• ATEX for beginners

ATEX Directive – this tricky issue provide more plant safety

Every diligent plant manufacturer, who deals with explosive mixtures or combustible material, will surely have encountered the ATEX Directive, in short ATEX (ATmosphères EXplosibles), quite often in the past. Brown coal, steel dust or flour are examples for those substances which generate an explosive atmosphere within the plant and must consequently be treated with special care and attention. Gross negligence and disrespect of the ATEX Directive may entail heavy sanctions if damages occur.

Complying with the Certificate of Compliance

Till 2014 it was allowed to supply equipment, which only required the ATEX Certificate of Compliance, to a plant with explosive atmospheres. The devices in the plants were classified as „harmless“ when they did not pose an ignition hazard or were no ignition source within the plant during operation. With the new Directive coming into force, evidence was given that this generous interpretation of ATEX could not be sustained in the long term.

Ignition Hazard Assessment – Thorough Tests

The equipment is subjected to a thorough ignition hazard assessment in accordance with the ATEX Directive. Potential ignition sources are determined over the whole product lifecycle, their effectiveness is analyzed as a function of probability and, if necessary, protective measures are taken to prevent them. Therefore, ATEX products stand for professionalism and diligence when manufactured in accordance with the strict rules.

Safety is Top Priority – ATEX in the sense of the Directive

The requirements of the ATEX Directive stand for safety in an unequivocal way. Safety that does not only refer to the plant itself, but the EU Declaration of Conformity also provides high certainty for distributors and manufacturers. With the EU Declaration of Conformity, the manufacturers supply evidence that their equipment have been designed, manufactured, tested and documented according to the rules and strict criteria. Complying with ATEX Directive does not only provide evidence for a perfect job before the Court, but it also follows the moral claim of the manufacturers to produce high-quality products which do not pose any ignition hazards.

Pride goes before a bang – A change of attitude of the manufacturers means more safety

Many valve manufacturers, but by far not all of them, become more and more aware of the topicality of the difference between the Certificate of Compliance and the EU Declaration of Conformity. The sector re-thinks this issue and consequently provides for a sustained improvement of product quality.

Neglecting the risks by selecting allegedly cheaper products is an attitude that cannot be supported any longer with today’s standards. With the Directive being in force, the EU have made a clear commitment to safety. Nowadays, the EU Declaration of Conformity can no longer be avoided and will convert even the last defender of the Certificate of Compliance.

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