With the advent of new fuels, the subject of fire safety on board is receiving renewed interest. Recently, we saw one of the most popular new fuels, Methanol, being put under scrutiny in a study by Survitec. The results are strongly indicating that the industry and ship owners need to reduce fire risk above and beyond the current safety standards.

Workboat operators are already today at risk of exposure to hazardous gasses, this risk is expected to increase when the adoption of new fuels accelerates.

Navigating Fire Safety: The Classification of Hazardous Zones on Deck

Even out on deck, there are fire safety considerations and concerns. These locations are categorized in zones in the ATEX or IEC ex classification. These zones are traditionally located around handling points for fuels and ventilation for tanks. With the regimen of the ‘new fuels’, we are now also seeing exhausts becoming ex zones.

Ex zones are categorized into 3 zones, where in zone 2 there is a risk of the presence of flammable gases. Equipment for zone 2 can be self-declared to be intrinsically safe by manufacturers. Zone 1 is defined as locations where there is a high probability for the presence of flammable gases. Here, the demands for equipment to have official product certification and assembled under an approved management systems are high. Zone 1 equipment can also be used in zone 2. The last zone, zone 0, is inside the tank!

Lopolight Leads with Zone 1 Ex Certified Navigation Lights

There are good news for a piece of the puzzle of reducing fire hazard on board: The introduction of zone 1 Ex certified navigation lights. Lopolight is now offering a full range of Zone 1 ATEX and IEC certified LED navigation lights.

The location of the Navigation lights onboard leaves little room for flexibility. It is important that your vessel is displaying the correct lights, at the correct positions, as described by the COLREGS – this enhances safety at sea by lowering the risk for misunderstandings.

The Expanding Reach of ATEX/IEC Ex Zones Across the Maritime Fleet

The number of vessels with an ATEX/IEC Ex zone is increasing rapidly. Consider the growing fleet of LNG tankers and the associated infrastructure such as tugs, pilot boats, and service vessels, or the hundreds of vessels in build now using LNG, Methanol, Ammonia, and others – all with ATEX/IEC Ex zones. Oil rig signal & warning lights can be added to this list. All in need of no-compromise, rugged, fit ‘n forget light solution.

Innovation and Safety: Lopolight's Journey to ATEX and IEC Ex Certification

From the first designs Lopolight brought to market 20 years ago – where the electronics of the lights was fully encapsulated in epoxy, power consumption was 1/10 of the comparable incandescent lights, we had a feeling that the product was safe to use in areas where flammable gases could be present. Immediately after receiving our ISO 9001 quality management certification, which is a pre-requisite for any ATEX certification, we went to work on getting the Lopolight Professional Series certified for ATEX and IEC Ex.

“It was obvious to us that a zone 2 classification with a high temperature class was easy for us to achieve; this is where you find our competitors, but we wanted more,” says CTO and owner Peter Hancke. “We knew from our other navigation lights series that having third-party certification of the products and the quality management systems is promoting trust and actually also very beneficial to continuous improved product quality, so we went for zone 1 and importantly a low temperature class – T5 – this means that you can place a Lopolight Ex navigation light freely on any vessel with any cargo or fuel- except inside the tank!”

Lopolight's Professional EX Series: Setting New Standards in Explosion Protection

The Lopolight Professional Ex Series is formally approved for use in ATEX/IEC Ex equipment group II Category 2 Zone 1 (and therefore also Zone 2). The difference between the mentioned zones can be described like this: Zone 1 is an area that is classified ‘as a place in which an explosive atmosphere consisting of a mixture with air or flammable substances in the form of gas, vapours, and mists is likely to occur occasionally during normal operation’, whereas Zone 2 is an area that is classified ‘as a place in which an explosive atmosphere consisting of a mixture with air or flammable substances in the form of gas, vapours, and mists is not likely to occur in normal operation but, if it does occur, it will be present for a short period of time only’.

The Professional Ex Series lights are kept in the exact same form factor as the regular Professional Series; the difference is in the manufacturing; the use of ATEX/ IECEx certified components such as connectors and cable glands. The marking is ATEX/IEC Ex specific, and certified grounding point is present for safe and simple installation.
The full range of the Professional Series are available in the EX configuration – including the ice-class lights!

Market Response: Immediate Demand for Lopolight's Ex Navigation Lights

“It has been a wild ride with customers essentially wanting delivery immediately as the lights came out of our production facility in Denmark,” says Lopolight CEO and owner Jan Moeller, continuing, “we knew there would be a demand from ‘new fuel’ vessels and we are seeing this, but we are also having strong demand from tug builders such as UZMAR, who are among the first to fully integrate the Lopolight Ex lights in their newbuilds 158 and 159.”

“I guess the combination of a small form factor, the ‘fit ‘n forget’ promise of the LED technology – and the possibility of mixing the Ex lights with regular lights in the same installation is convincing. We are humbled by the interest we are receiving for this product series and very grateful to our customers for their trust in us.”

Technical Specifications Box: A Deep Dive into Lopolight's Professional Series

**TECHNICAL DETAILS.** Design dimensions and quality as the Lopolight Professional series navigation lights: Hard coat anodized aluminum housings, PMMA optics, fully encapsulated, all upgraded to ATEX/IEC Ex APPROVED TO: COLREG'72, MED (Wheelmark), UL1104, DNV, ABS ATEX/IEC Ex equipment group II, Category 2, Zone 1. STANDARDS: ISO/IEC 80079-34:2020, IEC 60079-18:2015, IEC 60079-7:2015 Ex eb mb IIB T5 Gb Ex = Explosion protected.

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