Arc Flash Clothing
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The importance of arc flash clothing
Range of garments for workers in the electrical sector generation, distribution, maintenance and many others. Designed to provide comfort and protection at the same time.
If there is one source of energy that is becoming more and more important in our lives, it is undoubtedly electricity.
These days, we are immersed in an energy transition and large electrical and non-electrical companies (mainly oil companies) are announcing major investments and new strategic plans with an obsession for the massive development of renewable sources of electrical energy.
From the point of view of personal protective equipment, there are two distinct risks: electrical contact and the risks generated by an electric arc.
In this article we are going to talk about the second of the hazards and more specifically about the garments or clothing with resistance to the effects of an electric arc.
Arc Flash Protection
An electric arc is an unexpected discharge of energy due to an accidental connection between two elements at different electrical potential.
Many phenomena occur when an electric arc takes place: First of all, a large release of energy is generated, like the effect of a pump (reaching a pressure of more than 20 t/m2), with heat and/or flames being released. During an electric arc, temperatures of up to 20,000 °C can be reached.
There is also the release of incandescent particles, a very intense noise peak (acoustic levels above 120 decibels) and the generation of toxic gases as a consequence of the generation of a plasma.
It is vitally important that arc flash clothing is approved by all regulations and checked by arc flash protection professionals.
Electric Arc Welding Equipment
Personal protective equipment for electric arc welding provides additional protection against the thermal effects of arc welding. Protective clothing is designed to resist ignition and to protect against the thermal energy released by the arc.
The objective of these garments is to decrease the severity of the burns, giving the arc flash worker a better chance of survival.
They are known in the market as multi-risk garments and are gaining market share, due to the large number of hazards they combine, together with increasingly lighter materials.
Characteristics of arc flash clothing regulations
Protective clothing against the risks arising from an electric arc (arc flash clothing) are category III personal protective equipment according to Regulation 425 which regulates the marketing of PPE, they are therefore designed against lethal or irreversible risks. This means that the manufacturer must not only have the garments certified by a Notified Body (NB). He must also have a procedure in place to ensure that the production of the garments is carried out in an optimal manner. This procedure is evaluated by a NB and its code must accompany the CE marking. For example CE 0099, if the system is evaluated by AENOR.
The standards currently in force are: EN IEC 61482-1-1:2019 and EN 61482-1-2:2014.
The test described in EN IEC 61482-1-1:2019 is based on the performance of an open arc. It makes it possible to determine the ATPV (Arc Thermal Performance Value), defined as the incident thermal energy to which the garment must be exposed, so that there is a 50% probability that the wearer of the garment will suffer second degree burns, without breaking the garment.
As for the test contemplated in standard EN 61482-1-2:2014, it follows the methodology proposed by the European standard that preceded it, the UNE-ENV 50354/2001-, generating a constricted arc in a plaster box (Box Test), with two copper and aluminum electrodes, subjected to a voltage of 400 V. It also classifies materials and garments into two classes APC1 and APC2, according to the value of the expected arc current (4kA or 7 kA).
Protective clothing against electric arc
In OROEL we have a wide range of arc flash clothing in its generation, distribution, maintenance and many others.
All of them are designed to provide arc flash protection and comfort. Some of the clothes against electric arc are:
- Electric arc flame retardant and retardant clothing
- High visibility antistatic flame retardant arc flash clothing
- Protective gloves against electric arc
- Safety equipment for electric arc welding
- Electric arc protection goggles
- Electric arc protection coverall
In addition to protective equipment for electric welding and electric arc, these garments are designed for protection against other hazards, such as low visibility, cold and rain, electrostatic protection, etc.
OROEL uses different fabrics for their manufacture depending on the use and maintenance that will be given to the garments. Consult our experts and we will make an evaluation of your technical needs to help you standardize the solution.
We are manufacturers of workwear.
Contact us +34 976 149 260 if you don’t find what you are looking for.
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When it comes to choosing the best protective clothing against thermal hazards arising from an electric arc, many doubts may arise. Here are some of the most common ones: