Advantages of Explosion Proof Cameras in Industrial Sites |
Article - December 26, 2018 By LarsonElectronics.com
Advantages of Explosion Proof Cameras in Industrial Sites
Explosion proof cameras are vital to safety in combustible work sites. The monitoring devices help reduce exposure to volatile compounds and dangerous sections of the facility, such as elevated walkways, tanks and entry/exit points of confined spaces.
For plant supervisors, flameproof cameras serve as an extra set of “eyes” – that never get tired, are always on and perform monitoring duties in an error-free manner. These features help make operations at the site more productive, while offering peace of mind for individuals at the front lines conducting hands-on tasks, from welding and inspections to installing equipment in hard-to-reach areas of the building.
What Makes a Camera Explosion Proof?
An explosion proof camera is a Class-rated unit (Class I, II or III/Division 1 & 2) that is protected by non-sparking materials and is capable of containing ignitions within the device. To ensure reliability, the unit is typically protected by a stainless steel or copper-free aluminum enclosure that can be NEMA-rated for protection against outdoor elements – water spray, moisture, corrosion, oil, dust and external ice formation.
Applications for explosion proof cameras vary greatly, as the units can be used as a permanent monitoring device, secured on a wall or ceiling, or in a handheld, portable manner. Regardless of its application, the core function of cameras is to generate clear images of the target area.
Gauges, Meters and Sensors
Combustible locations frequently use sensors, meters and gauges to monitor concentration levels of toxic gas, operating temperatures, water flow, counters on conveyor systems and more. These devices provide readings that must be carefully monitored and documented on a regular basis for record keeping. In explosive facilities, this can be a huge problem, if the gauge or display is out of reach, such as units used to monitor tank levels. Sending a worker to check on the gauge every hour (for example) is risky, as the individual is constantly exposed to the dangerous area and combustible environment. Such tasks are also time consuming and costly, should the worker require supporting equipment, such as hazard suits, explosion proof lights, tethers and etc.
Flameproof cameras are viable solution for such challenges. The units can be in the area and focused on the displays of meters for consistent readings. A single camera is capable of monitoring several analog gauges in a room, allowing a worker to document real-time data from a safe, remote location. Explosion proof monitoring devices can also be used to check on the placement of sensors, to ensure they are functioning properly.
Industrial buildings are known to host large, heavy-duty machines, as well as store colossal amounts of materials for processing or production. Keeping a watchful eye over these investments, such as drilling rigs and military communication systems, is within the best interest of businesses. With a set of explosion proof cameras installed around the site, operators can properly assess the area for abnormal conditions, mischief and etc. Furthermore, with around-the-clock surveillance, individuals can respond to situations and accidents quickly, resulting in minimal injuries and damage to equipment. Documenting mishaps and accidents in combustible facilities is important, as it enables non-bias assessment of the situation. Additionally, it allows businesses to maintain accurate records of activities in the building.
Safety and Confined Spaces
In flammable sites, accidents tend to occur in isolated sections of the location that lack supporting infrastructure, including pipelines and outdoor towers. In some cases, inaccessible areas, such as sewers, manway openings, tight tunnels, underground sites, tanks and waste storage compartments, can only accommodate 1 or 2 operators. As a result, deploying a crew or applying a “buddy system” for increased safety is not feasible.
Portable cameras, secured on poles or equipped with handles, can be used to double down on safety for operators in confined spaces. As the worker is performing tasks, an individual could be carefully watching the surrounding area from a safe, remote location.
Dome vs PTZ
There are numerous types of explosion proof cameras available on the market today. In industrial and flammable sites, two common types include PTZ and dome. A PTZ camera is a unit with point, tilt and zoom features. Operators control the movement of the devices, depending on the location of the target and visual preferences. A dome camera is a fixed unit that is protected by a round casing. This type of security device cannot look up.
PTZ cameras are known for their wide camera views, robust night vision capabilities and flexibility during installation. The units are also suitable for outdoor use and monitoring specific sections of the site. Its PTZ features can mimic an industrial inspector or manager doing his or her rounds at the facility. For monitoring multiple gauges and meters, a PTZ camera is effective, due to its zooming features.
Dome cameras are deployed in combustible sites that require extremely reliable monitoring. The units are compact and considerably lighter than PTZ models. However, camera views are typically limited between 70 and 100 degrees. Dome units are recommended for observation of general locations of the facility, such as hallways, lobbies, parking lots and an overview of assembly or manufacturing floors.
Both dome and PTZ cameras have a place in flammable work sites. Selecting between the two options highly depends on the type of monitoring required by the facility.