Air motors are well known for being a "safe" drive choice in potentially explosive environments. They normally do not overheat or “burn out” and do not throw sparks. Many engineers use them in hazardous areas without a second thought, but is this safe?
When certain gases are present, equipment that generates over 90 deg C surface temperature are not acceptable. Not all air motors can achieve this temperature classification. In fact many motors are not even tested, so their temperature classification is unknown.
If the work place is likely to have an explosive atmosphere due to dust or gases, the use of ATEX approved air motors will give the risk assessor a higher level of confidence about the motor. It will tell them the temperature classification as well as the type of environment the motor is suitable for (eg. explosive dust or gas, industrial or mining applications etc).
The ATEX approval is a European standard for equipment that is used in explosive atmospheres. To use the approval, the motor manufacturer has to supply motors and operating instructions to an independent testing facility. The motors are then tested and rated according to their maximum surface temperature. Information about recommended maintenance intervals and surface temperature testing must also be included in the operating instructions.
Most of Deprag's ADVANCED LINE (120W to 1,200W), all of the BASIC LINE motors (200W to 1,200W) and some of the POWER LINE motors (selected 1.6 to 6.0kW) are ATEX approved.