Static electricity is one of the most insidious sources of fire and explosion encountered in modern industry. It is by nature unpredictable and therefore difficult to detect. Engineers from Wolfson Electrostatics have both the experience and the facilities to deal with it effectively.
There are five basic conditions necessary for an electrostatic ignition hazard to occur:
- The presence of a sensitive flammable medium or atmosphere.
- Generation of electrostatic charge.
- Accumulation or build-up of electrical energy.
- Electrostatic discharge (ESD) in the presence of the flammable atmosphere.
- Sufficient energy present in the discharge to ignite the atmosphere.
If all of the above conditions exist, an ignition hazard will be present, if any of the conditions are removed, the hazard is obviated. The approach by Wolfson Electrostatics is to first analyse each of the above steps. This may involve measurements on site using specialist equipment together with tests in the laboratory at Southampton. Once the relevant information has been obtained, the most appropriate course of remedial action is presented.
In addition to ignition hazards, Wolfson Electrostatics can also advise on electrical safety, damage to electronic systems & components, electric shock hazard, electrical interference and material handling problems due to static electricity.
View the ‘Guidance for Plant Engineers - Static electricity’ .pdf file (opens a new window).
and systems for use in hazardous areas.
Wolfson Engineers can work closely with plant engineers on the subject of process safety. Safety audits can be applied to plant at the design and commissioning stages as well as to existing process operations. A full safety audit will involve careful examination of plant and processes, evaluation of the materials and products involved, on-site measurements (where necessary) and analysis. All work is performed to relevant International Standards and results in a full Audit Report. Experience has shown that no two industrial processes are identical. Every Audit Report contains specific recommendations for eliminating static electricity hazards and providing risk-free operation.
Products and equipment such as packaging materials, containers, pipework systems and appliances are also subject to safety audits.
For further information on On-site Investigations & Safety Audits contact Wolfson Electrostatics.