Ex-pert Electrical Technologies

Dynamic elaboration on the Art & Science of Hazardous Area Protection

Zone II

Reference Documents: 60079-15   (Equipment protection by type of protection ‘n’)

SCOPE: IEC 60079-15 is applicable to:

  1. Non-sparking electrical equipment
  2. Equipment having parts or circuits producing arcs or sparks
  3. Equipment  having hot surfaces
  4. Equipment having combination of hot surfaces and arc-producing parts

And if these equipment are not protected in one of the ways specified in this standard, then a surrounding explosive gas atmosphere could be ignited.

Official Definition: Type of protection applied to electrical equipment such that, in normal operation and in certain specified expected occurrences, it is not capable of igniting a surrounding explosive gas atmosphere.

(Malfunctions causing ignition are not allowed, however “expected occurrences” such as a failed lamp in a light fixture are allowed)

DOMAIN of Ex n 

1. Non-sparking Device nA  (no longer covered by IEC 60079-15)

Non-sparking Device  nA : Device constructed to minimize the risk of occurrences of arcs & sparks capable of creating an ignition hazard during normal operation.

As per IEC 60079-15 Edition No. 5 (2017) .This type of protection nA is now designated as type of protection ec , and all the relevant requirements are now based on IEC 60079-7 (2015)



2. Enclosed Break Device nC (no longer covered by IEC 60079-15)

The new nC (Modified ) domain 


The simple meaning of the above diagram is as follows :
The components & parts which in normal operation produces ARCS, SPARKS or HOT SURFACES and would certainly ignite a surrounding explosive atmosphere are prevented from interacting and  ignition by one or more (Combination) of the methods described as:

  • Hermetically Sealed Device
  • Non-Incendive Components
  • Sealed Device
  •  Restricted Breathing Enclosure .

3. Restricted -Breathing Enclosure ‘nR’

An enclosure that is designed to restrict the entry of gases , vapours and mists.

The different types of protection techniques being defined under the main heading of Ex n , tends to cover the maximum aspects of the involved equipment .

It would be best ,for the sake of understanding & clarity , to remember the following definitions :-

Device :Material element or assembly of such elements intended to perform a required function

Component : Constituent part of a device which cannot be physically divided into smaller parts without losing its particular function

nC        (Sealed-device) deals with the device as a whole which, due to its special construction cannot be opened during normal service and is sealed effectively against the ingress of the external (surrounding ) atmosphere

nC        (Hermetically-sealed Device) deals with the device as a unit and give details of the construction which based upon the principle of ISOLATION (rather Complete Isolation) by Hermetically sealing the device, permanently,  from the external atmosphere by soldering , brazing welding or fusion.

nC      ( non-incendive component) deals with the components ,having electrical contacts, making & breaking type , which does not cause ignition of the surrounding atmosphere , by virtue of the design of the operating mechanism & construction of the same.

nR  (Restricted-breather enclosure) deals with the device as a whole , with emphases on the ENCLOSURE , (no details of the devices & components inside ) so constructed so as to restrict the BREATHING of the enclosure. Breathing is exchange of the inner & outer atmosphere across the boundary of the enclosure

Equipment Grouping & Temperature Classes are same as specified in IEC 60079-0

Traditionally Equipment Protection by type of protection ‘n’ is associated with Zone 2.

However  the choice of the equipment for installation in Zone 2 areas is vast as far as EPL (Equipment Protection Level) is concerned.

The design engineer is free to use following EPL:-

Ga                Gb                Gc                                   (For explosive Gas)

Da                 Db               Dc               (For explosive Dust or Flammable Fibers- Zone 22 )

….And      the EPL of nA, nC & nR is  Gc

Thus the final decision should be the state-of the art BLEND of :-

  • Protection
  • Safety
  • Economics
  • Outage-free operation

(the list is certainly not complete . The innovative inventor will always add to this list.)


Examples of Marking are as follows:-

  1. Ex nA d IIB T3 Gc

-20°C ≤ Ta ≤ +60° C

Certificate No: 12345FG X

Its a non-sparking equipment incorporating a flame-proof component for ambient temperature range of -20 to +60°C with specific conditions of use

nA : non-Sparking Equipment

d   : flame-proof component

IIB : Gas Group

Gc : EPL

12345FG X: X indicates the special conditions of use

2. Ex nR IIC Gc

Certificate No: 7865 U

Its a restricted breathing enclosure as a component


History of Ex n

Traditionally   Ex n  consisted of  following  EPLs  :-


During the past years, IEC has shifted the following EPLs from the domain of Ex n (IEC 60079-15) to others , as specified below :-


Ex nA non-sparking device is now Ex ec

Ex nC enclosed break device is now Ex dc

Ex nC Encapsulated device is now Ex mc

Ex nL Energy Limited is now Ex ic

Ex nZ Simplified Pressurization is now Ex pz 


……..Existing ZONE 2 Protection Basket



Zone2 new entrance



This entry was posted on October 29, 2012 by in Uncategorized.