What Is A Non-Sparking Tool And Where Is It Used?

Published : 09/27/2022 15:16:38
Categories : Professional working tools guide

AMPCO Safety Tools

Today on the Mister Worker™ Blog we talk about non sparking tools, also known as spark resistant, explosion proof or ATEX tools, with AMPCO Safety Tools®, a company specialised in the production of non-sparking, non-magnetic devices (such as non sparking wrenches, hammers or screwdrivers). 

The employment of non spark tools is strictly required in certain areas, in order to avoid accidents that can even cause serious damage to workers' health. Let's see together, in this blog article, the features of these products, in which areas they must be used and how they should be maintained.

What is a non-sparking tool?

The term 'non-sparking tools' refers to items that help prevent the occurrence of explosions and fires while working in so-called ATEX zones (acronym for ATmosphere EXplosives). These tools consist of brass, bronze, copper-nickel, copper-aluminum or copper-beryllium alloys (beryllium bronze). These utensils are produced through specific processes to reduce the risk of spark generation. Extreme caution in the management of workers' health and workplace conditions, especially in industries with a high risk of explosion or fire, is one of the most important factors in reducing accidents. 

When are non sparking tools required?

Non-sparking tools are also called safety tools, essential for conducting all those operations in places such as Oil refineries, Offshore oil rig, Chemical industry, Paint warehouse, Spray booth, Coal mines and also the grain Silos.

Since 1922, AMPCO Safety Tools® manufactures high-quality non-sparking, non-magnetic tools, providing the widest range of safety hand tools, unique for their unbeatable strength and durability. Our catalogue includes non-sparking wrenches, ratchets and sockets, hammers and axes, screwdrivers, pliers and much more. Some of the top-selling products are:

  • AMPCO CH1007B hex allen key set
  • AH0019A striking box wrench
  • AA9007A combination wrench set
  • AT0150A adjustable end wrench

What to consider when choosing a non sparking tool?

While buying a non sparking tool, several factors should be considered. Below we see some of them:  

  • The material, which depends on the type of tool and its use; 
  • The resistance, so that these tools can be used in every condition and can perform at their best;
  • The task to be completed.

Choosing the right non-sparking tool will not only help to prevent accidents but also avoid high costs to the company, such as the repair of damaged infrastructure, material to be restored or the coverage of damages caused by accidents.

What makes a tool non sparking?

These tools are spark resistant because they do not include iron or steel, which are likely to produce sparks or to ignite under specific conditions. These utensils produce cold sparks that cannot ignite any substance.

The most used materials for the manufacture of explosion proof tools are usually non-ferrous alloys. AMPCO SAFETY TOOLS® utilises two types of materials to create its products: Aluminium Bronze and Beryllium Copper.

Beryllium Copper has a high hardness, from 280 to 350 Brinell, and it is used exclusively for producing tools with surfaces intended to cut, such as saw blades and cutting pliers, or small surfaces like the screwdriver tips. Take a look, for example, at the groove/joint water pump pliers EC2500B, made of high-quality Beryllium Copper. This model is available in 3 different lengths, from 250 to 400 mm. Another interesting article is the diagonal cutting pliers EK1550B.

Aluminium Bronze can absorb more energy and has a higher resistance to shocks thanks to its flexibility. This material is ideal for tools that are more likely to wear such as striking wrenches or hammers.

What is AMPCO® 18?

The type of aluminium bronze used by the company to manufacture these tools is called AMPCO® 18. It is an adaptable, top-quality alloy, characterised by a grain structure and advanced physical features. These properties derive from an extrusion hot working. As a consequence, the material has an excellent resistance to stress.

The products manufactured with this material have a better finish, a longer life as well as a reduced need of upkeep operations. In addition, tools made of AMPCO® 18 aluminium bronze are Nickel free. 

An example of products made of this alloy are the wrenches of the set BA9007A. This Ampco wrench set includes 14 models, so that professionals can carry out more activities. Look also at the German-style sledgehammer FF0080A, realised in aluminium bronze, obtainable in different dimensions. This latter product is also available in a Beryllium Copper version.

To produce high-quality aluminium bronze and specialty copper alloys tools, AMPCO SAFETY TOOLS® uses the MICROCAST® process. This patented technology provides better homogeneity through fine and uniform grain size, resulting in higher wear resistance.

