What is Atex?
Many of our US customers are curious about what an ATEX certification is and if AccuTherm is ATEX certified. To help clear up some confusion, the following article will answer the question of “what is atex” and will go over the US equivalent rating system NEMA.
What is ATEX?
ATEX comes from the French title of the 94/9/EC directive: Appareils destinés à être utilisés en ATmosphères EXplosibles. Being ATEX Certified consists of two EU directives describing what equipment and work environment is allowed in an environment with an explosive atmosphere that businesses must follow in order to protect employees and property from explosion risk. Any 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
ATEX is to ensure the free movement of goods throughout the EU, by offering one unified compliance procedure accepted by all EU countries. These directives remove the barriers to trade by defining Essential Health and Safety Requirements (EHSRs) for Ex equipment. The EHSRs forms the support 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 (or EC Type Examination) is the check on the design specification of a product in relation to a series of relevant standards arranged covered by 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.
What is an Explosive Atmosphere?
Explosive atmospheres consist of air and combustive material such as gases, vapors, or dust in which the explosion could spread after ignition. Production sites where combustible dust could potentially be a major concerns.
Explosive Atmosphere Zones Divided
The ATEX directive distinguishes between two types of explosive atmospheres: gas and dust. Areas within these two kinds of explosive atmospheres are each divided into three sub-zones. Although the zones characteristics are identical for both gas and dust, their numbering is different. Zone 0, 1 and 2 refer to gas and Zone 20, 21 and 22 refer to dust.
Zone 0 / 20: Constant danger
Permanent presence of explosive gases or combustible dust.
Zone 1 / 21: Potential danger
Occasional presence of explosive gases or combustible dust during normal duty.
Zone 2 / 22: Minor danger
Presence of explosive gases or combustible dust is not likely to occur or only for a shorter period of time.
There are differences from country to country in the way in which the standards and certification procedures are implemented. ATEX is required in Europe, but not required in the United States. North America does not regulate the trade of equipment like Europe but its safe operation.
A NEMA standard defines a product, process, or procedure that relates to one or more of nomenclature, composition, construction, dimensions, tolerances, safety, operating characteristics, performance, rating, testing, and the service for which the product(s) are designed. Standards play a vital part in the design, production, and distribution of products destined for both national and international commerce.
To learn more about Atex Certification please contact one of our industrial heating experts by calling (573) 735-1060 or visit us at http://www.accutherm.com/.