FM Global Opens $16M Electrical Hazards Laboratory in Rhode Island

October 17, 2019

Commercial property insurer FM Global has opened a $16 million Electrical Hazards and Gas Detection Laboratory at its 1,600-acre Research Campus in West Glocester, R.I., following nearly two years of construction.

Fireballs, explosions, combustible and toxic gas leaks and short circuits – industrial property hazards that can derail a business – are now daily occurrences inside of the specialized laboratory.

The new facility is designed specifically for testing industrial grade electrical and gas detection equipment with greater precision and certifying those products that are explosion-proof, flameproof and suitable for use in hazardous locations under extreme conditions.

To handle such extreme testing, the laboratory has features like:

  • two fortified concrete explosion bunkers with up to two-foot thick walls complete with military-grade blast doors strong enough to withstand the equivalent of detonating four pounds of TNT
  • labs that can replicate some of the most corrosive and damaging environments on the planet
  • a test site that can handle the most toxic and combustible gases found in industry

“As industries and operations evolve, so can their electrical hazards,” said Brion Callori, senior vice president of engineering and research in a company press release. “For those companies who operate in hazardous environments, explosions caused by electrical equipment can put a company out of business. There is no margin for error. This laboratory will help FM Global and its clients be well-positioned to address such hazards.”

The Electrical Hazards and Gas Detection Laboratory will be operated by FM Approvals, an international testing organization. The facility expands the capabilities of the FM Global Research Campus, where scientists and engineers replicate warehouse-size fires, hurricane force windstorms and dust explosions.

“No other organization has built a laboratory quite like this before,” Callori noted in the press release, adding that the capabilities will help expedite the certification of FM Approved electrical equipment that industries depend upon so manufacturers can get them to market faster.

Source: FM Global

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