AMPCO Safety Tools

Do non-sparking tools need special care for their maintenance and storage?

It is important to keep in mind that non -sparking tools are not as strong as steel tools. For this reason, they wear out more quickly depending on the working environment and the care given to maintain them.A proper and complete maintenance of tools is recommended to extend their service life. Take into consideration the following tips: 

  • Choose the tool according to the task at hand for best results;
  • Be careful not to let your tool fall;
  • Avoid contact with corrosive products such as ferrous or other contaminants that may affect non-sparking properties;. 
  • Clean the non-sparking tool after use in order to prevent deterioration.
  • Never use your non-sparking tools in environments with acetylene as it can cause explosive acetylides;.
  • Non-sparking tools susceptible to wear such as hammers or striking wrenches should be checked frequently;.
  • Take care to minimise excessive overstrikes as much as possible, since they could damage the shaft;
  • Avoid storing tools with wooden parts in places where the wood can dry out and shrink;
  • Prefer fibreglass handles over wooden ones, since they can offer advantages in terms of resistance and tolerance to unfavourable environmental conditions. Fibreglass handles tend to break gradually, thus lowering the chances of unexpected breakdown, injury or damage;
  • While sharpening non-sparking safety tools, follow normal safety procedures, such as the use of eye and face protection devices, proper extraction and dust collection systems.

Have there been any innovations in the field of safety tools in recent years? If so, which ones?

People’s security is an important matter for AMPCO Safety Tools®. This is why the company always strives to ensure safe and hazard-free working experiences for its customers. The introduction of a revolutionary striking wrench called Safewrench® is the perfect example. 

The most common inconvenience of striking wrenches is that they have to be held with one hand while using the other to drive the hammer. As a consequence, the striking wrench can jump out and the hand can be injured. Thanks to the invention of the Safewrench® these risks are less frequent. Due to its two spring washers, the striking wrench stays firm in its position, without having to hold it.

This leads to following advantages:

  • The Safewrench® doesn’t fall off;
  • The user can hit the striking wrench by keeping both hands on the hammer, providing more precision and force;
  • This product can be used as a counter-wrench for hydraulic, as well as for electric or pneumatic tightening of bolts and nuts;
  • The Safewrench® reduces dramatically the chances of hand injury from the accompanying hand.

Safewrench® is a patented striking wrench which holds firmly on a nut or bolt thanks to its internal retaining rings. An example of this kind of products are the metric striking SW1031B or the SW0027B model, made of copper beryllium.

In the market of non-sparking tools, how does AMPCO SAFETY TOOLS® stand out from competing brands?

AMPCO Safety Tools® is a leading brand in the production and distribution of spark resistant tools. The firm has been investing since 1922 in the highest quality materials to produce the widest line of non sparking tools available in the market.

As pointed out before, the company manufactures its tools by using a casting procedure called MICROCAST®. This process allows the group to produce a material with much higher resistance thanks to its fine grain structure.

In addition, AMPCO SAFETY TOOLS® offers a lifetime warranty on all its products if countries allow it. It repairs or replaces any tool free of charge if it breaks or fails to perform under normal service. Please note that normal wear or damage through misuse is not covered.

To ensure and preserve the highest quality of the products, numerous tests are achieved by a team of engineers and approved by independent testing laboratories. The German TÜV laboratory tested and declared that all materials used to produce the AMPCO SAFETY TOOLS® products are explosion-proof. Hardness, chemistry, torque, breakage, grain size, durability, and dimensions are the main features that are tested..

Moreover, several certificates guarantee the quality of AMPCO products. All tools comply with classes EN10204 2.1- 2.2 - 3.1 - 3.2 as well as the ISO 9001:2015 certificate.

In addition, the company has highly qualified salespeople who are ready to advise and help you with any request, providing an outstanding and personalised service. 

What can we expect from AMPCO SAFETY TOOLS® in the future?

AMPCO Safety Tools® keeps the same main topic in mind, that is ‘security’. Slogans such as ‘"protecting lives since 1922" or "Tools are precious as life" are really important for the brand. The company commits to keep all workers safe for the next generations, permanently searching solutions and improvements to provide the best quality and most secure tools. 

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