Straightpoint has launched an ATEX and IECEx version of its most popular product—the Radiolink Plus wireless load cell.
The explosion proof product will be assembled on a brand new production line ensuring that the force measurement, load monitoring and suspended weighing load cell manufacturer can continue to provide quick delivery to job sites around the world.
Meeting Zone 0 classification (an area in which an explosive gas atmosphere is present continuously or for long periods) is unprecedented in wireless below-the-hook force measurement technology with other suppliers providing products for use in areas categorised only as hazardous as Zone 2 (an area in which an explosive gas atmosphere is not likely to occur in normal operation and, if it occurs, will only exist for a short time).
Roshan Divakaran, design engineer at Straightpoint, who has overseen the product's development, said: "We don't believe there is another wireless load cell on the market that is Zone 0 certified, which makes this a tremendously significant product launch for the sectors that require such technologies. The requirements of the oil and gas industry were a primary focus throughout the design and certification process."
The criteria of ATEX and IECEx are broadly similar, although the former is widely accepted throughout Europe, while the latter is required in many other global markets.
The ATEX version of the load cell and wireless handheld unit contains several safety components that permit its use in Zone 0 environments. A separate storage area has been created at Straightpoint's Havant, UK headquarters and all production personnel have been specially trained in the assembly of the explosion proof units.
Straightpoint director David Ayling said: "We made a decision in early 2014 to introduce the benefits of our best selling product—the Radiolink Plus—to industries and applications where products that meet the requirements of ATEX are required to work in extremely hazardous environments. I am delighted for Roshan and the team that we have executed our ambitious plan to launch the product early in 2016. It has been one of the biggest development projects in the history of the company and the interest we've already received suggests that our new production line will be kept extremely busy."
Divakaran, working in close collaboration with the Sira Certification Service, an independent certification body, has been working on the ATEX and IECEx project since he joined the company last year.
He said: "Developing a Zone 0 product has been very challenging given the extent of the standards and safety regulations that we have had to meet as we produced documents, prototypes and the final product. Our goal was to meet this criteria whilst making minimal changes to an already excellent, well-renowned product; we feel we have been successful in achieving that."
Ayling concluded: "A significant amount of our business comes from the oil and gas sector. The explosion proof certification will vastly increase the scope of application we can serve and provides our distributors with unique selling points both in terms of the classification level and our ability to deliver the product within a few days."