There are many factors to consider when specifying a hazardous area luminaire; light-output, colour temperature, emergency performance, to name a few, but how much consideration is given towards a luminaire’s certification?
As well as checking the manufacturers QAN and QAR, to ensure they are authorized to produce and sell hazardous equipment, time should also be given to assess the certification of the luminaire itself. Firstly, to make sure the product holds a valid certificate, relevant to where it’s being installed, but also to check some of the finer detail of the certificate which can be especially important for Zone 2 products.
Certifying to the Latest Standards
Any luminaire being installed in a hazardous location should be certified to the latest standards. However, an update to the standards (IEC 60079-7), in 2015, has meant that some Zone 2 luminaires being installed today, are not. Prior to the update, the majority of Zone 2 fittings being installed were certified using the ‘Ex n’ protection method, but the change to the standards has meant that they should now be certified using ‘Ex e’. A quick check on the ‘Marking’ section of a luminaire’s certificate will provide the answer;
In practical terms, the difference between a luminaire certified to the old standards, compared to one certified to the latest standards, could be significant. Many older Zone 2 fittings using ‘Ex n’ would have been based on safe area, industrial luminaires, with minor modifications that allowed it to be re-certified as Zone 2. The updates in IEC 60079-7:2015 have made it more difficult for manufacturers to do this, and the majority of Zone 2 fittings are now based on either; a Zone 1 approved fitting, or, designed specifically to comply with Zone 2 certification criteria. This has resulted in Zone 2 luminaires becoming more durable, and ultimately better suited for the harsh conditions of many hazardous area applications.
Another complication when specifying a Zone 2 luminaire is that manufacturers have the authority to ‘self- declare’ that the product is safe for use. While this is within the ATEX directive, having no third-party involvement from a notified body does increase the risk of unsafe equipment being specified and used in Zone 2 areas. It puts greater onus on the end user to confirm whether the product is suitable for the application.
The safest and most straightforward option for the end user is to specify a luminaire which has been certified by a notified body. This is the approach we take it at Raytec; we never self-declare our Zone 2 luminaires, and all are independently tested by a notified body in the UK.
When dealing with hazardous areas, looking in detail at a luminaire’s certification is critical; to ensure it’s compliant with the latest standards and has been certified by a credible, notified body. Failure to carry out these checks increases the risk of installing equipment which is unsafe. This information can be obtained from the products’ hazardous area certificate, which the manufacturer should make readily available.
Have a requirement for Zone 2 lighting? Give us a call us on +44 (0) 1670 520 055, or email Raytec Global at firstname.lastname@example.org or Raytec Americas at email@example.com.