What is an explosion proof pump? This actually refers to the motor that drives the pump, and the ability to operate within certain parameters. But, before we get into what an explosion proof pump is, we should understand the context in which we are applying the designation.

When designing pumping systems, we look at both the physical requirements of the pump (what’s being pumped, how far, how high, what volume, etc), as well as the environment in which the pump must operate. In some cases, the environment can be hazardous. The hazardous nature of some environments includes the increased potential for combustion or explosions due to elements in the area. Pump operators must be assured that the equipment they are using will not pose an increased risk in these situations.

There are many different conditions which pose a threat of combustion; environments in which a small flame, spark or even excessive heat can cause ignition. Some of the more commonly thought of situations include operations near or pumping fuel where fumes coming in contact with sparks or flames can cause an explosion. Areas, where there is excessive flammable dust or dry material, can also be ignited. Pump motors operating in these environments must do so with strict parameters to prevent them from causing an explosion.

But, as a buyer or operator, how can you be sure the pump motor you use will meet the parameters necessary to operate safely in a hazardous environment? The NFPA, through National Electrical Code® (NEC®), sets the standards for motors based on different types of environments. These environments are defined by different Classes and Divisions and referred to as locations.

Dust-tight specifications are approved for use in Class II, Division 2, or Class III, Division 1 or 2 locations; Explosion proof designations are approved for use in Class I, Division 1 or 2 locations. Qualification for Division 1 meets Division 2 requirements.

The pump must meet the temperature requirement for the designation. The operating temperature of the motor and casing, or other components, cannot be greater than the lowest ignition/combustion temperature of the gases or dust within the location.

Getting the right Explosion Proof Pump

Making sure your pump and motor meet the designation for your application can be tricky. Contact our pump engineers to discuss your application and the specification necessary to ensure the safe operation of your pump. You will need to specify the type of pumping operation needed as well as the environment in which the operation will take place.