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Exceptional Features of Positek's Intrinsically Safe Sensors

One of the ways to prevent accidents in the mining industry is to ensure that electrical and mechanical assemblies only use intrinsically safe sensors that adhere to industry standards.

The mining industry is no doubt one of the most hazardous working environments today. Mining companies use a broad range of machines and equipment to perform most of the tasks involved in extracting and transporting valuable products produced from mining sites. One of the most crucial considerations in the operation of these machines is to ensure that each system or assembly is intrinsically safe.

What does intrinsic safety mean?

Intrinsic safety originated from the mining industry around the 19th century. Mining accidents were quite frequent, and the leading cause was the ignition and sparks created by electrical circuits. Since mining environments have very little ventilation, combustible gases abound, and a small spark was enough to ignite these gases and cause an explosion. In an effort to make mining safer, the solution was to ensure that all electrical circuits become incapable of producing enough power to create sparks.

The industrial sector today adheres to the principle of intrinsic safety by requiring that all electrical assemblies be inherently safe. Since sensors are a significant part of most industrial machines, sensor manufacturer's like Positek has to ensure that products designed for the mining industry have the necessary intrinsic safety certification. The widely recognised industry approval for intrinsically safe mining environment sensors is ATEX and IECEx.

How does Positek ensure that their sensors are intrinsically safe for mining applications?

To achieve intrinsic safety, Positek sensors operate with restricted electrical energy to prevent the transmission and combustion of hazardous chemicals. Several agencies are responsible for maintaining standards for intrinsic safety in the mining industry. These agencies also certify sensors produced by Positek and determine whether a product meets the requirements by each country. For example, the EU requires ATEX certification for all sensors used in mining, while elsewhere in the world the standard is IECEx.

Positek's range of intrinsically safe sensors have been certified by these agencies and are designed to ensure that the highest safety measures as met, especially since the mining environment is not only exposed to combustible gas and vapour, but also subject sensors to extreme changes in temperature, dust, friction, and vibration.

Outstanding features of Positek's intrinsically safe sensors

Another exceptional feature of Positek's sensors is the patented inductive technology used in manufacturing these devices. Inductive technology differs from other sensor principles because an inductive sensor is a non-contact instrument.

Contacting sensors like potentiometers are susceptible to wear and tear caused by friction. Non-contact sensors, on the other hand, offer a more robust performance suited for the harshest working environment. Positek sensors can also operate with an extended life-cycle, leading to fewer replacements. Our current inventory of intrinsically safe mining sensors include the following products:

• M100 Cylinder Linear Position Sensor with several body specifications and target mounting options
• M101 Stand Alone Linear Position Sensor with body clamp, rod eye, and spring mounting options
• M103 Short Stroke Linear Position Sensor with front flange or body clamp mounting option

In addition to the examples above, Positek's ATEX certified sensors are classified as follows:

E series sensors sensors manufactured specifically for hazardous environments exposed to dust
M series sensors sensors built specifically for hazardous mining environments
X series sensors sensors made specifically for dangerous gas and vapour environments

We also provide galvanically isolated amplifiers designed to be used in conjunction with our intrinsically safe sensors these amplifiers supply the sensor with a nominal energy of 5V and transmits the output into a safe are.

Why is it important to use intrinsic safety certified sensors?

The mining environment is hazardous for miners and accidents can cause lives and damage the industry. Using intrinsically safe assemblies will ensure that accidents are mitigated and miners can work safely.

Does Positek customise sensors with different specifications?

Intrinsically safe sensors have to undergo certification from different agencies around the world to consider them safe to use for mining applications. As such, we ensure that our range of sensors with standard specifications is suitable for most known mining uses. Nevertheless, we understand that there are unique circumstances that may require sensors with custom specifications. If you are looking for a linear transducer with non-standard specifications, you may contact our engineering team for assistance on the process of custom-building the sensor you need.

Article published on: 24/04/2019

Article last updated on: 24/04/2019