Operations with potentially explosive atmospheres may be overlooking the risks presented by shrink wrapping machines, warns Pyroban.

“When it comes to lift trucks operating in ATEX Zones, we find that many firms are increasingly aware of the need for explosion protection to keep people safe,” says Matt Booth, Sales Manager for Pyroban in the UK and Ireland. “Yet, sometimes, these same applications have completely forgotten about the dangers posed by their shrink wrappers.”

Shrink wrap machines are often present in potentially explosive atmospheres, such as operations handling paints, coatings, chemicals, or any other flammable substance. They may be used within a production or warehouse area to apply shrink film or stretch wrap to individual products or batches of products before onward transport.

Often, these areas are designated as Zone 2 within the definition of the ATEX Directive, where an explosive atmosphere is possible, but not expected, and generally would be the result of an accidental release of gas or vapour.

“The risk with shrink wrappers is that just one spark from its electrical systems, or even from friction or static, could be enough to cause ignition if an explosive atmosphere is present,” Matt explains. “This could have catastrophic consequences, so it’s vital to apply explosion protection measures to these machines, just as you would for a forklift working in the same area.”

Pyroban’s system6000 explosion protection conversion is popular for lift trucks but can equally be applied to shrink wrap machines, and many other types of equipment. It combines various explosion protection methods with active gas detection systems, which audibly and visibly alert the user of the machine to the presence of an explosive atmosphere so that the source of the release can be identified and rectified.

Should a high level of gas or vapour be detected in the atmosphere, system6000 can also safely stop the machine from operating, preventing explosion and protecting people.

Similarly, the Gascheka Zone 3™ active gas detection system can be fitted to shrink wrappers in areas just outside of, or adjacent to, Zone 2, where standard equipment without explosion protection systems in place could also present a risk.

“In operations handling flammable materials, explosive atmospheres are still possible in areas deemed ‘non-hazardous’ within the meaning of the ATEX Directive,” says Matt. “Gases aren’t limited by a hazard sign and can easily cross from a Zone 2 warehouse to a ‘safe’ loading area where your shrink wrapping takes place.”

To find out more about explosion protection solutions for shrink wrapping machines, lift trucks and vehicles operating on sites with potentially explosive atmospheres, visit www.pyroban.com, email sales@pyroban.com or call +44 (0)1273 456800.