What is an EXPLOSIVE ATMOSPHERE?
The mixture with air in atmospheric conditions of flammable substances in the form of gases, vapors, mists or powders, in which after ignition, the combustion propagates to the entire unburned mixture.
The knowledge of the ATEX Directives (94/9 / CE and 99/92 / CE) and other directives of interest, such as those relating to machines (2006/42 / EC) and work equipment (2009/104 / EC), result essential for those manufacturing companies or users with risk of potentially explosive atmospheres.
In addition to the declaration of agreement, there is a list of essential safety requirements that must be met by any equipment or system that its been designed to be installed in ATEX zones and wants to be commercialized. For these devices and protection systems, both electric and non-electrical, two distinct groups are established:
Group I, for the mining sector and Group II, for the rest of facilities with presence of explosive atmosphere.
And depending on the level of security, two categories are established for group I (M1 and M2) and three for group II (1, 2 and 3).
It is the obligation of the employer to prevent the formation of explosive atmospheres, to prevent their ignition and to mitigate the harmful effects of a possible explosion. The Spanish regulations establish, among others, the need to elaborate and maintain an explosion protection document and the obligation to classify the different sites with the risk of explosion of an installation.
CLASSIFICATION OF RISK AREAS:
FOR CLOUD OF COMBUSTIBLE DUST (CLASS II):
• Zone 20 Frequent presence of ATEX risk
• Zone 21 Occasionally presence of ATEX risk
• Zone 22 Rarely presence of ATEX risk
FOR GAS, STEAM OR FOG (CLASS I):
• Zone 0 Frequent presence of ATEX risk
• Zone 1 Occasionally presence of ATEX risk
• Zone 2 Rarely presence of ATEX risk
EXAMPLES OF INDUSTRIES WITH ATEX RISK:
• Flour mills, bakeries.
• Ice creams.
• Furniture, sawmills.
• Agglomerated board.
• Soybean oil, sunflower, etc.
• ELECTRICITY GENERATION
• WASTE TREATMENT
EXAMPLES OF CONTAINERS AND EQUIPMENT WITH ATEX RISK:
• POWDER CONTAINERS:
• Sleeve filter.
• Fluidized beds.
• GAS AND VAPOR CONTAINERS:
• Pumps of impulsion.
• Bomb of void.
• Transport cisterns.
• Painted booths.
• Spray packers.
REASONS FOR THE REGULATION OF DANGEROUS ZONES:
The growing number of accidents in processing industries around the world highlights the importance of applying complete and unified safety regulations and directives. The safety problems related to the design and use of electrical equipment in hazardous areas have forced the authorities to impose strict standards.
It also announced the safe design of the equipment. The design of the equipment is regulated by regional notified departments. Differences between countries in terms of technical requirements and approvals for explosion-protected equipment involve great demands, especially for global companies. They need considerable transparency in development and testing. Unified global standards and mandatory safety regulations would facilitate the free movement of goods thanks to a unified recognized framework. However, manufacturers of equipment applied in hazardous areas are responsible for designing and producing these equipment in accordance with the appropriate standards.
The equipment must be certified and comply with the regional regulations or those specific to the country to which the products are issued. These companies are faced with different protection measures and operators in each case, so it is important that they understand the relevant standards and work accordingly.
In addition, the purchaser of the equipment is responsible for the safety and protection of its workers and also for the training of its employees in the safe use of equipment installed in hazardous areas.
The ATEX Direction is a COMPULSORY legal Directive; which is based on various forms of conformity assessment. Its purpose is to establish a level of equipment safety and acceptable environment in an explosive atmosphere.
The two directives related to hazardous areas are ATEX 2006/42 / EU (Relating to minimizing the risks involved in the use of specified equipment in potentially explosive atmospheres.) Specifies the essential health and safety requirements (EHSR) related to the design and the manufacture of equipment and protection systems intended for use in these atmospheres) and ATEX 2014/34 / UE (Relating to the minimum requirements to improve the protection of the health and safety of workers at risk due to explosive atmospheres)
It is intended to complement the ATEX Directive 2006/42 / EU and protects the health and safety of employees in hazardous areas. The directive also applies to the installation and use of electrical equipment).
The CE marking is mandatory and must be placed before assigning the equipment for distribution in the market or before putting it into operation. It is intended to facilitate the free movement of equipment within the European Union. It serves as a statement that the product has been manufactured in accordance with all applicable requirements and provisions of Directive 2006/42 / EU.