Non-sparking tools are, essentially, those that don’t contain ferrous metals. Ferrous metals include steel and iron, in all of their different iterations. Items that are made from carbon steel, stainless steel, cast iron or wrought iron all have the possibility of producing a spark.
Non-ferrous metals include aluminum, copper, brass, silver, and lead. They’re not the only materials that non-sparking tools are made out of, though.
Common non-sparking tools are made of:
Plastic is a common non-sparking material for items like shovels, scrapers, paddles, and scoops. Tools that need a higher tensile strength, like hammers or screws, are often made out of copper alloys, though beryllium tends to be avoided because of its possible toxicity.
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There is a possibility that even non-sparking tools could cause a reaction called a “cold spark”, which doesn’t contain enough heat to ignite even the most flammable of substances, carbon disulfide. Cold sparks can still give the appearance that sparks are happening, but are safe around even the most flammable of substances.
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If you are to work with non sparking tools, you must adhere to the following rules:
It is fundamental to check continually that your non-sparking tools have been thoroughly cleaned and are free from rust or iron contamination. If they are not clean or have rust, the non-sparking properties of your X-Spark anti spark tool could be affected.
Non sparking tools made of fireproof materials must not be used in direct contact with acetylene as very dangerous explosive acetals can develop in the presence of moisture.
All spark-resistant tools must be regularly sharpened in accordance with normal safety procedures and cleared of dust.
Finally, it is important to ventilate work areas to remove potentially harmful powders and vapors from the air.
Following these rules will ensure that you always enjoy clean and functional non-sparking tools and minimize the potential hazards in the workplace.
As we explained in the previous questions, in certain environments standard hand tools could lead to the generation of a spark that would put all the workers in the facility in danger.
Think for example of an offshore oil rig: in such places, there may be gases or liquid substances that could cause a fire or an explosion. In these situations, it is unthinkable to use traditional hand tools and just tools that don’t contain ferrous metals should be used.
There are numerous doubts about which tools can be used in ATEX zones and which materials comply with the non sparking tools standards. Many people ask “Is chrome vanadium steel non-sparking?” If a tool made of this alloy falls or it is rubbed on materials such as cement the steel alloys linked to the chrome vanadium, in fact, can generate hot sparks and high risk, because they can ignite airborne flammable substances in a moment. We can thus state that chrome-vanadium steel is a sparking metal, and, when used in ATEX areas, can lead to serious accidents that put people's lives at risk.
It is also frequently wondered “Is galvanized steel non-sparking?” We can clearly affirm that galvanized steel is considered a sparking material. Zinc alloys that contain 30 to 55 percent aluminum are flammable and, therefore, it is fundamental to understand that if galvanized steel is struck with sufficient force and the zinc coating penetrates through to the base steel, the steel can obviously spark. So, it is strongly recommended not to use tools made of galvanized steel in these areas.
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. It is highly recommended to carry out exhaustive maintenance of your tools in order to extend their life. Take into consideration the following advice:
- Choose the right size for the right task to prevent the tool from falling.
- 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 avoid deterioration.
- Never use your non-sparking tools in environments with acetylene as it can cause explosive acetylides.
- Non-sparking tools that are likely to wear such as hammers or striking wrenches should be checked frequently.
If you are a young professional craftsman or welder that’s looking to build a respectable toolkit for a lucrative career to come, non sparking tools are essential. There will be many projects which will require you to work in highly flammable areas, or on magnetic equipment that could yank the tools right out of your hand. If you are interested in getting these tools, shop our website, or contact us for more information.
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