Non-Sparking tools

Know the basics about non-sparking tools

What is a non-sparking tool?

Non-sparking tool are tools made of special alloys that generate low energy sparks. The key principle to avoid an explosion is therefore to ensure that the energy of the spark a tool generates is lower than the ignition point of the gas in the atmosphere.

Non-sparking tools are safe to use in the presence of an explosive atmospheres, according to the Directive 1999/92 / EC.


 What non-sparking alloys exist?

The most common alloys are copper beryllium (also called beryllium copper or Cu-Be) and aluminum bronze (also called Al-Bron).

Although Cu-Be alloy is 20% - 40% more expensive than Al-Bron at the point of purchase, it has two important benefits:

  1. The energy of the spark it generates is lower than that of Al-Bron tools, and as a result, Cu-Be are considered safer since they can be used in the presence of all gas groups (including Group IIC).
  2. Cu-Be tools have superior mechanical properties, and therefore last longer. If used frequently, Cu-Be could generate considerable cost savings through lower tool replacements time.

 In addition, Cu-Be non-sparking tools are non-magnetic, an important benefit if work is being carried out in the presence of a magnetic field.


How do I decide which alloy is the best option for me?

Cu-Be is the best choice in 90% of cases, as its best properties make it safer and more economical over time. In general terms, Al-Bron non-sparking tools are only competitive when four conditions are met simultaneously:

- The tool will be used very occasionally, not periodically.

- Great efforts will not be made.

- Complete non-magnetism is not required.

- Will not be used in IIC group atmospheres.

 If all these conditions occur at once, the Al-Bron may be the best option. But if only one of these conditions is not met, then the Cu-Be is the right decision.


Are there other safe alloys apart from the Cu-Be and Al-Bron?

Other alloys available in the market include copper, tin bronze, brass or manganese bronze. However, these alloys are not a viable alternative to Cu-Be and Al-Bron tools due to their low hardness and resistance levels (between 4 to 6 times lower).

Copper, brass and tin bronze non-sparking tools are therefore mainly used in those special cases where a very low hardness level is required.


How about if there is Acetylene gas in the atmosphere?

Even if Cu-Be is the safest non-sparking tool alloy, there is one exception where they could represent an explosion hazard: the presence of Acetylene in the atmosphere.

Acetylene is a gas in the IIC group, and therefore Cu-Be alloys would not trigger its deflagration. However, acetylene is a substance that reacts with any alloy with a copper composition higher than 65%, creating a new, highly explosive compound, called copper Acetylide.

As both Cu-Be and Al-Bron non-sparking tools contain more than 80% of copper in their composition, they must never be used in acetylene environments. In such environments, steel tools would likely be safer than Cu-Be non-sparking tools.

For industrial operations where Acetylene is present, EGA Master has developed a proprietary alloy called ACETILEX®. ACETILEX® tools have less than 65% of copper in their composition, making it the only completely safe alternative on the market for working in environments with acetylene.


EGA Master offers the widest range of non-sparking tools. EGA Master non-sparking tools are certified by the German BAM laboratory, to give full confidence to buyers and users that the tools they are using are safe to work in the presence of an explosive atmosphere.

 Check our full range of non-sparking tools here!


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Non-sparking toolsSafety tools