Performing safety inspection for electrical equipment requires the safety inspector to carry only intrinsically safe devices certified for the hazardous area. To ensure safety, mobile devices are placed into protection level categories according to manufacture method and suitability for different hazardous areas. In the past, the primary mobile devices used in potentially explosive environments such as Zone 2 were expensive PDA’s, with small display screen (up to 3.5 inches). The limitation of the mobile devices not only impacted the bottom line, but also presented issues for the safety inspection with their small screens, size and weight (up to 2 kg) as well as an older operating system.
With the introduction of smart phone and tablets, there is now a range of protective cases for both iOS (iPhone /iPad) and Android mobile devices that allow the mobile devices to be used in Zone 2 areas or Division 2 for safety inspections. This new form of case opens the options for use of various types of more wide spread mobile devices such as iPhone, iPads and Galaxy S4 smart phones. With iOS and Android operating systems now accounting for over 80% of the mobile market, the provision of ‘intrinsically safe’ C1D2 (Class 1 Division 2) cases for this equipment is a logical next step.
In technical terms the Class 1 Division 2 (C1D2) rugged cases allow the use of the following mobile devices to record safety inspection results:
- iPhone 4s iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s
- iPads- including mini iPads and iPad air
- Samsung Galaxy Smart phone S4
A number of software providers have now developed safety inspection applications in Hazardous Areas for all main operating platforms (iOS, Android and Windows Mobile) so the safety inspection paperless solution can run easily on any form of smart phone, tablet or pad. The range of cases allows the safety inspector the flexibility to convert existing mobile phone or iPad into an intrinsically safe mobile device in a matter of minutes and of course, when the safety inspection is completed the C1D2 rugged case can be removed from the Phone /Tablet and revert back to the normal phone or Tablet. This flexibility provides not only a substantial saving from having to purchase a ‘job specific’ rugged mobile device; but allows the one device to be used for multiple applications as well as the paperless safety inspection.