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Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons have become a valuable technology for adding location tracking capabilities to your hazardous areas. With the right planning and configuration, BLE beacons can provide accurate indoor and outdoor location. This allows organisations to cost-effectively add location tracking of personnel and assets whilst reducing the total cost of ownership.  This article provides practical guidance on deploying BLE beacons to achieve optimal tracking performance. It covers indoor and outdoor setup considerations, best practices for beacon placement, and configuration tips for maximizing location accuracy.  What is the difference between a beacon and anchor?  For trilateration purposes it is recommended to use beacons. A beacon is simply a term used to describe a fixed beacon that is contributing to a tag’s position. An anchor is typically the term used when discussing Wirepas Mesh networks.   […]

Solar insolation is not insulation! Sometimes these two terms can get confused.  Solar insolation is the incident solar radiation onto an object.  Specifically, it is a measure of the solar energy incident on an area over a period of time.  Typically expressed as either:  Kilowatt-hours per square metre (kWh/m2); or  Watts per square metre (W/m2)  The energy from solar radiation can either be absorbed or reflected by an object. When the radiation is absorbed, it is converted into thermal energy and the object will heat up. If you have ever sat on a hot metal park bench in summer and burnt the back of your knees, then you have experienced firsthand the effects of radiation absorption. The metal structure of the bench has absorbed the solar radiation, which has heated the material making it hot […]

There are many misconceptions when it comes to hazardous area wireless installations. As experts in this field, we notice the same questions recurring time-and-again. Notably: As an end user, can I buy and install non-certified wireless equipment inside a pre-certified hazardous area enclosure myself? This Q&A is based on a discussion we had on our recent podcast, which focused on this misunderstanding and what you can and cannot do under global Ex directives and health and safety legislation. What is a pre-certified wireless enclosure? Before resolving the misconception, it makes sense to set the groundwork of what a pre-certified wireless enclosure is. There is a lot of wireless technology out there, and customers want the latest generation. They also want to deploy this technology in potentially explosive atmospheres. However, there is a lag between the […]

Customers often ask us if they can install a standard wireless device inside a hazardous area enclosure themselves. It is a reasonable query. The short answer is no, you can’t. But the short answer does not tell the full story. There are some fundamental reasons for this, and these reasons are effectively the same for all hazardous area certification schemes around the world, including ATEX, IECEx, and North American standards under the jurisdiction of OSHA. We have written this article to explain some of these fundamental reasons in more depth.  Device Certification  Getting a device certified is called the type approval process, and it is just one part of the requirement. Depending on the requirement the following are applied; Annex III of the 2014/34/EU ATEX, IECEx has the requirement to follow several IECEx Operational Documents […]

There are a few important steps to go through when determining the suitability of an Ex certified wireless enclosure system for the chosen wireless device. It is important to ensure it is still compliant to the Ex certification, does not invalidate other product certification such as product safety and make sure that the wireless device performs as the original manufacturer intended, especially from the RF signal perspective. The key points you must go through when installing an Ex wireless solution into a hazardous area are summarised in this article. 1 – Does the wireless device meet the parameters set out by the Ex certification requirements? Operating voltage Regulatory compliance, such as product safety e.g. EN62368 Maximum power dissipation allowed in the enclosure Cross sectional area and volume stipulations for Ex d explosion proof certified enclosures. […]

There are many factors to consider when installing wireless devices into a hazardous area. One area that should not be overlooked is the impact of the environment in which your chosen device is going to be deployed in. In this article we consider key factors that can affect the success of a hazardous area wireless installation.  1 – Materials of Construction Often hazardous areas are also subject to extreme weather conditions or corrosive substances. It is therefore extremely important that the materials of construction used in any Ex enclosure be carefully considered to ensure the product can withstand the extreme condition long term. For instance, when installing an Ex wireless enclosure into a marine environment the material of the enclosure becomes paramount for a successful installation. When we think about marine environments in the process […]

