ATEX/IECEx Intrinsic Safety Pre-assessment
With over a decade of experience designing and assessing intrinsically safe circuits, we can help you save time and money designing and certifying your ATEX Ex i product. Our ATEX/IECEx Intrinsic Safety Technical Design Consultancy and Pre-assessment service includes the following:
- Examination and review of your current design, highlighting any issues and assisting with the design of any modifications.
- Performing a detailed pre-assessment of the final design, in accordance with 60079-0 and 60079-11.
- Production of a pre-assessment report that can be submitted to the Notified Body along with the rest of the documentation pack. This helps the notified body understand your design and will speed up the certification process.
- Provide advice in the preparation of the documentation pack.
- Provide assistance during the notified body evaluation phase, helping you understand and answer any questions and queries they may send to you.
- All of your intellectual property, design documentation and files will be dealt with in the strictest of confidentiality and will not be shared with any third party without your explicit written permission.
- Save time and cost during your design process to by ensuring that the correct design decisions are made as early as possible.
- Save time and cost during the certification process, by minimising or completely eliminating the need for any re-evaluation or re-testing of the device due to non-compliance.
Intrinsic Safety Overview
The Ex i Intrinsic Safety protection concept is one of the many protection concepts that can be used to certify a device for safe use in hazardous areas. Intrinsic Safety applies to the electronic design of the product and involves two main stages:
- Using barrier circuits to limit the maximum power that can enter the circuit under worst case conditions.
- Ensuring that the design of the product is such that this limited power cannot cause sparks or excessive temperatures.
The Ex i Intrinsic Safety protection concept is arguably the most complex of all the ATEX protection concepts, with the largest standard, coming in at 289 pages. It does, however, provide many advantages:
- It is one of the few protection concepts that can operate all the way down to Zone 0/20/1G/1D.
- No need for expensive and bulky explosion proof enclosures – standard, off-the-shelf enclosures can be used.
- No special manufacturing techniques required – standard electronic manufacturing processes are used.
Overall, Ex i products can be lighter, smaller and cheaper to manufacture than products certified using other protection concepts. The cost of this, however, comes at the design stage. The restrictions imposed by Ex i can make it very challenging to design an embedded system to be compliant with the standard. What’s more, the notified bodies (the companies that assess your design and issue the certificate) are required to not give advice regarding the design in order to remain impartial. As such, going through the design and certification process is often a very frustrating, long and costly experience. This is where HelmPCB can help.
As a third party that specialises in intrinsically safe design, we can get involved, advising throughout the entire design process and making sure that you make the right design decisions early on. This helps you avoid unnecessary re-designs and costly re-assessments, saving you significant time and money.