Explosion Proof Vacuums
Explosion proof vacuum cleaners are vacuum cleaners that work just as they sound. They are industrial vacuum cleaners designed and manufactured to remove flammable substances and dangerous solids and liquids from surfaces without sparking an explosion or starting a fire. To that end, explosion proof vacuum cleaners are built start to finish from non-sparking materials such as stainless steel and fiber, thereby greatly decreasing their risk of catching park from contact with a material or generating static electricity. The types of materials to which they attend include aluminum powder, debris, filings or fibers, flammable gas/vapors, flammable liquids, large amounts of fine dust and petrochemicals. Settings in which such materials are found and explosion proof vacuum cleaners are used include industrial manufacturing plants and construction zones. More specifically, manufacturers that rely on them to keep their dust from being divided and dispersed include: plastic pellet manufacturers, solid organic material manufacturers, sugar manufacturers, corn starch manufacturers and wood manufacturers. Those that engage in shaping, grinding, polishing and transportation, all processes that stir up dust, also rely on explosion proof vacuum cleaners.
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Design of Explosion Proof Vacuums
When constructing an explosion proof vacuum cleaner, manufacturers must consider static dissipation, electrical insulation and chemical neutrality. To help them reach their safety goals, housings are typically made from stainless steel or reinforced fiberglass, while parts such as casters and inlets are usually made from bronze or plastic. Most explosion proof vacuums are capable of ingesting and processing both dry materials and wet materials. In addition, explosion proof vacuums typically use a water filtration system. Water filtration systems, or water filters, consist of an immersion separator that quenches combustible dust and other materials with a water bath. By quenching the hazardous materials, the immersion separator effectively eliminates the risk of combustion caused by them inside the vacuum storage tank. Likewise, some explosion proof vacuum cleaners are equipped with filters that reduce airborne dust. Other ways that manufacturers can imbue their explosion proof vacuum cleaners with more intrinsic safety include: eliminating the use of electricity (instead using compressed air) in order to rid the system of the possibility of sparks coming from switches and other electrical components, eliminating moving parts in order to eliminate the possibility of ignition caused by mechanical friction and by making sure that all elements of the system are fully grounded. Grounding all attachments, tools and hoses, including the air supply line, collection drum and dolly, is very important, as doing so ensures that they will not spark during operation.
Standards and Specifications of Explosion Proof Vacuums
Explosion proof vacuum cleaners are not truly considered to be explosion proof until they have received certification from the US National Electrical Code (NEC) 500 and 505 standards. The NEC also puts forth classes, divisions and groups that match hazardous materials and environments with the vacuum types that will work best for them. Examples of these rating systems include: temperature classes, type of protection and the specific gas or vapor for which the vacuum is approved. Types of protection designated in Classes I, II and III with Divisions 1 and 2 include: explosion proof, intrinsically safe apparatus, associated apparatus with intrinsically safe connections, associated nonincendive field wiring circuit, pressurized, associated pressurization systems/components, nonincendive apparatus and nonincendive field wiring apparatus, dust ignition proof and special protection. Other possible types of protection include: flameproof, increased safety, encapsulation, non-sparking apparatus, protected contacts, restricted breathing, oil immersion, pressurization and powder fill. Without NEC certification and consultation with their rating system, there is no way of really knowing whether or not a vacuum has been built to meet American safety standards and/or the needs of a specific application. Proceeding without this knowledge could prove disastrous. Manufacturers should also make sure that the explosion proof vacuum cleaners that they are selling meet the standards of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). When operating explosion proof vacuum cleaners, especially in areas known to contain high levels of flammable gases, vapors or liquids, vacuum operators must still exercise extra caution. Ignition of these materials can be caused by a variety of circumstances, including metal to metal contact, hot surfaces, static electricity, glowing embers, flames and electrical sparks.
Things to Consider When Purchasing an Explosion Proof Vacuum Cleaner
To learn more about how an explosion proof vacuum cleaner can benefit their application(s) and how to best care for their machines, interested parties are advised to discuss their specifications with an experienced vacuum manufacturer. For the best manufacturers, consult one or more of those posted on this page. The skilled vacuum cleaner manufacturers listed on IQS Directory can assist anyone find their perfect match.