If you want to deploy wireless devices into hazardous areas, you have two options: Option one: Buy a wireless device that has been fully certified by the manufacturer to relevant Ex standards Option two: Buy a pre-certified Ex wireless enclosure solution to house your preferred hardware The likelihood is that your chosen wireless device does not hold the required hazardous area certification. This is typically because it is a specialised market and new technology is not often made available as a hazardous area version when it is first introduced to the market. Furthermore, technology companies rarely develop a hazardous area version of their devices because the market size is too small for their business model. The most likely option for end users is to use an Ex certified enclosure system. Without this solution you will […]

Often when we talk about wireless technology in the process industries, it is said in the context of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) or industry 4.0. As the digital transformation of process industries has evolved, the number of wireless devices being added has increased and forced companies to rethink their wireless network strategy. There are several wireless technologies used for a whole variety of use cases associated with hazardous and harsh industrial environments typically seen throughout the process industries. The fact is, deploying wireless in an industrial setting is not nearly as simple as deploying it in an office or factory environment. Heavy industrial environments pose unique challenges and conditions, including dense metallic infrastructure and hazardous environments such as potentially explosive atmospheres Source: Market Research Report, 2020 – Markets and Markets This article looks […]

The main standards for hazardous area equipment globally are ATEX, IECEx and North American NEC 500/505. For ATEX and IECEx, covering most of the world, the IEC 60079 series of standards are typically used for the approval of equipment installed in hazardous areas. Most national or regional domains derive their own standards from the IECEx standards and issue a version, often identical, as their own national or regional standard. The most frequently used electrical equipment protection standards are: 60079-0 General requirements 60079-1 Explosion proof enclosures 60079-7 Increased safety 60079 -11 Intrinsic safety 60079 -15 Non sparking, hermetic sealing and restricted breathing 60079-18 Encapsulation This article defines the most common regional standards for installing wireless equipment inside a hazardous area and how compliance to these standards is managed. ATEX ATEX is used mostly within the European […]

There are various reasons for deploying wireless technology into a hazardous area. In almost all cases, the goal is to achieve connectivity and gain more visibility within the hazardous area in question. As businesses operating in these environments strive to achieve their digitalisation goals, more and more wireless radio devices have entered the market. Some common use cases for wireless connectivity in hazardous or industrial settings include: Personnel or asset tracking Automatic mustering in the event of an emergency Security/ access control Condition monitoring Remote maintenance using video collaboration Inspection and maintenance management VoiP or Push to Talk using mobile phones Job scheduling Incident reporting and management With the development of Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) revolution, the list of use cases continues to grow as all businesses strive to gain […]

Extronics CEO, John Hartley had the pleasure of joining Howard Doherty, VP of sales at Cassia Networks recently to discuss the new ATX2000 Bluetooth gateway designed for hazardous areas. Extronics and Cassia Networks have brought together their collective expertise in wireless networks to develop an elegant BLE gateway for hazardous areas. The Extronics iWAP XN3 hazardous area wireless enclosure powered by the ATX2000 BLE gateway from Cassia Networks, allows users to access critical hazardous area data. Connecting smart sensors for applications such as condition monitoring is a key challenge for process industries, especially when that data is from within a hazardous area. Listen to the podcast and learn more about how the ATX2000 can help businesses collect smart sensor data at scale in hazardous areas. Listen to Podcast

Connectivity is increasingly central to modern processing workflows as the trend towards digitalisation continues across the board. Many facilities have already achieved key milestones on the road towards greater interconnectivity thanks to the growing availability of high-performance Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) devices. However, there are dangers associated with leveraging wireless infrastructures in industrial environments. Intrinsically safe galvanic isolators are one of a suite of protection solutions designed to enable users to safely access hazardous area data, which is an extremely valuable resource for any company looking to drive efficiency and productivity without compromising safety. RF in Hazardous Areas—Why Intrinsically Safe Isolators are Needed Radiofrequencies (RF) cover a spectrum from radio wavelengths through to gamma rays with a generally accepted bandwidth of 9KHz to 60GHz. This is the agreed-upon area of RF as covered by […]