2015: International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies

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On december 20th, 2013, the United Nations General Assembly declared  that 2015 will be the International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies (IYL 2015) .

Focused on the science of lighting and its applications, the International Year of the Light 2015 is a worldwide event that will stress the importance of light and optical technologies for the development of society.

This International Year is backed by a large consortium of scientific organizations including the UNESCO. It brings together many international players such as associations and scientific institutions, educational organizations, technology platforms, non-profit organizations and private sector partners.

With this event, the United Nations has recognized the importance of raising global awareness of how light-based technologies promote sustainable development and provide solutions to global challenges in energy, education, agriculture and health.

Light is a universal resource

According to the organizers of this global event, “Light plays an essential role in our daily lives and is located at the crossroads of many scientific disciplines in the 21st century. It revolutionized medicine, allowed the development of international communications via the Internet, and continues to influence many cultural, economic and global society policies. For centuries, the light has transcended all boundaries including geographic, gender, age, culture and race, and remains a tremendous resource to inspire training and research. »

Throughout this International Year of Light will be organized around the world at regional, national and international events, events, conferences, seminars, exhibitions and shows around the light, with among others the desire to promote technologies based on light and ensuring sustainable development.

For more information about the IYL: http://www.light2015.org/Home.html

Certifications of products for use in hazardous locations

Until recently, a manufacturer of electrical products for hazardous locations would have to design equipment to meet the national standards of each country in which he wanted to sell its products. Today, a manufacturer can go to almost any Certification Agency and receive a Certification Mark which will be accepted in almost any country in the world. However there are still differences between certifications. For instance, ATEX is a regional scheme in the European Union, and is mandatory. IECEx is a global certification, is voluntary and is open to all countries.

Equipment for use in hazardous locations must be certified to an appropriate national standard and marked as such by an accredited third party testing organization. There are currently 3 different certifications of products used in hazardous locations

North American Certification

The equivalent of the ATEX directive in the US is the HAZLOC standard. This standard given by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration defines and classifies hazardous locations such as explosive atmospheres. It aims to control the risks related to explosion in certain environments.
It comprises two elements:
– testing and evaluation of products being used
– inspection of the factory

In North America, all electrical equipment must be approved/certified as follows:
• In the USA, by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) accredited by OSHA.
• In Canada, by a Certification Body accredited by the Standards Council of Canada (SCC).
• The proof of certification must be displayed on the equipment in the form of the mark or label of the certification body.A certificate/declaration of compliance is not sufficient.

The Certification Body that granted the certification must inspect each factory (defined as the location where the product is manufactured and labelled) four times per year. This is the same for every Certification Body, and each must perform their own inspections. This is significantly different from ATEX and IECEx, certifications where a manufacturer may have Certificates issued by a number of different Notified Bodies, but the audit is only performed by one.
In North America, hazardous locations have traditionally been defined by a combination of classes and divisions .

In the U.S. and Canada, the certification of hazardous locations electrical equipment is cnow hanging and is evolving to the zone system. There is now an international 3-Zone area classification system for equipment used in hazardous locations.
• Zone 0 – An place in which an explosive gas atmosphere is continuously present
• Zone 1 – A place in which an explosive atmosphere is likely to occur in normal operation
• Zone 2 – A place which an explosive gas atmosphere does not normally exist.
In Canada, all new installations must use the 3-Zone system. Existing installations may continue to use the 2-Division system or opt to re-classify using the 3-Zone system.
In the U.S., all installations (both new and existing) can either continue using the 2-Division system or re-classify their product using the 3-Zone system. Read more

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.