Safety is a chief concern for all industries. Certain industrial companies in specific markets (Ex. oil & gas, mining, etc.) have regulations related to combustibility due to gases produced or that are existing with applications. In these cases, submersible pumps specially constructed to eliminate the risk of explosions are necessary. In fact, many local jurisdictions explicitly mandate the use of explosion-proof pumps.
Higher Risk Applications
Certain applications are especially susceptible to explosion risks. The mining and oil & gas industries face pressurized, escaping underground gas. In chemical plants and refineries, liquids emit flammable vapors. Landfill leachate applications include methane from decomposing waste. Also, power plants and industrial plants may have volatile chemicals present. In these cases, a spark from a pump or even a hot enough surface can ignite the gases or chemicals.
Explosion Proof Pump Design
What makes a pump explosion-proof? There are three key principles for the engineered product design:
- Spark Free Motor Design: The pump’s design and construction must eliminate risk of its operation producing sparks.
- Engineered Flame Path: If an explosive gas enters and ignites inside the motor house, the motor design must extinguish the flame before exiting the motor vessel.
- Pressure Containment: The structure of the motor vessel must stand up to pressure generated by an internal explosion without fracturing.
Third Party Approval
Constructing a pump in the manner above is not enough to rate for “explosion-proof”. A third party must approve the pump for use in explosive environments. Two of the more common agencies are Factory Mutual Insurance (FM) for wastewater and industrial applications, and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) for the mining, metals, and aggregate industry. For FM, there are different types of approval depending on the specific application requirements. BJM pumps (in particular) are rated for the following:
- Class 1: Flammable gasses and vapors are present leading to a potential risk.
- Division 1: Hazardous materials are present under normal operating conditions. Division 2 means gasses present an upset condition.
- Group C and D: These refer to specific gasses for which the pump or motor are rated.
Industrial Flow Solutions offers both BJM (FM Approved and MSHA Approved) and Stancor (MSHA Approved) explosion-proof submersible pumps that reduce combustion risks in a wide range of mining and industrial applications, including those that are severe and harsh. In one Midwest electric plant, BJM XP-KZN explosion-proof slurry pumps replaced non-clog pumps that wore out every six months due to the abrasiveness of coal fines and dust. The new pumps provide a safe solution to pump the heavy slurry and last twice as long with less frequent maintenance.
At a Tennessee chemical company, a BJM XP-SKX150CSS explosion-proof solids-handling submersible pump replaced an effluent pump after frequent failures and repairs. The BJM pump is perfect for the combustible atmosphere and its ability to shred and pass large solids.
When dealing with applications in which flammable gases pose a risk of explosion, you need a partner that has years of experience in creating these solutions. As with any submersible pump application, but especially with hazardous processes, a strong support team is crucial to keeping your operations running whether day to day or in upset conditions.
Industrial Flow Solutions specializes in the design, manufacturing, sales, and service of pumping and fluid management solutions for harsh, rugged environments. With OverWatch™ direct in-line pump systems, BJM Pumps® products, and Stancor® Pumps and Controls, we offer a comprehensive portfolio of submersible and direct in-line pumps and controls ideal for industrial, commercial, and municipal applications.
IFS offers problem-solving solutions for Industries including Mining & Materials, Food Processing, Construction, Commercial Building Trades, Municipal Wastewater, and Power Generation/utilities. Their years of application and design engineering experience provide you the assurance that you are getting the best-fit pump for your application.