The increasing incidence of arc flash events in a number of production and manufacturing facilities has led to the demand for protection systems. Arc flash expels copious amounts of explosive energy causing ionization of the surrounding air and reaches an exorbitant temperature of 35,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The devastating effects of an arc flash are many: it can burn human skins in seconds, can vaporize or liquefy metals in the vicinity, and cause ignition of any combustible materials. The high pressure generated can knock-off workers and any equipment and tool, causing them to fiercely hit surrounding people in the facility. In addition, the high-intensity sound waves spiraling from the event can rupture eardrums causing partial or completing hearing loss in workers. An arc flash event can be triggered by a non-performing or underrated equipment or may be caused by accidents in the facility.
Various regulations by Occupational Safety and Health Administration and workplace safety standards such as NFPA 70E have led to a wide demand for arc flash protection systems across facilities, especially keeping in mind electrical distribution systems used. It is imperative for those in charge of evaluating the dangers associated from arc flash to quantify the hazards by appropriate coding of the electrical equipment, based on incident energy. The impact of arc flash hazards is directly correlated with the available fault current and hence depends on the voltage at which various electrical equipment operate. Among other significant factors, device settings and the presence of over current protection devices play vital role. This effectively calls for dedicated arc flash studies, preferably done by a qualified professional electrical engineer, with the use of software packages available in the market.
Arc flash refers to an accidental phenomenon, wherein a flashover of an electric current leaves its path and flows from one conductor to another or to the ground. The result of this mishap is often violent; if a human is in vicinity of the arc flash, it may cause perilous injury or even death. Arc flash systems protection basically refers to the systems or equipment used to identify and alleviate the arc flash hazards. Arc flash is the major cause of injuries, occurring due to electrical accidents taking place at manufacturing, construction, and industrial sites. Arc flash hazards are caused by corrosion or deterioration of equipment, dust accumulation leading to material or equipment failure, condensation, and faulty installation. The market for arc flash protection is expected to gain momentum, led by the implementation of stringent regulations such as The NFPA 70E Standard and OSHA, increasing electrical safety awareness, and the inculcation of safe working habits among workers.
Rise in demand for power generation is expected to significantly influence the flash protection market due to the current power deficit scenario, especially in Asia Pacific. The power generation industry involves activities that may lead to electrical accidents and arc flash injuries. Furthermore, the market for arc flash protection is expected to expand significantly in the near future due to the increase in need to maintain safe working conditions in order to ensure safety, health, and welfare of people at work.
Based on equipment, the arc flash protection market can be classified into arc flash detection system, arc flash control system, and personal protective equipment. The arc flash control system segment comprises devices such as breakers, relays, and fault current limiters, installed outside the electrical equipment to maintain the flow of electric current. The segment is estimated to drive the arc flash protection market during the forecast period. Arc flash personal protective equipment provides protection against arc flash that can occur during activities such as switchgear failure. It includes coveralls, jackets & trousers, switching suits/hoods, waterproof shirts and polo shirts, helmets and visors, and gloves and accessories.
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The personal protective equipment segment is projected to witness significant growth during the forecast period owing to the increase in transmission and distribution of electricity, improvement in power infrastructure, and rise in power generation capacity. Based on end-use, the market for arc flash protection can be classified into utilities, oil & gas, transportation & infrastructure, manufacturing & processing, and others. Utilities was the major revenue contributing segment of the arc flash protection market in 2016 due to the increase in demand for electricity from commercial, residential, and industrial sectors; and rise in investment in electrical infrastructure networks.
In terms of geography, North America held the dominant share of the arc flash protection market in 2016. Increase in awareness about the safety of people and rise in expenditure on safety equipment by multinational companies are projected to drive the market for arc flash protection during the forecast period. However, growth in investment in electrical distribution network in order to boost the power generation scenario in emerging economies such as China, India, and Indonesia is likely to augment the arc flash protection market during the forecast period.
Key players operating in the arc flash protection market include ABB, Ltd., Arcteq Relays, Ltd., General Electric, Schneider Electric, Eaton Corporation, Siemens AG, and Larsen & Toubro, Ltd.