What does it mean when a system is ATEX certified?
An ATEX certified plant is above all a CE certified plant.
Often there is confusion on this matter so it's important to be clear on the matter:
the plant must be ATEX certified (which means it must be compliant with the 2014/34/EU directive), if it treats potentially explosive gases or powders.
In simple terms, ATEX means that you have « ...implemented measures to abide by regulations, to prevent plant machinery from becoming ignition sources and, whenever there is a residual risk of explosion, I add control and safety systems to the plant, sometimes and if necessary they may be redundant, for venting or suppressing explosions, in order to cover any residual risks... »
Therefore ATEX regulations are part of a regulatory package you need to comply with in order to obtain plant CE status: you add it to the usual notes, along with electromagnetic compatibility, the low voltage directive, PED, to name but a few.
Here below are a few images of products (ventilator, bag filter, rotary valve rotor) which have undergone FEM analysis (finished elements) to define any elastic or plastic deformation following excessive internal pressure caused by a potential explosion.
What is the correct approach to satisfying regulatory requirements? Here are the fundamental steps:
Does my plant treat potentially explosive powders or gases? If yes, how explosive are they?
Answer: go online and consult the "BIA report", a list drawn up by a German government institute (IFA) containing information on common, potentially explosive industrial substances and powders. The report also specifies explosiveness levels.
Which areas of my plant are potentially explosive?
Answer: there's no guesswork involved! The legislator has already prepared the answer for you: read the CEI 31-56 guide: "Classification of areas where there are or there may be explosive powders present". The report is not available for free, however it is well worth purchasing because it is simple and provides very clear examples. Don't be alarmed, it's not an incomprehensible regulation, it's a guide!
Request your plant installer to provide you with ATEX marking for all machinery, according to specifications contained in the CEI 31-56 guide.
How do I manage residual risk?
Answer: this is a crucial and the most irksome point! In addition to ATEX certification for all plant machinery, we advise that you request your trusted plant installer to point you to an engineering company with proven experience in ATEX aspiration systems!
What do I need to do after installing a plant for the treatment of potentially explosive atmospheres (air-dust)?
Answer: submit all technical documentation and certificates to your company's safety manager and request that the company safety plan is updated, taking into account any new potential risks deriving from the new plant, along with the implementation of all necessary initiatives to ensure awareness among all operators and maintenance workers.
AVOID RISKS WHICH MAY RESULT IN DISASTROUS CONSEQUENCES: IT'S IN EVERYONE'S BEST INTEREST!
•Carry out a company risk assessment
•Plan maintenance work as specified for machinery
•Isolate areas potentially at risk with suitable signage warning of hazard
•Protect company capital and working human capital.
Please do not hesitate to contact O.M.A.R. srl for any further information, we will be happy to help you.
Document drafted by the R&D department - all rights reserved - copyright 2017