Manufacturing an Ex Luminaire: How Hard Is It?
An Ex luminaire may seem, on the face of it, a relatively straightforward product to manufacture. “LEDs mounted to a PCB, connected to a power supply and contained inside a cast enclosure” – is there much more to it than that? In reality, it may be more complex than you’d first imagine; this is partly down to the current global supply shortages of electronic components but also due to the restrictive nature of manufacturing products designed for use in hazardous locations.
First, let’s consider the number of components that go into building a product. Using a SPARTAN Linear WL168 (one of the most popular products in the Raytec range) as an example, the number of components that go into manufacturing just one of these units is likely far more than you may have thought. A total of 753 individual parts are required to manufacture just a single unit!
Manufacturing a luminaire designed for use in a hazardous location, especially in the current climate of supply shortages, is inherently more challenging than manufacturing a luminaire designed for industrial or commercial applications. Due to the high-risk environments where an Ex luminaire is installed, the way it is designed, and then manufactured, must be heavily controlled. When it comes to the components being used, nearly all are stipulated in schedule drawings which are linked to the luminaire’s Ex certificate. This even includes the specification of paint that is used on the enclosure! Because the choice of components is so closely linked to the luminaire’s certificate, a manufacturer is unable to simply source an alternative should they run short of one of the hundreds of components used in each luminaire.
With this understanding, combined with the current global supply shortage on a wide range of electrical components, many manufacturers of hazardous area products are faced with extended lead times on numerous product lines.
At Raytec, a large stock holding, forward orders for key components, and the strengthening of our purchasing team have allowed us to mitigate the full impact of this to our customers. Some delays, and lengthening of lead times for certain products, have unfortunately been an inevitable consequence, but we continue our efforts to ensure any disruption is kept to a minimum. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that manufacturing an Ex luminaire is not quite as straightforward as “LEDs mounted to a PCB, connected to a power supply and contained inside a cast enclosure”!
If you have any questions, call us on +44 (0) 1670 520 055, or email Raytec Global at firstname.lastname@example.org.