Working with Flammable solids, liquids or gases exhibit a major safety risk of fire. In order to maintain safety during manufacturing, transporting and storing of these flammable materials Non-Sparking Hand Tools must be used.
What is Non-sparking Standard?
Non-Sparking Tools like other safety products, should come with relevant certification. The standard against which Non-Sparking Hand Tools should be tested is Indian Standard IS 4595 - 1969 (2006). In this article, we will introduce you to the complete testing and certification process of Non-Sparking Hand Tools and why it is essential for you?
IS 4595 -1969 (2006) is an Indian Standard that defines the testing procedure of material for Non-Sparking Hand Tools.
IS 4595-1969 - "General Requirements for Non-Sparking Tools” mentions the testing and certification procedure of non-sparking tool materials requirements. It was adopted on 26 January 1969. It then was revised in 2006. It specifies all the criteria that are essential for a non-sparking material.
But, before we dive into the details of the standard, let’s understand the fundamental concept of a fire triangle. This will help us understand the testing procedure and the standard better.
The Fire Triangle
For any fire to take place and sustain, three conditions must be satisfied. One, flammable material, could be in the form of liquid, solid or gas (e.g. petrol, diesel, methane gas, hydrogen, etc.). Two, the presence of oxygen which helps combustion and three is the source of spark or ignition. When all the three conditions are satisfied, it will lead to a fire. If any of the above is absent, there will be no fire. This is fundamental concept in Fire Safety. Let us take an example - if we are working in a Hydrogen (which is highly flammable) manufacturing facility, there will always be presence of high concentration fumes/vapors in the environment.
Now, lets us look at Non-Sparking Hand Tools from the fire triangle perspective.
When we are manufacturing, storing, or transporting flammable materials, two of the three components of the fire triangle will always be present. These are something we cannot eliminate. In order to prevent, the only way is to eliminate all sources of spark/ignition. This includes electrical, mechanical or static sparks.
Iron and Steel is the most common material used in manufacturing equipment used in such industries. When Steel strikes with another steel or concrete is creates a spark. This incandesce spark has enough energy to ignite flammable material. When we use general purpose steel tools in such environments - there are many possibilities of a spark being generated for example, steel tool falling on the concrete floor or a tool slipping on a high tensile fastener etc. (Read about a case study where a steel tool fell on ground and two wagons caught fire)
By using non-sparking tools, we are trying to eliminate the spark source, thereby ensuring safety. In this test of IS4595, we test the alloy from which the non-sparking hand tools will be manufactured.
Non-sparking tools prevent fires and explosions when flammable substances, liquid, or dust residues are present.
You can also download complete catalogue of Copper Titanium Non-Sparking Hand Tools from here.
IS 4595 – 1969 (2006) - The Test
IS 4595 Non-Sparking Test is based on the concept of the fire triangle, which was explained in the previous section. A schematic drawing of the testing apparatus is shown.
First, a specimen approximately 6 mm in diameter by 50 mm of the alloy from which the tools will be manufactured is held via a fixture in the test chamber. A 75 mm diameter by 6 mm thick metal wheel with a coarsely knurled surface is mounted and a surface contact is maintained between the wheel and the test alloy. Then, oxygen is introduced into the chamber till the air’s oxygen level reaches 50%. After oxygen reaches the desired concentration, a pan with 20 cm3 of gasoline is kept on the hot plate and evaporated.
The chamber is then sealed while we wait for the gasoline to completely evaporate. After that, a circulating fan is switched on inside the chamber to create a homogenous mixture of gasoline and oxygen - a highly flammable environment is created. The fan is then turned off once gasoline has totally evaporated.
Then the coarse surface wheel is then rotated at a rate of 10,000 revolutions per minute against the circumference of the test specimen with a force of 1.134 kgf. - trying to complete the fire triangle.
If there is no explosion within 5 seconds, then the test material is said to have passed the non-sparking test and is safe to manufacture Non-Sparking Hand Tools. This experiment is repeated three times. If the specimen explodes during any of these runs, then the alloy gets disapproved for making non sparking hand tools. If there is no explosion, then the alloy is approved.
Who tests the alloy for IS 4595-1969 certificate?
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research - Central Institute of Mining and Fuel Research (CSIR-CIMFR) is the testing body in India to perform IS 4595 test. CSIR-CIMFR is located in the town of Dhanbad, Jharkhand known as the coal capital of India. CSIR is India's premier national R&D organization. It is among the world's largest publicly funded R&D organizations.
The manufacturer sends a sample of Non-Sparking alloy (e.g. Copper Titanium, Aluminum Bronze, Beryllium Copper or Actalloy)
Why you should take this certificate seriously?
When buying Non-Sparking Safety hand tools for your facility, always ask for a Non-Sparking IS 4595 certificate issued to a manufacturer of Non Sparking Hand Tools. This will ensure that you are buying a tested and safe product. We at Pahwa MetalTech, test all our alloys (i.e. Copper Titanium, Aluminum Bronze and Actalloy) for Non-Sparking characteristics at the CSIR Lab regularly.
You can reach out to us at email@example.com for any further questions, requirement of Non-Sparking Hand Tools. You can also download complete catalogue of Copper Titanium Non-Sparking Hand Tools from here.