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AI tool will simplify the use of hazardous area standards

04 January, 2024

The Association of Electrical and Mechanical Trades (AEMT) is working with the British Standards Institute (BSI) and Innovate UK’s Driving the Electric Revolution Challenge, to develop an AI-powered tool to help electromechanical repairers ensure that they repair hazardous area motors to the correct standard.

The tool, which is being developed with funding and support from Innovate UK, will allow engineers working on rotating electrical machines to clarify technical requirements through an easy-to-use chatbot-style interface.

The BS EN and IEC 60079 series of standards govern, among other things, the repair, overhaul, reclamation, installation, maintenance, inspection, design, testing and marking of equipment for use in explosive atmospheres. Navigating and interpreting these complex standards can be time-consuming and prone to error. In addition, the standards are reviewed and updated periodically, and it can be a challenge to ensure the right standard is being applied to suit the age of the equipment being repaired.

The tool being developed by the AEMT and BSI aims to simplify the interpretation, and compliance with, these complex standards while reducing the potential for error. Users will be able to ask questions about repairs they are working on and will be offered technical guidance and information to ensure compliance and safety.

The chat-based interface draws on large language model technology, which allows for further detail or clarification where needed. It is expected to be particularly valuable when interpreting a range of cross-referenced documents, where identifying the pertinent parts of various standards is not straightforward.

By understanding the year in which the type of hazardous area equipment was certified (which can be established from the first two digits of the certificate number), the chatbot will be able to establish which version of the relevant standard applies. For example, in the 2000 version of the Ex d standard BS EN 50018, the dimensions relating to flame paths differ from those in the 2004 version, IEC 60079-1. However, where IEC 60079-19 – which covers the repair, overhaul, and reclamation of equipment for use in explosive atmospheres – is concerned, the chatbot will only give information from the latest version.

The new AI-powered tool will help to ensure that hazardous area motors are being repaired to the correct standard

This is because repair procedures improve over the different versions released. For example, a go-no-go test, which helps to check for damaged threads, was introduced in the latest (2019) edition, but is not referred to in the 2015 version of the same standard.

The tool will initially cover ten versions of four different BS EN hazardous area standards. It is due to be tested by AEMT members and rolled out from the second quarter of 2024.

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