Case: An innovative product in an explosive atmosphere

Jun 03, 2021 Digital & Product Solutions

In 2020, the Kessel-based company Smarter Nozzle introduced an innovative product called the iNozzle: a small display screen for easy mounting on the housing of fuel nozzles at filling stations. DEKRA had the honor of arranging the necessary ATEX certificate for the company, which was the final step before the product could be launched. Pascal van Nisselroy, Director at Smarter Nozzle, reflects on the development of the iNozzle, the challenges he encountered and his ambitions for the company.

The biggest challenge: an explosive atmosphere

In 2007, Pascal van Nisselroy discovered that filling stations are largely dependent on the revenue from shop sales. He owned a cluster of filling stations himself at that time and was looking for an effective marketing tool to drive shop sales. He hit on the idea of developing the iNozzle: an ultra-clear 5.5-inch ‘plug & play’ digital display screen that can be installed on any type of nozzle. It seemed so obvious that he couldn’t understand why such a solution wasn’t already available – but it soon became apparent that the filling-station environment itself posed the biggest challenge. How could he ensure that the iNozzle would be safe enough to use in an explosive atmosphere? The product’s ATEX certificate is the ultimate proof that Van Nisselroy succeeded in his quest to do so.

Eight years of intensive product development

In the eight years that it took from initial idea to product launch, Van Nisselroy regularly came up against new challenges. “For example, the iNozzle display is the same size as many smartphone displays. That means that they have high minimum order sizes, whereas we needed a smaller quantity to start with.” Other issues he faced included how to control the device wirelessly and how to guarantee safe operation. To find the answers, Van Nisselroy contacted DEKRA. It soon became clear that the iNozzle had to be certified for use in ATEX Zone 0: a place in which an explosive atmosphere consisting of a mixture with air of dangerous substances in the form of gas, vapor or mist is present continuously or for long periods or frequently. After the necessary adjustments had been made, the product was ready for certification. “The certification process at DEKRA ran extremely smoothly. Obtaining the ATEX certificate was the final step along the product’s path to market launch,” he states.

ATEX-certified within just three months

For manufacturers like Smarter Nozzle, ATEX certification is essential. They cannot apply for the actual certificate until they reach the end of the production process, but they can start preparing sooner. Van Nisselroy: “For example, DEKRA helpfully informed us that, as a manufacturer, you can speed up the certification process by gathering together the right documents during the production process.” Smarter Nozzle had set itself the goal of taking the product to market in 2020, and it succeeded. “DEKRA completed the ATEX certification process for us in less than three months. That was fully in line with the tight deadline they’d promised, which allowed us to launch the product at the end of last year,” he continues.

About Smarter Nozzle

Smarter Nozzle first started producing the iNozzle, an effective marketing tool that can be installed on fuel nozzles, in 2012. Advertisements that are displayed on the iNozzle are 100% guaranteed to be seen by motorists during refueling. The iNozzle is currently in use at 13 filling stations throughout the Netherlands, but Van Nisselroy aims to grow this figure to a hundred filling stations in 2021. The iNozzle is also attracting interest from abroad. “Therefore, we’re keen to put the iNozzle on the map internationally in 2022,” he concludes.