Already widely used in Europe, intrinsically safe electrical architecture is expected to enjoy large gains in popularity in the United States, according to a new study by Venture Development Corp. (VDC). According to “European and North American Markets For Intrinsically Safe Equipment,” the North American market for such equipment will grow 6.5% over the next five years.

Intrinsically safe products created $191 million in revenue in 2001, but the study predicts that number will grow to $261 million by 2006. Although such an increase would be impressive, the European market already dwarfs that of North America: revenue topped out at $403 million in 2001 and is expected to reach $475 million by 2006.

Intrinsically safe equipment is incapable of releasing sufficient electrical or thermal energy to cause ignition of a hazardous atmosphere in industrial facilities. The study attributes the predicted gain in the North American market to a trend to displacement of explosion-proof protection methods in North America by intrinsic safety methods, which have lower operating costs.

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