All Gas Catalytic IR heater panels manufactured by Vulcan Catalytic® can be engineered to meet the requirements of ATEX II 2G and have ATEX Approval. This means that they are safe to use in certain above ground hazardous working environments. If you have a thermal process that operates in an atmosphere that is potentially explosive, in the ATEX II 2G Category as defined by the directive, then we can help.
The ATEX directive consists of two EU directives describing what equipment and work space is allowed in an environment with an explosive atmosphere. ATEX derives its name from the French title of the 94/9/EC directive: Appareils destinés à être utilisés en ATmosphères EXplosibles.
What is an explosive atmosphere?
An explosive atmosphere is defined as a mixture of dangerous substances with air, under atmospheric conditions, in the form of gases, vapours, mist or dust in which, after ignition has occurred, combustion spreads to the entire unburned mixture. Atmospheric conditions are commonly referred to as ambient temperatures and pressures. That is to say temperatures of –20°C to 40°C and pressures of 0.8 to 1.1 bar.
Where can explosive atmospheres be found?
Many workplaces may contain, or have activities that produce, explosive or potentially explosive atmospheres. Examples include places where work activities create or release flammable gases or vapours, such as vehicle paint spraying, or in workplaces handling fine organic dusts such as grain flour or wood.
Selection of equipment and protective systems
Areas classified into zones must be protected from sources of ignition. Equipment and protective systems intended to be used in zoned areas should be selected to meet the requirements of the Equipment and Protective Systems Intended for Use in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 1996. Equipment already in use before July 2003 can continue to be used indefinitely provided a risk assessment shows it is safe to do so.
Identifying areas where explosive atmospheres may occur
Where necessary, the entry points to areas classified into zones must be marked with a specified 'EX' sign.
Providing anti-static clothing
Employers must provide workers who work in zoned areas with appropriate clothing that does not create the risk of an electrostatic discharge igniting the explosive atmosphere, eg anti-static footwear. The clothing provided depends on the level of risk identified in the risk assessment.
Confirming (verifying) overall explosion safety
Before a workplace containing zoned areas comes into operation for the first time, the employer must ensure that the overall explosion safety measures are confirmed (verified) as being safe. This must be done by a person or organisation competent to consider the particular risks in the workplace, and the adequacy of the explosion control and other measures put in place.
Equipment and protective systems intended for use in explosive atmospheres
The aim of Directive 94/9/EC is to allow the free trade of 'ATEX' equipment and protective systems within the EU by removing the need for separate testing and documentation for each Member State. In Great Britain, the requirements of the Directive were put into effect through BIS Equipment and Protective Systems Intended for Use in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 1996 (SI 1996/192).
The Regulations apply to all equipment intended for use in explosive atmospheres, whether electrical or mechanical, and also to protective systems. Manufacturers/suppliers (or importers, if the manufacturers are outside the EU) must ensure that their products meet essential health and safety requirements and undergo appropriate conformity procedures. This usually involves testing and certification by a 'third-party' certification body (known as a Notified Body) but manufacturers/suppliers can 'self-certify' equipment intended to be used in less hazardous explosive atmospheres. Once certified, the equipment is marked by the 'EX' symbol to identify it as such. Certification ensures that the equipment or protective system is fit for its intended purpose and that adequate information is supplied with it to ensure that it can be used safely.