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Who Needs to Comply with the ATEX Directive?
Manufacturers of mechanical and electrical equipment, as well as protective systems, intended for safe operation in and around potentially explosive atmospheres and who wish to place their products on the market within the European Union need to comply with the ATEX Directive.
ATEX Directive Scope
The 'Directive on Equipment and Protective Systems Intended for use in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres' (94/9/EC) entered into force on 1 March 1996. The Directive is commonly referred to as the 'ATEX' Directive ('ATmospheres EXplosibles'), but may also be called the ATEX Equipment Directive or ATEX 95.
The Directive applies to electrical and/or mechanical equipment used on the surface, below the ground and on fixed offshore installations. Specifically, the Directive covers:
ATEX Groups and Categories
Equipment and Products that fall within the scope of the Directive are divided into two Groups:
Equipment and Products in each Group are divided into Categories based on the level of protection required. The categories are as follows:
In addition to the ATEX Directive 94/9/EC, which covers the safety requirements for equipment to be used in potentially explosive atmospheres, there is an additional European ATEX Directive, 99/92/EC. This is also known as the 'ATEX Workplace Directive' or 'ATEX 137' and highlights what employers must do to minimise the risk to workers from explosive atmospheres.
ATEX 137 also classifies hazardous areas where an explosive atmosphere could form, by type of hazard, into the following 'Zones'.
Hazard - Gas, Mists or Vapors
Hazard - Dusts
It is a requirement of ATEX 137 that only certain categories of Group II ATEX certified equipment are used in specific Zones. This requirement can help guide manufacturers on what Category of ATEX certification their product(s) need to achieve. The Zones and their applicable equipment Categories are as follows:
Routes to ATEX Compliance
The ATEX Directive stipulates that products within its scope must satisfy the relevant essential health and safety requirements (EHSRs), and there are three methods of compliance. Equipment must be manufactured in conformity with either:
In every case the standards, specifications or EHSRs applied by a manufacturer must be applicable and relevant to a product's intended ATEX Group & Category and the Zone in which it is to be used.
Where a Harmonized Standard is applied it must cover all essential health and safety requirements and must be the latest version.
Conformity Assessment Procedures
Procedures vary depending on the category of equipment and the zones for which the equipment is intended to be used. In general they are as follows:
EC Type Examination - Examination by a Notified Body of compliance documentation and a sample of the product to be certified
In all cases it will be necessary for the manufacturer to prepare a full Technical File for the product(s) that demonstrates their conformity with the requirements of the ATEX Directive 94/9/EC.
Why use Technology International Group?
Ensuring products and systems meet the requirements of the ATEX Directive can be a complex, time consuming and costly process. By using Technology International to support ATEX compliance efforts manufacturers can draw upon detailed pre-existing technical knowledge and expertise. Technology International provide guidance technical requirements, appropriate standards and assist with the preparation of compliance documentation, speeding up the ATEX certification process and ensuring that products reach the market quicker.
Technology International's services include:
Under European regulations a Notified Body for the ATEX Directive 94/9/EC cannot also provide wider ATEX consultancy services such as design reviews or preparing compliance documentation. In order to provide the most comprehensive range of services possible to clients, Technology International has therefore chosen not to maintain an ATEX Notified Body appointment.
To take advantage of Technology International's ATEX Directive expertise and services or to disucss your requirements in more detail please contact our sales team using either the 'Ask an Engineer' form or the telephone numbers provided.
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