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Nichiyu Australia’s explosion-proof forklifts for hazardous area operations

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Nichiyu Australia  build explosion-proof forklifts that are fully certified to Australian Standards for use in the most hazardous of areas where powered materials handling equipment may be used, those that are classified as being Class 1, Zone 1.

Nichiyu Australia explosion-proof forklifts also meet the requirements of all insurance underwriters for hazardous area operations.

The following are the key areas where Nichiyu battery-electric forklifts are used to make the instruments explosion proof:

  • Electric motors
  • The battery tray, battery and connectors
  • Electrical switch box
  • Main traction control panel
  • Illuminated operator display panels
  • Interlocked safety circuits
  • Accessories such as flashing lights and reversing beepers
  • Copper-plated forklift tines
  • Conductive tyres and static discharge strips
The control system and motors in electronic equipment are installed in completely airtight enclosures that are designed to withstand the force of an explosion. Where existing equipment needs to be flameproofed, Nichiyu Australia also modify forklifts locally by working in conjunction with one of Australia’s suppliers of flameproofing services, Chess Flameproofing, which is a division of Chess Engineering. Choosing the appropriate standard for a forklift conversion depends on three key factors that include duty of care, risk assessment and price.

The classification of the hazardous areas in which the equipment is to be used is of major importance, factors that effect the classification are the class and volumes of materials to be handled and their flammability and or explosive characteristics and their packaging groups. Environmental factors also must be assessed. Prevailing winds, climatic conditions and the terrain on which the machine will operate must be taken into account.

Materials handling equipment such as forklift trucks, tow tractors, sweepers, scissor lifts and boom lifts for use in hazardous areas are modified in such a way as to remove or reduce the risk of the equipment becoming a source of ignition.

These sources of ignition include flames and sparks from exhaust systems, arcs and sparks from electrical equipment, hot surfaces and static build up. Modifications are required to the basic equipment to ensure it complies with the relevant requirements for the specified hazardous zone in which the machine will operate.

Both the diesel and battery-electric powered forklifts can be flameproofed. However, spark ignition engines such as those powered by LPG and petrol are prohibited in hazardous areas. Battery-electric vehicles can be modified to make them suitable for use in Zone 1, 2, 21 or 22 areas.

In line with the global trend to risk assessment, Chess Flameproofing carry out extensive risk assessments on each industrial vehicle that Nichiyu Australia convert or modify. This risk assessment verifies that the converted or modified equipment is in compliance with the nominated flameproofing specification and that the vehicle and associated equipment is safe for use in the nominated hazardous areas.

This is supported with design verification and, where appropriate, third-party testing is done by one of Australia’s independent and accredited testing authorities. A series of in production inspections, pressure testing and electrical testing is followed by final inspection of the equipment, which is then put through simulated operating condition tests and subjected to temperature rise tests in accordance with AS2359.12.

A certificate of compliance to the nominated flameproofing specification is issued with each flameproofing installation. For extreme applications where a certificate of compliance is not satisfactory, full certification to Australian Standards from one of Australia’s independent and accredited testing/certifying authorities is available at a considerable premium.

The following list identifies some of the industries and manufacturing sectors that may contain sites that are considered to be hazardous:

  • Ammonium sulphate
  • Soda
  • Electric furnace
  • Compressed and liquid gas
  • Coal tar products
  • Dye and intermediate products
  • Fermentation/ethylene methanol derivatives
  • Synthetic resins and plastics
  • Chemical fibres
  • Vegetable fats and oils
  • Fatty acids, oils and glycerin
  • Distillation and brewing
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Paint and solvents
  • Insecticides and pesticides
  • Cosmetics and perfumes
  • Oil refining
  • Rubber products
  • Processed paper and fabrics
  • Dry cleaning
  • Printing

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