News Story

Important Update: FM Standard Change

Added 06.01.16


Motorola issued an intent to cancel the FM (Factory Mutual) radio options and remove them from the portfolio as the FM standards are now being migrated to TIA/UL standards.

From January the 1st, 2016 Motorola Intrinsically Safe radios will be accredited with the TIA-4950 standard for Hazardous Location certification of two-way radios by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and will no longer produce Intrinsically Safe two-way radios approved to the Factory Mutual (FM) standard FM3610_88.

The standard for hazardous locations is determined by the Jurisdictional authorities, fire marshals, insurance providers and facility safety experts and they set different ratings for different environments.

The FM 3610_88 certifications for new LMR radios will expire on the 31st of December, 2015 and authorities have set the FM 3610_10 standard. The FM 3610_10 is a more stringent standard and so in light of this and to keep the available range and price points within the portfolio, Motorola will be transitioning to the TIA 4950 standard for new products and the existing Division 1, Class 1 portfolio. This is similar to the FM 3610_ 88 standard. The compliance testing for this will be done by the Underwriters Laboratories or National Recognized testing lab, NRTL.

Fielded radios still maintain their Approved status though, providing the radio repairs are completed by an FM audited site. For existing radios, FM Approved batteries and accessory replacements will continue to be sold and current radios, manufactured to the 3610_88 standard will continue to be manufactured until the end of December, 2015. After this date, new radios will need to meet the TIA-4950 standards and all replacement batteries for these radios, will be using this standard.

To prepare for this change it is advised that companies ensure documentation (Insurance documents, Standard Operating Procedures, Health and Safety approvals, Employee training) does not simply refer to “FM Standard” equipment. Companies will need to make sure their documentation reflects the change and that their sales and product information is correct for the new TIA compliant radios.

As you and your radio fleet move into the new year with the new standard, keep these four things in mind to ensure a smooth transition:

 

1. FM radios will stay intrinsically safe. FM approved radios that are deployed in the field will maintain their FM Intrinsically Safe approval status, provided that any service and repairs are done at an FM audited repair facility. All Motorola radios shipped after January 1, 2016 will be UL certified, and FM approved aftermarket batteries will continue to be available for fielded units.


2. FM and UL approve the radio and battery together as a system. The FM approved battery may only be used on an FM approved radio, and the UL approved battery may only be used on a UL approved radio, otherwise the certification is not valid. However, you can operate with both FM and UL approved radios in your fleet.


3. New UL batteries will be marked, and made available throughout 2016. MOTOTRBO™ Radios and batteries certified to TIA-4950 have been available since Q1 2015. They are labelled clearly with the new UL markings: black label, white font, white dot.


4. Classification matters. Know Division, Class and Group rather than simply "FM Approved" or "Intrinsically Safe". Hazardous locations can be found in many industries, including refineries, fuel storage facilities, chemical plants, grain elevators and plastics processing plants. Motorola Solutions does not determine the need for hazardous location (hazloc) products, nor evaluates the environment. The need for hazloc products, and the classification of the specific environment, is determined by various jurisdictional authorities such as fire marshals, insurance providers, facility safety experts, etc. Check with your local authority to confirm the hazloc requirements for your fleet.

Please note this change is purely relating to Motorola's FM intrinsically safe radios and does not change or affect their ATEX portfolio. Please call RadioTrade if you would like to discuss this change.