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IEC 61340-4-4

3rd Edition, January 1, 2018

Complete Document

Electrostatics – Part 4-4: Standard test methods for specific applications – Electrostatic classification of flexible intermediate bulk containers (FIBC)

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Product Details:

  • Revision: 3rd Edition, January 1, 2018
  • Published Date: January 2018
  • Status: Active, Most Current
  • Document Language: English, French
  • Published By: International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)
  • Page Count: 102
  • ANSI Approved: No
  • DoD Adopted: No

Description / Abstract:

This part of IEC 61340 specifies requirements for flexible intermediate bulk containers (FIBC) between 0,25 m3 and 3 m3 in volume, intended for use in hazardous explosive atmospheres. The explosive atmosphere can be created by the contents in the FIBC or can exist outside the FIBC.

The requirements include:

classification and labelling of FIBC

classification of inner liners

specification of test methods for each type of FIBC, inner liner, labels and document pockets

design and performance requirements for FIBC, inner liners, labels and document pockets

safe use of FIBC (including those with inner liners) within different zones defined for explosion endangered environments, described for areas where combustible dusts are, or can be, present (IEC 60079-10-2), and for explosive gas atmospheres (IEC 60079-10-1)

procedures for type qualification and certification of FIBC, including the safe use of inner liners.

NOTE 1 Guidance on test methods that can be used for manufacturing quality control is given in Annex C.

The requirements of this document are applicable to all types of FIBC and inner liners, tested as manufactured, prior to use and intended for use in hazardous explosive atmospheres: Zones 1 and 2 (Groups IIA and IIB only) and Zones 21 and 22 (see Annex D for classification of hazardous areas and explosion groups). For some types of FIBC, the requirements of this document apply only to use in hazardous explosive atmospheres with minimum ignition energy of 0,14 mJ or greater and where charging currents do not exceed 3,0 μA.


0,14 mJ represents a realistic minimum ignition energy for a Group IIB gas or vapour atmosphere. Although more sensitive materials exist, 0,14 mJ is the lowest minimum ignition energy of any material that is likely to be present when FIBC are emptied. 3,0 μA is the highest charging current likely to be found in common industrial processes. This combination of minimum ignition energy and charging current represents the most severe conditions that might be expected in practice.

FIBC are not normally used in Zone 0 or Zone 20. If FIBC are used in Zone 0 or Zone 20, the requirements of this document are applicable, together with additional requirements that are beyond the scope of this document to define.

The volume contained within FIBC can be designated as Zone 20, in which case the requirements of this document are applicable.

Solids containing residual solvent can result in a hazardous explosive atmosphere within FIBC, possibly resulting in the volume being designated as Zone 1 or Zone 2; in which case the requirements of this document are applicable.

Compliance with the requirements specified in this document does not necessarily ensure that hazardous electrostatic discharges, for example cone discharges, will not be generated by the contents in FIBC. Information on the risks associated with cone discharges is given in Annex E.

Compliance with the requirements of this document does not mitigate the need for full risk assessment. For example, metal and other conductive powders and toner powders can require additional precautions to prevent hazardous discharges from the powders.

NOTE 3 In the examples mentioned in the paragraph above, additional precautions can be necessary in the case of metal or other conductive powder because if the powder is isolated and becomes charged, incendiary sparks can occur, and in the case of toner powders, incendiary discharges can occur during rapid filling and emptying operations. IEC TS 60079-32-1 [1]1 gives guidance on additional precautions that can be necessary.

Test methods included in this document can be used in association with other performance requirements, for example when a risk assessment has shown the minimum ignition energy of concern is less than 0,14 mJ, charging currents are greater than 3,0 μA, or the ambient conditions are outside of the range specified in this document.

Compliance with the requirements specified in this document does not necessarily ensure that electric shocks to personnel will not occur from FIBC during normal use.