Five reasons to specify an ATEX and IECEx approved crane in hazardous environments
Cranes and hoists often operate in hazardous, dangerous and potentially explosive areas, where a single incident can cause significant, personal injury, damage, downtime and loss of income or production.
In addition to being indispensable to manufacturing, processing and distribution operations – where often, if the cranes stop, business stops – cranes and hoists are also regularly lifting valuable pieces of equipment, or are next to or above valuable machinery and plant.
An explosion or failure of a crane can cause even greater collateral damage to these, compounding the problem for a host of industries encountering or using flammable substances, chemicals, vapours, gases from liquids, volatile substances and dust.
Industries commonly affected, include bulk handling and distribution, transport, including road and rail logistics and ports, chemical processing, energy, food and beverage, manufacturing, logistics, mining and mineral processing, oil and gas, materials handling; mechanical, production and process engineering, industrial logistics; water, waste water and biomass recycling.
In these environments, safety is paramount. As a leading global crane manufacturer and the world’s largest crane service organisation – with more than 450,000 pieces of lifting equipment of all brands under service agreement worldwide – Konecranes has extensive experience in explosion-proof and ATEX and IECEx compliant cranes.
Konecranes manufactures its EX ranges to the globally respected ATEX and IECEx compliance standards aimed improving the health and safety protection of workers potentially at risk from explosive atmospheres.
Konecranes expert David Wilson, Industrial Crane Sales Manager, believes there are five major reasons why companies should always specify an ATEX and IECEx approved crane in hazardous environments:
1. Safety. The single most important reason to specify an ATEX and IECEx approved crane is safety. Without the proper cooling systems in place, a crane’s engine may reach very high temperatures and cause minor sparks that are harmless in other situations, but deadly in explosive environments, where vapours, mist, dust and other contaminants can react with a single spark with devastating consequences. In dusty environments, it’s also essential to have motors and engines completely covered, to avoid flammable dust particles coming into contact with a heated area. Non-ATEX and IECEx approved lifting equipment may have these safety features, but ATEX and IECEx approved equipment confirms it.
2. Compliance. ATEX and IECEx are living things – they are constantly being expanded and improved, so companies need to learn the latest requirements and to incorporate them into their duty of care. In many regards, this can be a specialised and expert process which many companies choose to ascribe to experts such as Konecranes. The ATEX directive also gives strict rules for constant production and product quality follow- up. For Konecranes, having that certificate is our assurance to our customers that we are doing everything possible to provide them with the highest levels of safety and compliance. We even have multiple certifications to substantiate the quality of our products: IECEx for the world, ATEX for Europe, CSA US for the United States and INMETRO for Brazil.
3. It makes good business sense to do so. The small initial saving you might make up-front buying a non-ATEX and IECEx certified crane will be dwarfed by the costs and downtime if an explosion or incident occurs, where you could be looking at replacing the crane, replacing other machinery, loss of inventory and significant downtime. And even more important than this, a worker may have been injured in the incident. Konecranes understands that staff are any
company’s most valuable asset and it designs cranes to the highest levels of safety to minimise any risk to human life.
4. It avoids additional risk. In addition to the safety risks outlined in point one, there may be liability issues for crane operators and owners if they were aware they were working in a potentially high explosive environment in industries such as petro-chemical, power and gas, steel, mining, ports and infrastructure, pulp and paper, general manufacturing or automotive and didn’t select a crane with ATEX and IECEx certification. If a person is injured and finds out that an ATEX and IECEx certified crane was needed for that environment, there may be legal consequences for the owner/operator.
5. You get the most out of your crane. Design life for ATEX and IECEx compliant cranes is as good, or better because maintenance of these cranes has to be subjected to additionally close scrutiny. In order to maintain compliance with ATEX and IECEx regulations, these cranes have to be regularly inspected, serviced and quality control checked, which means there is a high level of traceability and a lower chance of problems occurring that would reduce design life.
