What to know about explosion-proof cameras
Source: William Pao
Needless to say, cameras play a critical role in surveillance and monitoring. But inevitably, there are places, such as industrial settings, that render regular cameras unusable. Using explosion-proof cameras
, then, becomes a viable option.
For the longest time, video surveillance has played an important part in securing end user entities in different verticals, from government to retail to education, so on and so forth. In video surveillance, the camera is the centerpiece, capturing video for situational awareness or forensic evidence.
Yet there are certain environments that are especially harsh. In plants and factories
, for example, explosive agents or gases may be present. Same with oil and gas
, which is divided into upstream, with oil rigs or offshore oil platforms; midstream, where oil-delivering pipes extend for thousands of miles; and downstream, which entails refineries that refine crude oil into usable one. In all these applications, explosion is a high risk.
These end user entities nevertheless still need video surveillance for various purposes. These may include monitoring sensors and gauges, areas where risky or dangerous materials are kept, as well as staff and employees. This is where cameras need to be explosion-proof.
In fact, demands for these types of cameras are higher than ever, triggering growth. In fact, the global market for explosion-proof equipment is expected to hit US$8.2 billion by 2022, registering a compound annual growth rate of 9.3 percent between 2016 and 2022, according to a report by Allied Market Research, which cited that “surveillance and monitoring systems have witnessed noteworthy growth in the explosion proof equipment market.”
What to consider before purchase
So exactly what makes cameras explosion-proof? According to a recent blogpost
by 2MCCTV, explosion-proof cameras are typically class-rated; protected by non-sparking material; capable of containing ignitions within device, stainless steel or aluminum enclosure; and NEMA-rated for outdoor elements.
When choosing an explosion-proof camera, there are certain points to consider as well. These include style – for example bullet, dome or PTZ, as well as the accessories, the post said.
“The style of explosion proof cameras you choose will depend on the type of surveillance you need to do. Explosion proof dome or bullet cameras are a good option for general surveillance. They have limited angles of view but are significantly lighter than Pan Tilt Zoom cameras and tend to be less expensive. PTZ cameras provide more monitoring options, allowing for a greater field of view and increase functionality in a single camera,” 2MCCTV said. “Depending on the application, explosive proof mounts and housing can also be utilized to optimize coverage. Mounts can help position your cameras to obtain optimal coverage of the area while keeping the devices out of the way of any personal or equipment.”
Meanwhile, it’s also good to know whether the camera follows certain standards certifying products are explosion-proof. These standards include UL’s class and division system for products in hazardous locations, as well as EU’s ATEX directive.
In the UL system, Class I specifies flammable gases, flammable liquid-produced vapors and combustible liquid-produced vapors; Class II combustible dusts; and Class III Ignitable fibers/flyings. Division 1 indicates ignitable concentrations of flammable gases, flammable liquid-produced vapors, or combustible liquid-produced vapors can exist under normal operating conditions, and Divison 2 indicates those substances are not likely to exist under normal operating conditions.
ATEX covers a range of products, including those used on fixed offshore platforms, petrochemical plants, mines, and flour mills, amongst others. The directive defines the essential health and safety requirements and conformity assessment procedures, to be applied before products are placed on the EU market.