What is the ATEX Directive?
Within the European Union, equipment used in atmospheres likely to become explosive due to local and operational conditions must comply with the ATEX directive (94/9/EEC or 2014/34/EU after 20 April 2016). This directive is intended to protect people and equipment in applications involving explosive atmospheres which contain a mixture of flammable substances in the form of gases, vapors, mists or dusts.
Where such ATEX atmosphere occurs, workers shall be protected by the national implantation of directive 1999/92/EEC;
ATEX certified equipment prevents ignition mechanisms from being generated. Typical ignition mechanisms include electric/electrostatic discharges, flames, mechanical sparks, chemical reactions, compression etc...
The ATEX directive provides guidelines on how equipment is to be categorized given the expected duration of explosive atmospheres and their associated zones.
|Zone||Equipment Category||Presence of the explosive in the atmosphere|
|0||20||1||Continuously or for long periods >1000 hours/year|
|1||21||2||Occasionally 10-1000 hours/year|
|2||22||3||Rarely or for short periods < 10 hours/year|