Operating in hazardous environments

With increasing emphasis on total quality and safety in the workplace, employers and staff are becoming aware of the dangers presented when dealing with hazardous materials and environments.

Companies in the food, petrochemical and agriculture industries are regularly faced dealing with explosive gas and combustible dust atmospheres, in which operating a forklift can be hazardous. This is where flameproof converted forklifts are required.

Areas where explosive gas/vapor mixtures exist such as oil refineries and paint handling are prime examples where a flameproofed vehicle is invaluable. These areas are classified as zones, briefly outlined as below:

Zone 0 areas always contain hazardous atmospheres, and it is illegal to operate any type of traction vehicle in these zones. 

Zone 1 areas are likely to contain gas mixtures

Zone 2 areas are unlikely to contain explosive gas mixtures during the course of operation but still require safeguarding against accidental exposure.

Hazardous areas can also be created due to combustible dusts such as in grain storage areas and polymer handling. Dust zones are classifications as zone 20 and 21, with zone 20 having the highest density of dust present.

Diesel forklift flameproofingflam3

Diesel forklifts are one of the options presented to buyers when considering a unit for their materials handling needs. By their very nature, petrol and lpg units, which require spark ignition, are unsuitable for flameproof areas.

Diesel units can be flameproofed with air start, remote battery start or a remote air start systems.  In a typical conversion all electrical equipment is removed. The electric directional change used on some forklift models is replaced with a hydraulic gear change mechanism and any electrically operated instrumentation is either removed or replaced with mechanical equivalent gauges.  The exhaust is also run through a parallel plate flame arrestor, then a water wash box. The flamesafe system also uses sentinel shutdown equipment. Should the wash box or engine temperature exceed a set temperature, the sentinel equipment automatically shuts down the motor by cutting out the fuel supply. On top of this there is an automatic shut-off overspeed valve installed in case the hazardous environment itself fuels the engine. This system is certified for group iib gas environments.

Removing all the electrical installations sometimes creates a problem such the driver presence system which is a standard requirement on australian delivery industrial trucks. We have combated this by offering customers our very own developed pneumatically driven driver presence system.

If installing an electrical system to the diesel powered unit cannot be avoided we can accommodate this by installing carefully selected certified electrical replacement parts.

Electric forklift flameproofing

Electric forklifts are becoming increasingly popular as they can offer reduced noise, emission and lower running costs. Forktorque also offers flameproofing on virtually any model of electric fork truck.

Flameproofing an electric truck, as with diesel trucks, requires strict adherence to numerous standards including as 1915 and the newly adopted international iec series of electrical standards.

All units are then tested to procedures outlined in australian standards verifying its temperature rating, which is usually to a t4 (135ºc maximum).

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