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Explosion Proof Equipment: Catering to Safety Standards in Hazardous Areas

The world has witnessed rapid industrialization and urbanization with the advent of time. Several technological advancements and changes in the industrial scenario have brought about a major improvement in the safety norms for industries. The swift growth of various industry verticals has enhanced the production efficiencies and improved the outcome of processes. However, it has also added to the risk aspect, due to the widespread use of dangerous substances or procedures, which could potentially cause an explosion.

The emergence of explosion proof equipment can be touted as the next step by regulatory authorities for improving their safety standards and precautions in hazardous areas. These equipment are designed specifically to withstand the worst in the case of an explosion and have to be certified as explosion-proof. The global industry for explosion proof equipment is emerging, owing to the stringency of government regulations on industrial safety. The use of such protective gear and products has now become a clear precautionary protocol, especially in the areas terms as hazardous.

The global explosion proof market is an emergent industry and is touted to scale major growth opportunities for expansion in hazardous industries that are susceptible to witness potential explosions. A detailed study of the market, by experts at Allied Market Research, reveals that the industry is set to reach a value of $8,217 million by the year 2022. This is possible with a projected CAGR of 9.3% during the period 2016–2022. The market expects a significant growth with a rise in demand from industries that have classified hazardous areas, such as oil & gas and chemicals sector. Even geography-wise, the industry is estimated to fare considerably well in the Asia-Pacific and LAMEA region in the near future.

A prerequisite for safety in oil & gas sector

The oil and gas sector is a multi-million dollar industry with several stakes involved in it. The operations of this industry are the most vulnerable to catastrophes due to the sheer volatility of the elements functioning within. It is believed to be one of the most hazardous sectors and safety standards call for use of explosion proof equipment within the various classified areas.

The oil & gas industry has been a strong participant in the entire explosion proof equipment industry, and this segment is expected to dominate the market share in the next few year. The growth of the segment is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 10.3% till 2022. The several products that are available on the market include cable glands, junction boxes & enclosures, lifting and material handling systems, lighting & signaling devices, and surveillance modules that are resistant to explosions or any outbreak of fire.

The products are designed strategically to be used in oil rigs and harnessing facilities. They are meant to withstand the explosions, if any, caused by the gasses and sparks emitted by electrical apparatus set up on these rigs. A tiny spark or fuse if ignited in the vicinity of these electrical devices could potentially lead to a series of explosions, which can eventually cause the entire system to break down.

Industry’s reliability on graded and certified products

Electrical products that are to be used on onshore and offshore oil platforms are supposed to be certified for use by regulatory authorities. While it is the CE mark which decides the safety of such apparatus in Europe, the industries in North America use products that are graded and tested by the Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory. The labels are given according to the divisions and classes of classified hazardous areas, depending on the complexity and risk factor of the area in question. Thus, a large number of product manufacturers are ensuring their products and equipment satisfy the set criteria and are available at competitive prices in the market. This has also ensured a dynamic competitive scenario with several products demonstrating remarkable ability to withstand the effects of an explosion when used in such industries.

Tailoring industry-specific solutions for oil & gas

The industry is swiftly expanding to cater to the needs and growing demand for explosion proof products in the oil and gas sector. Competitors have realized the need to create products and solutions that optimize the safety factor and offset the risk of eruptions on oil rigs and platforms. Products are being tailor made for industry specific demands and to sustain in conditions that could arise in specialized processes. Given below are some of the explosion proof products and solutions that were recently launched and are concentrated for use in hazardous areas.

For instance, EATON has recently offered the FlashGard MCC among its latest technologies to hit the market. The recent product launch demonstrated several features including bus isolation, stab indication, and lockout. These are essential for enhancing the workers’ safety and protection of equipment from hazardous arc flash. Arc flashes are dangerous conditions that occur when explosive energy is released by electrical arcs, caused mainly due to phase-to-ground- or phase-to-phase faults. The product prevents insulation & isolation and removes the dangerous voltages with its advanced features. It is also being touted as an effective solution for ensuring personnel and equipment safety.

Other companies, such as Siemens, Intertek Group, and Extronics are also developing efficient solutions for explosion proof enclosures. Manufacturers in the industry are focusing on the addition of surveillance techniques to monitor the enclosures and get real-time data on potential casualties. The introduction of CCTV systems and HMI (Human-machine interface) devices as a part of a complete unit is quickly proving as an ideal solution for both offshore and onshore oil & gas applications.

Cooper Industries is also another player in the market which offers explosion proof products and enclosures. It has recently offered a new hydraulic hose monitoring system that keeps a continuous watch on the health of hydraulic hose assemblies. Moreover, it gives out notifications regarding hose failure, further enabling safety, reduction in system downtime, and prevention of damage to the machine platforms.

With such products making pathways in the market, and several manufacturers venturing into product design and development, the industry is set to earn revenues. The sale of explosion proof equipment in the oil & gas sectors, in particular for hazardous areas accounted for a total revenue of $874 million in the year 2016. This is a clear testimony to the market potential possessed by such products in providing industry-specific tailored solutions.

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