Facom Non Sparking Tools: When and How to Use Them

Published : 05/11/2018 10:57:09
Categories : Mister Worker , Professional working tools guide

If you’re a professional that works in the field of oil & gas you surely know how important it is to choose specific hand tools that minimize the risks of accidents in your workplace. The safety of the worker is a matter of fundamental importance for Facom, that strives to design a catalogue of reliable non-sparking and explosion proof hand tools to keep workers safe.
The range of non-sparking hand tools by Facom is specifically designed to fulfil the needs of explosion in ATEX zones such as oil refineries, offshore oil rigs, coal mines and so on. If you choose Facom non-sparking sockets, hammers and wrenches you can rely on the experience and know-how of this brand and be sure that these tools, designed with great attention to detail, will ensure your maximum safety at work.

What is a Non-Sparking tool?

Non-Sparking tools or safety tools are way different than regular hand tools that are commonly in the toolbox of professionals in mechanical workshops. In fact, regular hand tools, for example Facom wrenches, are usually made of highly resistant chromium vanadium steel alloys, a material that is not suitable to be used in facilities that may have an explosive atmosphere such as oil rigs: in fact, if a steel wrench would fall in such an environment it could create sparks that, consequently, could cause an explosion or the start of a fire, putting in danger the life of all workers on the platform.

This is why in zones where there may be flammable gas, dust or liquids (ATEX Zones), you need special tools that are made of bronze, aluminium, beryllium, nickel and copper alloys. All the alloys used to produce this particular type of tool have a lower tensile strength with respect to traditional materials: this means they have less strength and resistance, are softer and wear out more quickly, but generate cold sparks with a low level of heat that are not able to ignite any substance. For example, have a look at the Facom non-sparking combination wrench 440.26SR: this anti-magnetic tool is made of a copper-beryllium alloy and it is equipped with a ring head and a open end head. Thanks to its specific anti-sparking features, this tool is the right one, as it protects you against fires and explosions that could take place in risky environments if you use a standard wrench.
In fact, the copper and beryllium alloy used by Facom to produce its explosion-proof hand tools guarantees maximum safety even in extreme situations and they can be used safely even in delicate situations and in places where even a single spark could be fatal.

How do you use an explosion-proof hand tool?

A fundamental piece of advice is to always make sure that all spark-proof tools have been thoroughly cleaned and that they’re free from rust or ferrous contaminants, which could void the anti-deflagration properties of your Facom non-sparking tool. Then, you must always remember not to use them in direct contact with acetylene, which, in the presence of moisture, could create highly dangerous explosive acetals. Thirdly, we must always remember to periodically sharpen all the anti-spark tools following the normal safety procedures, thus protecting eyes and face and collecting the powders with the appropriate tools. Finally, it is essential to ventilate the premises to remove potentially harmful powders and vapours from the air.
By following these few simple rules, you will ensure that you always have clean and functional tools and minimize the possible dangers in the workplace.

What happens if you don’t use non-sparking tools in a dangerous environments?

As we explained in the previous questions, in certain environments standard hand tools could lead to the generation of a spark that would put in danger all the workers in the facility.
Think for example of an offshore oil rig: in such places there may be gases or liquid substances that could cause a fire or an explosion. In these situations, it is unthinkable to use traditional hand tools and just tools that don’t contain ferrous metals should be used.

With a tool Frictional ignition may occur, if the tool falls or it is rubbed on materials such as cement: the steel alloys linked to the chrome vanadium, in fact, can generate hot sparks and high risk, because they can ignite airborne flammable substances in a moment. This would cause fires or explosions, endangering the lives of everyone in the workplace.

Facom non-sparking tools are ATEX certified: What does this mean?

To guarantee maximum safety in the workplace, Facom anti-deflagration tools follow all the minimum safety requirements laid out in the European ATEX directives. All Facom non-sparking tools are therefore ATEX (ATmosphères and EXplosibles) certified, and they’re produces following the standards concerning the regulation of work equipment used in areas with a high risk of explosion to protect the employees working in explosion risk areas.

Under what conditions can an explosion occur? When there is an oxidizer, such as oxygen in the air, a fuel, chemical gases (solvents, diluents ...) or powders (aluminum, wood, magnesium ...), and a flash point, i. e. a source of ignition. In these cases, the atmosphere becomes dangerous: a simple hot spark, due to the fall or the rubbing of a tool, could cause an explosion.
All Facom equipment can be used safely thanks to the special attention paid in the design and production of these non-sparking, anti-magnetic hand tools.

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