Konecranes performs Crane Reliability Studies, inspections, service and maintenance on all makes and models of crane. Konecranes technicians are well versed in all aspects of compliance, and are constantly updating their knowledge of ATEX, IECEx and other important standards, states the company.
For hazardous and explosive environments, Konecranes believes specifying an ATEX and IECEx approved crane is essential. It operates under the slogan ‘hooked on safety’ and every product it produces or services has safety as a core focus, promises the company. If you see a Konecranes’ product with EX in front of it, you know that it has been certified for use in explosive environments, often with multiple certifications.
These products have the same features and advantages as the regular ranges, but with additional safety features to safeguard them in explosive environments. These additional features include special continuous temperature control; thermal protection; sparkproof, flameproof and dustproof covers; enclosed parts; electrical enclosures; overload switches; pushbuttons and limit switches.
KONECRANES EX CRANES EXCXT ELECTRIC WIRE ROPE HOISTS
The Konecranes EXCXT electric hoist with wire rope brings a new approach to lif ting in hazardous environments. A special version of its popular CXT hoist, unique mechanics reduce ignition risks under standard operating conditions. Constantly updated with the latest technology, the EXCXT has created a new industry benchmark that’s hard to beat.
International EX certification, namely ATEX, CSA US, IECEX and INMETRO for gas and dust is one important factor to prove that safety is always the highest priority for Konecranes. Class F insulation, IP65 protection for electrical enclosures and IP66 for motors comes standard. The electrical components and motor are designed and built to EX regulations, and are carefully shielded inside enclosures with de- protection.
EXN ELECTRIC CHAIN HOIST CRANES
The Konecranes EXN electric chain hoist crane offers a level of safety and versatility the company is proud of in small load lif ting. Using a sturdy steel structure and a full set of components designed specifically for use in cranes in hazardous areas, Konecranes says you can rely on the EXN crane to lif t up to five metric tons in most hazardous environments.
Full EX certification shows Konecranes’ equipment is designed to maximise crane safety in hazardous environments. A unique mechanical configuration reduces the likelihood of sparks and other ignition risks under normal operating conditions.
ELECTRIC CHAIN HOISTS
The Konecranes EXN electric chain hoist offers the high level of safety and reliability needed in a hazardous environment, says the crane manufacturer. High- performance motors, reliable 48V contactor controls and easy maintenance contribute to keeping your hoists running with a minimal amount of down time.
EX certification, namely ATEX, CSA Canada, IECEX and INMETRO indicates design for safety in hazardous environments. A special mechanical configuration minimises the chance of sparks under normal operating conditions. Flameproofing, EX enclosures and epoxy paint give physical surfaces strong protection.
EX WORKSTATION CRANES
Konecranes EX workstation cranes give productivity a boost when you install them in your facility, the company states. With ATEX and IECEX certified electrics and a strong metal structure, a 2000kg capacity and an optimised working area below, they fit ‘perfectly’ into most hazardous environment.
Machined wheels and quality bearings ensure smooth travelling and reduce noise. Available in both steel and aluminium, the weld-free modular system makes the cranes safer and easier to install, maintain and modify.
EX MANUAL HOISTS AND TROLLEYS
Konecranes EKM2 manual chain hoists and EKPT manual trolleys don’t need electrical power. That means you can lif t in places where electricity is not available or difficult to connect. They are a cost- effective solution when you don’t need them to lif t every day.
Safety is always crucial at Konecranes, the company emphasises. The mechanics of the EKM2 and the EKPT have been designed to reduce the risk of sparks under normal operating conditions, earning them an ATEX certificate. No electronics means no risk of a short circuit in a hazardous environment.
KONECRANES ZONE 1 EX MOTORS ARE DESIGNED WITH THE EX PROTECTION FEATURE “FLAMEPROOF ENCLOSURE.” THE MOTOR IS ALSO EQUIPPED WITH A THERMISTOR SENSOR, WHICH AUTOMATICALLY STOPS OPERATION IF THE MOTOR IS TOO HOT.