Since July 2003, Ex products that are placed on the European market must be certified to the ATEX directive (ATEX 94/9/EC). This involves the testing and assessment of such products to the latest ATEX standards.
The Objective of Directive 94/9/EC
The objective of ATEX is to ensure the free movement of goods throughout the European Union, by offering one harmonised compliance procedure accepted by all EU countries, eradicating the need for differing national standards.
This so called ‘New Approach’ directive removes barriers to trade by defining Essential Health and Safety Requirements (EHSRs) for Ex equipment. The EHSRs form the basis of an EU-accepted product conformity approval process that examines the potential ignition sources of equipment intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres.
ATEX Product Certification
ATEX product certification (or EC Type Examination) is the check on the design specification of a product in relation to a series of relevant standards laid out under the directive.
It involves a detailed process of examination, testing and assessment of equipment intended for use in potentially hazardous areas, with the end result being the issue of an ATEX certificate and report, confirming and demonstrating that the product is safe to use (within certain parameters)
within potentially explosive atmospheres.
The certification process must be undertaken by a Notified Body who issue ATEX certificates and conduct periodic surveillance of quality management systems. (Certain exclusions apply, such as equipment intended for use in zone 2 environments, and category 2 & 3 non-electrical equipment).
Some of the Protection methods
- Flameproof (Ex d)
- Encapsulated (Ex m)
- Intrinsic Safety (Ex ia)
- Powder Filled
- Increased Safety (Ex e)
- Protective Systems
- Purged & Pressurised (Ex p)
- Non-electrical Equipment
- Oil Immersed (Ex o)
- Unit Verification
- Type ‘n’ (Ex n)