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.