When sourcing lighting to install in hazardous areas, cost, performance and reputation of the manufacturer, are important criteria to consider. But how much thought do end-users give to ease of maintenance? For many, the answer to this question is probably, ‘not enough’.
It is intended to help end users gain a better understanding of what makes a hazardous area luminaire easy to maintain, and how it can help to reduce costs.
The design of a luminaire, and how easy it is to maintain, can vary significantly between different manufacturers and different luminaires. In part, this is down to how the units are certified; certification can restrict the level of maintenance that can be carried out on-site. However, ease of maintenance is also down to the manufacturer and how much importance it’s given during the design process. It’s easy for a manufacturer to overlook ease of maintenance, especially as the person specifying the lighting is not always responsible for maintaining it.
Choosing an LED luminaire will of course help to reduce the amount of maintenance required, but as with any electrical product, there is always some risk of failure. In hazardous area applications, where the environment can be particularly harsh and challenging, this risk is often amplified. So, while LED undoubtedly helps to reduce the level and frequency of maintenance, no hazardous area luminaire should really be thought of as being completely ‘maintenance free’.
Before we look more closely at what actually makes a luminaire easy to maintain, we’ll first consider what maintenance is required for any luminaire installed in a hazardous area.
Sealed for Life LED Luminaires
We know that choosing an LED luminaire means maintenance is required less often, but we’ve also highlighted that when installed in a hazardous area application, it should not be considered as being ‘maintenance free’. Despite this, many LED luminaires are factory sealed. Because the seal is critical to the luminaire’s hazardous area certification, it cannot be opened up for maintenance or repair. Tampering with the seal, or forcing the unit open, would mean the luminaire no longer complies with its Ex rating and could present a risk of explosion. Sealed for life units must therefore be returned to the manufacturer for any maintenance procedures to be carried out.
Modular LED Luminaires
Modular luminaires are designed with maintenance in mind; the unit is not factory sealed and can be opened up on-site. Maintenance can therefore be carried out by the end-user. Spare parts are interchangeable and can be removed independently, while the ability to mount key components remotely can also make access for maintenance much easier.
The key feature of a modular luminaire is that maintenance can be done on-site and there is no need to return the unit back to the manufacturer.
|Modular||Sealed for Life|
|Light can be restored in minutes||20+ days before light can be restored|
|Reduced downtime, lower cost||Increased downtime, higher cost|
|Low environmental impact||High environmental impact|