ATEX & Explosive Atmospheres

The ATEX directive has been in force since 2003 and sets out essential guidelines for the use of equipment within atmospheres where mists, gasses, vapours, or clouds of dust are present, where atmospheres have the potential to combust.

Equipment is divided into two groups, Group I (Category M1 and M2), generally for use in underground mines where a high to a very high protection level is required and, Group II, for all other areas of risk.

Group II is subdivided using category codes for use within a zoned area. Category codes take into consideration the presence and the frequency of gas and dust, for example, Category 1 for use in zones 0/20 where gas or dust is continuously present or for extended periods. Category 2 for use in zones 1/21 where gas or dust is likely to occur during normal operation, or Category 3 for use in zones 2/22 where gas or dust is not likely to occur, but if it does, it is for short periods only.

Selecting the right categorised equipment for use within zoned areas is critical; it is essential that the equipment meets the minimum requirement, that the guidelines set down in the ATEX directive are followed accordingly to avoid the risk of fire or explosion and, most importantly, to minimise the risk to human life.

Each piece of equipment is labelled and includes a CE mark, an ATEX logo and a harmonised code indicating that the product complies with the ATEX directive. This code identifies product suitability for the equipment used within a zone; information includes equipment group, equipment category and area use, surface temperature for dust and temperature class for gas.

We recommend visiting the HSE website for further information and recommendations regarding the use of equipment in hazardous areas. http://www.hse.gov.uk/fireandexplosion/atex.htm

Impulse Automation can offer ATEX certified and approved equipment throughout much of our range, including cylinders, valves, timers, counters and encoders; please contact us with your enquiry for ATEX certified equipment.