Atex Two Way Radio Solutions – Intrinsically safe two way radios
Atex radios are used in some particular industries such as oil & gas or mining where a dangerous chance of an explosion exists. This might be caused by unintentional ignition of flammable gases, mists and vapours or by combustible dust…
It is essential to prevent any explosion-like accidents and one of the ways is to use the correct equipment. The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR) place duties on employers to eliminate or control the risks from explosive atmospheres in the workplace by using specially selected equipment.
The Directive 94/9/EC allows ATEX equipment to be used within EU member countries without the need for testing this equipment repeatedly in each member country. In the UK this is put in place through BIS Equipment and Protective Systems Intended for Use in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 1996 (SI 1996/192) which determines regulations for all equipment used in the explosive atmospheres, including two way radios.
These regulations ensure that all the products meet the essential health and safety requirements and undertake all the tests which will ensure the products’ ATEX protection. These products are then marked by the ‘EX’ symbol which signalises the ATEX certification.
There exists a few different categories within the ATEX equipment
Therefore it is essential to assess the environment in order to select the right intrinsically safe two way radio equipment.
The ATEX equipment can be divided into two Groups I and II:
Equipment within the Group I should be used at mines or similar environments, (fire, damp and / or combustible dust)
Category M1 – equipment stays functional even when rare accidents occur, (such as fire or explosion)
Category M2 – equipment to be de-energised in the event of rare accident
This group represents the other places rather than mining where explosions can occur. For instance oil and gas industry, power stations and ports …
Category 1 – equipment designed to be used in explosive environments where gases, vapours, mists or dust mixtures are present continuously
Category 2 – equipment designed to be used in likely explosive environments with gases, vapours or mists or dust mixtures
Category 3- equipment designed to be used in unlikely explosive environments with gases, vapours, mists or dust mixtures
The right ATEX two way radio
With the technology moving forward, we now have two way radios on the market which can actually fulfil a few of the above categories at the same time.
Let’s have a look at the Motorola DP4401 Ex (Non-Display) – digital intrinsically safe two way radio.
This radio has Group II and category 2 protection as well as Group I category M2 protection.
This radio is considered to be one of the toughest Atex rated radios on the current market. It has IP 67 rating and exceeds Military Standards 810 (E/F/G) for durability. It also come with really strong audio which is very handy in noisy environments.
This model also comes with Man Down and Lone Worker function already built in, to strengthen the safety and security of the users.
Very similar Atex approved two way radio to the above is Hytera PD795 Ex (Displayed)
This radio also has Group II – category 2 protection and Group 1 – category M2.
Hytera PD795 Ex also has IP 67 rating and Military Standards (C/D/E/F/G) for durability. This radio has the Man Down and Lone Worker function already built in too. This model also comes with multiple language settings (including German, English, French, Spanish, Polish, Italian, and Russian …)
The price range on the Ex rated products might seem a bit more than the ‘normal’ radios or / when compared to the same models without the EX certification. The ATEX testing, qualification and certification is a really long and expensive process which also add to the final price of the radio. Furthermore, the products are rugged and the highest durability of these products is ensured. New digital ATEX two way radios also come with already built-in functions such as Man Down and Lone Worker as a standard.
We at Apex have an extensive experience with design of ATEX radiosystems and solutions for instance we have designed an ATEX communication solution for Akzo Nobel, Shanks Waste Management and Cummins Engineering.
Our senior engineer Richard Heads has this to say about working with ATEX Equipment: “It’s a great sense of job satisfaction when delivery of an ATEX radio product gives a customer the sense of security and confidence that they need to operate radio equipment which fulfils both communication requirements and meets the stringent ATEX guidelines that keep employees as safe as possible”