ExTA Background & Challenges
Since the 1990s there has been a significant expansion in the standards and an array of regulatory changes related to hazardous areas. Not just in Australia but overseas as well. These changes are set to continue for many years to come. In North America , UK and Europe there are associations and forums focussed on hazardous areas but there has been nothing in our region. The issues we face are not just ours. In a global environment, we need to meet the challenges with the right momentum and industry understanding in the ANZ region and be able to influence global developments.
- Standards Australia seeking to divest itself of management of the ANZEx certification scheme for certification of explosion –protected electrical equipment and services. The ExTA will also make a case to be considered to take over the management body function of the ANZEx scheme if it can prove itself as sustainable body.
- The development of future mechanical standards and certification of mechanical equipment for hazardous areas. This has even more potential to change the face of installations in hazardous areas than electrical equipment. For example in the Oil, Gas and Petrochemical industry the non-mechanical content is in the order of 90% balance of plant compared to electrical. The cost factor for equipment to the new standards and certification of mechanical equipment could far outweigh the electrical component.
- 'Experts' at all levels and from all sectors needing to reach a common ground to avoid rework, confusion and cost.
- Streamlining Australian practices to remain competitive. Already our industries are known as more expensive in this space than other countries, (sometimes up to 3 times more expensive than comparable overseas installations either due to initial costs or rework on imported items to meet out standards).
- Maintaining and developing a knowledge and skill base based on both current and future developments in this field.
- Linking all of the areas that are affected by hazardous areas i.e. all onshore Groups I, II and III, all offshore fixed and mobile oil and gas installations and other industries such as aviation which may have North American hazardous area equipment.
- Australia & New Zealand accepting international standards other than IEC/ISO for specialised applications
- Rising influence of countries with low cost of manufacture, where there are ongoing issues with quality control and competency.