to remove from the industrial process. They can be machinery, equipment, electrical switches and controls, or lighting, and they are all necessary for the manufacturing process. They represent potential sources of ignition due to their potential for creating heat, sparks, and even open flame.

Of all the potential sources of electrically caused ignitions, lighting is perhaps the most commonly encountered. No matter the facility, lighting will play an important role in hazardous areas. In order to protect against this potential for ignition, lighting used in hazardous locations must be specially designed and certified by regulators for use in these areas. This type of light fixtures falls into the categories of “Explosion Proof” and plays a critical role in protecting the industrial facilities against catastrophic accidents. Airfal is a manufacturer of safe explosion protection lighting for use in hazardous areas and harsh environments, which are fully certified.

Explosion proof fixtures provide protection by preventing any ignitions within the fixture from igniting the atmosphere outside of the fixture. Explosion proof fixtures are not fully sealed, but they have the ability to prevent the ignition of the atmosphere outside the light fixture should it contain flammable vapors, gases, or combustible dusts, whereas in a standard light fixture, the bulb, contacts, wiring, and any switches are all directly exposed to the local atmosphere. The spark from a loose contact or the movement of the switch and even the heat of the bulb can be a danger.

Airfal features several light fixtures for hazardous areas in its range of products, including LED light fixtures which are environmentally friendly and offer energy efficiency and light control for difficult and harsh locations:
PYROS is an explosion proof light fixture made of polycarbonate cover and aluminium ends with great mechanic strength. Lamp holders mounted over removable reflector make maintenance work easier.
SECURE is an ATEX tubular light fitting which is IP68 protected. This allows a total protection against dust and against water penetration during a long time. Impact protection is IK10, the best protection degree available for a luminaire. SECURE is specifically designed for ATEX 2 and 22 zones, and is adequate for places where occasionally may appear dust or atmosphere potentially explosive, but never as usual condition.
MINEX is designed for lighting in mining applications and underground spaces susceptible to firedamp. It can also be used in other industrial places, indoor, outdoor or under shelter.
LUMEX: Light fitting designed for industrial space lighting that are NOT mines, especially places with very high ceilings.
VITRA: explosion proof light fixture made of borosilicate tempered glass cover and aluminium ends. This light fitting is designed in order to obtain resistance against chemical products such as hydrocarbons or other chemical products that are aggressive against polycarbonate. This is achieved by using a tempered borosilicate glass tube.
FLAME has been designed to operate in environments in which an explosive atmosphere can be formed or can be present according to ATEX 94/9/CE directive, through the combination of Improve Security Protection “e” for gases and “tb” body protection for dust. Furthermore, the combination of M1 non flame propagator polycarbonate, as well as antistatic additives in the cap plastic makes it perfect for areas with explosion or fire risks.
Contact us today, and we will be more than happy to help you finding out the right explosion proof light fitting.

LED lighting fixtures for use in hazardous areas

US system compared to EU Atex ZonesAt the same time that Lima Climate Change Conference is about to start, manufacturers have become increasingly aware of the urgent need to implement more environmentally friendly solutions for the planet. Lighting represents almost 20% of global energy consumption and industrial locations that operate 7 days a week and 24 hours a day consume a great deal of energy to ensure their lighting. To cope with these challenges, LED technology is now gaining widespread use in industrial lighting, as it is especially suitable for use in hazardous locations.
A high risk or hazardous area is where a mixture of air and potentially explosive substances such as gases, vapours, mists or dusts, could spread. Typical examples of hazardous environments are refineries, drilling platforms, chemical and power-generation facilities, mines… In these locations, it is required to ensure safety against occurrence of arcs, sparks and excessive temperature. Currently, lighting for shale gas drilling platforms that are expanding in many countries, requires compliance with a gas facility classified as Zone 1 (ATEX hazardous area) and Zone 2 (standards Class I Div 1 and Class I Div 2 in the USA).
LEDs are full-spectrum light sources and provide excellent color rendering. LED directs the light to where it’s needed with very little scattering or loss. By contrast, conventional lamps cast light in every direction hence the reduction in lumens compared to LEDs. Not only LED lights meet the highest standards of color rendering IRC (70-85), efficiency (up to 160 lumens/watt) and lifetime, but in addition, unlike other sources such as fluorescent tubes, their emissivity is increased in cold environments.
Compared with sodium vapor lamps under high pressure to mercury vapor lamps or incandescent lamps, LED can prevent accidents related to poor visibility thanks to its better color rendering. LED lighting also facilitates better reading of safety instructions for earlier intervention in cases of immediate danger. This helps to lower the risks of accidents and allow faster interventions.
Intelligent lighting control can furthermore provide lighting as needed: LED lighting offers another advantage of being able to vary the light intensity as needed without loss. Coupled to sensors, LED lighting can adapt and increase or decrease the brightness depending on the presence of certain gases, some dust or in case of fire. In addition, a centralized management is now possible to optimize energy savings.
High ceilings in industrial facilities make that the light fixtures can be remote or difficult to access. Maintenance and replacement could be extremely expensive. Sturdy and long running, LED lighting requires very little maintenance, which is essential, due to the vast expense of a shutdown. Containing no gas, LED lights are very safe and recycling is easier, like any other electronic product. With 100,000 hours of life, LED lighting reduces the need for maintenance. Even coupled with an intelligent lighting system, it only lights up when needed and it turns off automatically.
In hazardous areas such as drilling platforms lighting also has to be able to withstand constant shock and vibration. ATEX certified lighting should be stronger than traditional lighting. With a 100% electronic lighting, LED is already more resistant than other materials.
Airfal develops ATEX certified LED lighting solutions (Pyros, Vitra and Secure) that reduce energy consumption without compromising the level of lighting, especially in hazardous locations. Resistant to shock and vibration, they avoid the frequent replacement of lamps. They don’t contain mercury or other hazardous products to make them more ecological. Airfal LED light fixtures are environmentally friendly and offer energy efficiency and light control for difficult and harsh locations.

Airfal launches the new 2014 catalogue of luminaires

Airfal is delighted to launch a brand new catalogue for 2014, on may 1st.
This catalogue showcases our different ranges of luminaires, with a very contemporary look, and numerous pictures displaying examples of different lighting projects undertaken by the company.  Read more

How to manage lighting for hazardous areas ?

atmosfera explosible

A hazardous area is defined as any place in which an explosive atmosphere may occur. Hazardous areas may exist due to flammable gases or vapours or combustible dust. Explosions can cause loss of life and serious injuries as well as extensive damage. If there is enough quantity of flammable substance (the fuel) mixed with oxygen (the oxidizer), an ignition source (e.g. an electric spark) is sufficient to cause an explosion, in which combustion spreads to the entire mixture yet unburned, and can be caused by unadapted light fixtures.

Where can explosive atmospheres be found?

Many workplaces may develop or have activities that produce explosive or potentially explosive atmospheres. Examples include places where work activities create or release flammable gases or vapours, such as:

– Vehicle paint spraying,

– Metal processing facilities, where explosive metal dusts may form.

– Processing units of raw materials that generate fine organic dusts such as grain flour or wood manufacturing units.

The potential for explosive atmospheres can exist in a range of mainly industrial locations such as mines, factories, agricultural silos, and oil and gas platforms, water and other chemical processing environments.  There is a wide range of products intended for use in such areas, including control equipment and sensors, transformers, fans, pumps, compressors, fork lift trucks, and lighting. Read more