The ATEX Directive 2014/34/EU applies to equipment used in mines and potentially explosive atmospheres. It is very common for the sales staff at F2 Labs to receive a request for technical assistance to comply with ATEX but it is not that simple.
ATEX 2014/34/EU is a Directive that has many compliance paths which are dependent upon a few factors which must be defined prior to an evaluation or even a proposal.
Per Annex I of 2014/34/EU, equipment is first separated between Equipment-group I (mining applications) and Equipment-group II (non-mining but used in areas where mixtures of gas, vapor, mist, or dust can cause explosion). After the equipment group is defined, the subject equipment must be evaluated according to the category designated below:
- Equipment-group I, category M1
- Equipment-group I, category M2
- Equipment-group II, category 1
- Equipment-group II, category 2
- Equipment-group II, category 3
The complicating factor is that in order to determine the category (and therefore the compliance path) the end-user must indicate to the manufacturer the ATEX zone in which the equipment will operate, for it is the ATEX zone which directs the manufacturer to the category of risk that must be complied with.
The ATEX zones are defined in a different ATEX Directive: ATEX 99/92/EC. See Annex I of 99/92/EC below.
The correlation for the categories for Equipment-group II are as follows:
- Zone 0 (gas)/ 20 (dust) – Category 1 – highest risk, requires Notified Body involvement
- Zone 1 / 2 – Category 2 – Notified body involvement required if the equipment contains energized parts
- Zone 2/ 22 – Category 3 – does not require Notified Body involvement
All three categories of equipment require a CE marking and third party test lab involvement, usually to test and evaluate against a set of IEC/EN 60079 standards.