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Interpretation of ATEX EU's latest explosion-proof certification directive 2014/34/EU and related issues

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| 2019-12-12|Return

With the rapid development of China's economic construction and the increasing scale of industrial production, explosion-proof issues have become more important. Explosion proof electrical products with diverse functions and varieties are widely used in various industries such as petroleum, chemical, and coal. Whether explosion-proof electrical appliances can operate stably and safely in various hazardous and explosive environments during use requires strict explosion-proof testing before leaving the factory. Shenzhen Zhongnuo Testing Technology Co., Ltd. has rich experience in product design and testing in the field of explosion-proof. The following is an interpretation of the latest EU explosion-proof ATEX certification directive 2014/34/EU and related issues.

 

Explosion proof directive ATEX 2014/34/EU
(Old Directive 94/9/EC)

ATEX originates from the French word "ATmosphereEXlosible". On March 23, 1994, the European Commission adopted the Directive "Equipment and Protection Systems for Potential Explosive Environments" (94/9/EC). This directive has been in use since 1996 and was mandatory since July 1, 2003.


This directive covers both mine and non mine equipment, and unlike previous directives, it includes mechanical and electrical equipment, extending the potential explosion hazard environment to dust and flammable gases, flammable vapors, and mist in the air. This instruction is commonly referred to as the "new method" instruction of ATEX 100A, which is the current ATEX explosion-proof instruction.


Manufacturers of equipment intended for use in potentially explosive environments can sell their explosion-proof equipment anywhere in Europe by applying the ATEX directive terms and attaching the CE mark, without considering other requirements.

There are three prerequisites for applying this command:

1. The equipment must have its own ignition source;

2. Expected to be used in potentially explosive environments (air mixtures);

3. Under normal atmospheric conditions.

This directive also applies to components necessary for safe use, as well as safety devices that directly benefit the safe use of equipment within the scope of application. These devices can operate in potentially explosive environments.

The ATEX 94/9/EC directive categorizes equipment into three categories based on the level of protection provided by the installed equipment:

Category 1- very high level of protection

Category 2- High level of protection

Category 3- Normal level of protection

If the device is used for zones 0, 1, or 2, the category number is followed by the letter G (gas, vapor/mist):

Zone 0, Zone 1, Zone 2

1G devices 2G devices 3G devices

If the device is used in zones 20, 21, or 22, the category number is followed by the letter D (dust):

Zone 20, Zone 21, Zone 22

1D Class Equipment 2D Class Equipment 3D Class Equipment

Zone 0: A place where explosive gas environments occur continuously or for a long time, and hazardous environments exist for more than 1000 hours per year.

Zone 1: Zone 1 is a place where explosive gas environments may occur during normal operation, and hazardous environments exist for a period of 10-1000 hours per year.

Zone 2: Zone 2 is a place where explosive gas environments are unlikely to occur during normal operation. If they do occur occasionally and only exist for a short period of time, the hazardous environment exists for less than 10 hours per year

(2) ATEX Directive 1999/92/EC

ATEX 1999/92/EC, in parallel with ATEX 94/9/EC, is a minimum requirement for improving the health and safety protection of workers in potentially explosive environments (also known as ATEX 137). It sets out the minimum requirements for improving the health and safety protection of workers in potentially explosive environments.

This means that based on the assessment of the hazards involved, employers bear a significant amount of responsibility:

1. Prevent the formation of explosive environments in the workplace or avoid igniting explosive environments;

2. Conduct a hazard assessment on the potential for explosive environments and ignition sources;

3. Divide the workplace based on the frequency and duration of explosive environments;

4. Mark the area with symbols (Ex symbol) at the entrance;

5. Establish and maintain an explosion-proof document;

6. Select equipment that meets the requirements of ATEX 94/9/EC directive based on the hazardous area to be used.

According to ATEX 1999/92/EC regulations:

Only Class 1 equipment can be used in Zone 0 locations; Only Class 1 and Class 2 equipment can be used in Zone 1 locations; Only Class 1, 2, and 3 equipment can be used in Zone 2 locations.

This directive stipulates the responsibility of employers rather than manufacturers.

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Explanation of the new explosion-proof directive 2014/34/EU
The new explosion-proof directive 2014/34/EU was published in the official gazette of the European Union on March 29, 2014 and came into effect on April 18, 2014. The new explosion-proof directive 2014/34/EU will be officially implemented on April 20, 2016, and the old directive 94/9/EC will be replaced accordingly. With the update of the directive, the European Commission will implement the explosion-proof directive regulations in accordance with the new legislative framework (NLF).


The new version of the directive introduces a new legislative framework (NLF) that provides more detailed provisions on the obligations of distributors while maintaining the same product scope, product classification, basic safety requirements, and consistency assessment process. At the same time, under the new NFL architecture, the requirements for the certification process of the notified body are more refined, and the responsibilities of the organization in the certification process are clearer.

What changes have been made to the new instructions
Q:Has the product scope of the new explosion-proof directive 2014/34/EU changed?

A:The overall situation remains unchanged. Compared to the old instructions, the wording is different and the content remains consistent.

  

Q:When will the new explosion-proof directive come into use?

A:The new version of the directive was released on March 29, 2014; Effective on April 18, 2014; Executed on April 20, 2016.

  

Q:When can the certificate for the new explosion-proof directive 2014/34/EU be issued?

A:The new version of the directive certificate can only be issued from April 20, 2016. Prior to this date, the notified body can only make relevant preparations and is not allowed to issue certificates for the new version of the directive. Prior to this date, the notified body can only issue certificates for the old version of the explosion-proof directive 94/9/EC.

Q:When the new version of the explosion-proof directive 2014/34/EU is officially implemented, is the certificate of the old version of the directive valid?

A:Still valid. As long as the certificate of the old version of the explosion-proof directive 94/9/EC is still valid, the certificate will remain valid.

  

Q:What should be noted when using the old version of the explosion-proof directive 94/9/EC certificate after April 20, 2016?

A:Customers holding old version directive certificates need to pay attention to providing a conformity declaration for the new version of the explosion-proof directive 2014/34/EU when providing a conformity declaration.

  

Q:Can certificates issued according to the old version instructions after April 20, 2016 be subject to annual review or updated for renewal?
A:Sure. The annual review or renewal of certificates will be carried out in accordance with the new instructions.

  

Q:Can the manufacturer sign and provide a declaration of conformity based on the new version of the directive on April 20, 2016?

A:No way. The compliance declaration related to the new version of the directive can only be signed from April 20, 2016 onwards


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