For many years now, we have been producing and certifying air conditioners for use in Zone 2. However, the demand for Zone 1 units is gradually increasing. Last year, we decided to set ourselves a challenge and come up with a solution. Circumstances have allowed us to add a complete range to our program and the first systems are now ready for shipment.
After years of manufacturing various types of air conditioners for use in Zone 2, we thought it was time to take the next step. We enjoy taking on technical challenges, and the development of a system for use in Zone 1 therefore seemed like a great opportunity for us. We also saw it as a good chance to show what we can achieve. In 2017, we reluctantly took the first steps in developing our own line of explosion-proof air conditioners for Zone 1.
There are strict safety requirements for electrical category 2 products intended for Zones 1 and 21. The design must comply with the European ATEX directive, which involves being tested against technical standards by a notified body. In addition, there are strict requirements for the manufacturer's quality management system in order to ensure that the units produced exactly match the certified design.
Initially, we focused on the outer parts. Due to both the extensive control system and the large number of components, explosion safety is most difficult to achieve for the outer components. We also set ourselves strict functional requirements, such as suitability for offshore use, outside temperatures of up to 55°C and use as a water cooler. We were extremely proud to be able to show the system to our customers at the Offshore & Energy fair in 2018.
At the end of 2018, it was time to take on the inner units, which were also intended for use in Zone 1. There is not such a large market for these units, but there are storage containers for chemicals, process locations or areas for charging lead batteries for which there are no better alternatives. Around the same time, an American manufacturer had been commissioned to supply a series of 7 kW Zone 1 inner units. This project proved very difficult due to the prescribed ATEX directive and they asked us for help. We seized this opportunity and immediately decided not to design a single specific inner unit, but a whole range with cooling capacities from 2 kW to 14 kW and equipped with explosion-proof room thermostat.
Alongside Kiwa Exvision's certification of the inner units, we built ten systems for this customer. Immediately after obtaining the EU Type Certificate, we completed the production process and were able to transport the systems to the end user. We were able to provide our American customer with a solution extremely quickly, and we are ready to deliver to others as well.
For more information about our Zone 1 air conditioners, please visit the product page or contact us.