ATEX, IECEx, Intrinsically Safe, IS & DURESS Telecommunication Products
ATEX / IECEx / IS Telecommunication ProductsAastra
- Peltor Blue-Line ATEX Approved Twin Cup Headset
IECEx, the IEC System for Certification to Standards Relating to Equipment for Use in Explosive Atmospheres, has put in place a number of Conformity Assessment Schemes, which provide assurance that equipment and systems are manufactured and operated according to the highest International Standards of safety.
The United Nations, through its UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe), has formally endorsed IECEx as an internationally recognized certification system that promotes the safety of equipment in explosive areas.
What is an Ex / ATEX area?
A potentially explosive atmosphere is composed by air mixtures of gases, vapours, mists or dusts, which can ignite under certain operating conditions.
Equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres cover a quite large range of products, including equipment used on fixed offshore platforms, in petrochemical plants, mines, flour mills and other areas where a potentially explosive atmosphere may be present.
Ex areas can be known by different names such as “Hazardous Locations”, “Hazardous Areas” “Explosive Atmospheres”, and the like and relate to areas where flammable liquids, vapours, gases or combustible dusts are likely to occur in quantities sufficient to cause a fire or explosion.
The modern day automation of industry has meant an increased need to use equipment in Ex areas. Such equipment is termed “Ex equipment”
Where do you commonly find Ex equipment?
Ex equipment in such areas include:
- Automotive refueling stations or petrol stations
- Oil refineries, rigs and processing plants
- Chemical processing plants
- Printing industries, paper and textiles
- Hospital operating theaters
- Aircraft refueling and hangars
- Surface coating industries
- Underground coalmines
- Sewerage treatment plants
- Gas pipelines and distribution centers
- Grain handling and storage
- Woodworking areas
- Sugar refineries
- Metal surface grinding, especially aluminum dusts and particles
Safety in Ex areas is a must
Constant technological developments and industrial automation have increased the need for electrical and electronic equipment in hazardous or Ex areas.
It is in the interest of industry, governments and workers that Ex Areas be regulated so as to be as safe as possible.
Safety in hazardous areas is non-negotiable. When equipment is not installed, maintained, inspected or repaired according to strict Ex standards by competent persons, the outcome can be devastating.
What may be tolerable in nonexplosive
atmospheres can directly lead to explosions that not only destroy property but can cost human lives or cause severe injuries.
Providing the proof – faster and at lower cost
Ex equipment is designed for very specific and often extreme conditions. Manufacturers and suppliers of services who want to trade on the global scene have to meet the very strict requirements put in place by national regulations and legislation. Proving their adherence to those requirements can be costly and time-intensive.
IECEx has the perfect solution for all manufacturers who want to export their products to several markets: one test and one certificate that open many doors. IECEx certification covers offshore oil platforms…their crew… and grain storage silos
The IECEx is accepted in all its member countries and way beyond. It is widely recognized as the truly international system for Ex equipment, provides access to the global market and drastically reduces costs by eliminating multiple retesting and certification.
But IECEx is not restricted to product certification. It also covers Ex-related services such as repair and overhaul and is the only international certification system that certifies persons working in Ex areas.The Ex Mark of Conformity System
This IECEx System is an International Conformity System where a Mark of Conformity will be granted by approved IECEx certifiers (ExCBs) located in IECEx participating countries for equipment that is covered by an IECEx Certificate of Conformity and hence has been tested and manufactured under systems that are under ongoing surveillance by ExCBs.
It will help governments, safety regulators, and industry to have greater assurance that the equipment being operated or supplied for use in areas where flammable gases and vapours and combustible dusts (termed explosive atmospheres) are present, meet the world’s most respected and vigorous safety standards.
The Mark shall only be placed on products or on packaging and promotional material covered by a valid IECEx Certificate of Conformity issued in accordance with the IECEx System rules.About ATEX
The Equipment and Protective systems intended for use in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres (ATEX) Directive 94/9/EC provides the technical requirements to be applied and the relevant conformity assessment procedures before placing this equipment on the European market.
These requirements are given technical expression by "Harmonised Standards", developed by the European Standardisation Organisations: CEN (for non-electrical equipment) and CENELEC (for electrical equipment) - develop standards which references are presented to and published by the European Commission in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU).
How to apply the Directive
The Directive is implemented in Europe by means of each national authority transposing its provisions into their legislation, and it is these texts which have direct effect in the first instance.
As a result Member States and others who apply its requirements are directly responsible for implementation and enforcement, as well as, for example, the management of Notified Bodies.
As it is these national provisions which directly apply to manufacturers, it is always recommended as a first step for manufacturers to discuss any issues that they may have concerning the Directive with the relevant national contact points.
As a result of the excellent co-operation between all those involved, the formal ATEX Standing Committee has been able to give a unanimous positive opinion to a set of guidance notes which have been published by the Commission services to assist those who need to apply the Directive.
This is not "law" and has no legal weight as such, but has been found to be a very useful document. As with all such documents continuous revision is required, and this is done by means of "Clarification Papers" which are also provided under this heading.
These papers are the result of further discussion at the Experts Working Group. It is therefore suggested that the reader considers both sets of advisory texts whilst keeping in mind that the manufacturer or other responsible person continues to have sole responsibility for compliance with the provisions of the Directive. The third edition of the Guidelines on the application of Directive 94/9/EC was issued in June 2009.