Electrical connections in explosive areas

Paul Boughton

The coupling and decoupling of live electrical equipment in potentially explosive environments is usually restricted to intrinsically safe installations, common in oil and gas exploration and production.

However, Hawke International is launching a new ATEX and IEC Ex compliant connector, Instrumex, that is designed for live connection and disconnection of both intrinsically safe and non-intrinsically safe circuits in zones 1, 2, 21 and 22 applications.

In additional to promoting safety, productivity and greater flexibility in work practices, the connectors are easy to install, robustly engineered and suitable for wide ranging control and instrumentation applications.

Instrumex connectors offer an innovative combination of both Exe increased safety and Exd flameproof concepts to provide live de-mate and engagement of circuits rated up to 10 Amps at 250V ac. The connectors will primarily appeal to users in oil and gas exploration, production and processing, where they will provide a safe means of servicing, repairing and replacement of key equipment. In addition, they provide quick connect/disconnect features for temporary equipment and reduce hook-up time for permanent plant.

Instrumex is an extension to the existing Hawke International connector range and includes connection options for in-line and bulkhead applications. Integral to the design are Hawke cable glands that contain a number of patented features for secure clamping of all wire armour and braided cable types. This is coupled with the sealing and explosion protection reliability expected of Hawke connection products in hazardous areas.

With heavy-duty, maintenance-free, nickel-plated brass or stainless steel bodies, high levels of ingress protection, and an innovative keying system to prevent misconnection and safeguard contacts from damage, Instrumex offers an easy-to-install robust and reliable 'fit for purpose' product for hazardous and hostile environments. High-reliability low-resistance connections are ensured by the use of Multilam technology that requires less force to engage or disengage the gold plated multi-pin connections.

Hawke also offers a connector assembly service and is able to supply these connectors pre-terminated for simple plug-and-go installation. This can be beneficial where skilled site labour is scarce or commands a premium, or in cases where build programmes are tight and time to start-up must be minimised.

For more information, visit www.ehawke.com


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