Who Needs to Comply with the ATEX Directive?
Directive for Equipment & Protective Systems Intended for use in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres (ATEX)
The ATEX Directive aims to ensure that equipment intended for use in an environment with a potentially explosive atmosphere does not ignite that atmosphere. It applies to almost all equipment and components for use in potentially explosive atmospheres and certain related equipment.
ATEX provides the requirements and procedures to establish the conformity of products placed on the EU market for the first time.
To conform to ATEX, in addition to the CE Marking, products must carry the appropriate ATEX coding, characterised by the EU Explosive Atmosphere symbol and specific designations.
Responsibility for designating all or part of a location as having a potentially explosive atmosphere (a formal process known as Area Classification, or Zoning) falls on the operator of the facility, is guided by local regulations and is outside the scope of the ATEX Directive.
Grouping and Categorization
ATEX puts equipment into Groups and Categories based on the type of environment the equipment is intended to be used in, and the level of protection provided by the equipment.
There are two Equipment Groups:
- Group I – equipment intended for use in underground parts of mines, and in those parts of surface installations of such mines, liable to be endangered by firedamp and/or combustible dust.
- Group II – equipment intended for use in other places liable to be endangered by explosive atmospheres (i.e. non-mining).
Equipment within each Group is then Categorized further:
- Category M1 – equipment designed and, where necessary, equipped with additional special means of protection to be capable of functioning in conformity with the operational parameters established by the manufacturer and ensuring a very high level of protection.
- Category M2 – equipment designed to be capable of functioning in conformity with the operational parameters established by the manufacturer and ensuring a high level of protection
- Category 1 – Equipment in this category is intended for use in areas in which explosive atmospheres caused by mixtures of air and gases, vapors or mists or by air/dust mixtures are present continuously, for long periods or frequently.
- Category 2 – Equipment in this category is intended for use in areas in which explosive atmospheres caused by gases, vapors, mists or air/dust mixtures are likely to occur occasionally.
- Category 3 – Equipment in this category is intended for use in areas in which explosive atmospheres caused by gases, vapors, mists, or air/dust mixtures are unlikely to occur or, if they do occur, are likely to do so only infrequently and for a short period only.
Some categories of equipment must be assessed by an ATEX Notified Body. Technology International is NOT an ATEX notified body out of our own deliberate choice, as being notified would severely restrict our ability to advise customers. Consequently, we are able to support you whilst notified bodies are legally prohibited from doing so.
We can provide complete solutions in-house for all ATEX equipment categories, and by partnering with ATEX Notified Bodies we can help you gain EU-Type Examination Certificates for all applications where required.
Why use Technology International
- Let us tell you if your product falls under the ATEX Directive – certain products intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres do NOT require ATEX approval.
- We can create the necessary technical files needed to meet the requirements of the ATEX Directive, for:
- Product (Equipment/Component) full 3rd Party ATEX NB certification.
- Manufacturers ‘self-declaration’ of compliance.
- We offer ATEX and IECEx training courses.
- Get on-going ATEX and IECEx related technical support, including keeping manufacturers informed of changing regulations and updates in standards.
- Area Classification.
- Quality Assurance Notification / Quality Assessment Report (ATEX QAN / IECEx QAR).
IECEx (Ex) scheme
Equipment intended to be used in potentially explosive atmospheres outside Europe is often required to comply with the IECEx Scheme, which is similar in many respects to ATEX. Although IECEx is a voluntary scheme, it now has many member countries, the list of which is continuing to grow. “Ex” compliance is often strictly enforced within industries where risks of explosions are significant and constant, such as the Petrochemical, Pharmaceutical and the Food Processing industries and IECEx can be an alternative widely accepted conformity process that goes hand-in-hand with ATEX.
Technology International offers Ex Installation design, inspection and maintenance guidance and advice .
For more information on the IECEx Scheme please see here
This is a simple overview of detailed and complex law. You can download the original Directive
The list of currently Harmonized Standards to the Directive is here.