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Dust comes under the ATEX Directive 2014/34/EU

November 4, 2019


ATEX is not just about potentially  explosive gaseous environments, dust is equally dangerous . Therefore we have complemented our existing ATEX approvals for gaseous atmospheres with dust approvals for dust collector products.

The ATEX directive, which came into force on July 1, 2003, has concentrated the minds in all sectors of industry on the dangers of potentially explosive atmospheres. The IECEx International Certification Scheme is a global certification scheme based on standards of the International Electrotechnical Commission and offers a certification of conformity with the IEC series of standards 60079, 61241 and 61779. This certification facilitates the international trade of electrical equipment intended for use in explosive atmospheres and contributes to avoiding the multiplicity of national certifications while guaranteeing an adapted level of safety. The certification is issued by an organisation recognised by IECEx, and all the certificates are available on the IECEx website. ATEX and IECEx are more than welcome for the focus that they provide on industrial dust as a potential source of explosion.  Almost all types of industrial dust can be considered to be potentially explosive, so it comes as no surprise that the procedure for technical evaluation of safety measures used to avoid the risks of dust explosions is both complex and extensive. In order to describe the explosion risk posed by dust, a number of factors need to be described. These include particle size, explosion limits, the maximum explosion pressure, the destructive power of the combustion, moisture content and the minimum ignition energy required. Once the dust has been characterised, an examination then needs to be made of the industrial processes concerned. This takes into account possible ignition sources, explosive volumes, operating temperatures and an assessment of the possibility of a dust explosion under given conditions. Helpfully for engineers involved in safety evaluations of dust-laden atmospheres, ATEX simplifies explosion protection with a three zone concept.

Zone 20 or category 1D, the most critical of the three, is an area in which an explosive atmosphere in the form of a cloud of combustible dust in the air is present continuously, or for long periods, or frequently. Typically, these conditions would be encountered on the inside of containers or pipelines and enclosed conveying equipment.

Zone 21 or category 2D, is a place in which an explosive atmosphere in the form of a cloud of combustible dust in the air is likely to occur in normal operation occasionally for example when discharging and filling equipment.

Zone 22 or category 3D, is a place in which an explosive atmosphere in the form of a cloud of combustible dust in the air is not likely to occur in  normal operation but, if it does occur, will be persist for a short period only. Areas in which dust escapes and forms deposits are included in this category. Whatever the zone, one of the biggest risks when it comes to preventing dust explosions, is posed by enclosures.

The ATEX directive defines the type of protection provided by enclosures, based on limiting the maximum surface temperature of the enclosure and using dust-tight and dust-protected enclosures to prevent dust entry. The legislation covers two degrees of protection: dust-tight, for use of equipment in Zone 20, 21 and even 22 in the case of the presence of conductive dust; and dust-protected, for use of equipment in Zone 22 areas in the presence of non-conductive dust.

The scope of the ATEX directive on enclosures is comprehensive, extending down to electrical actuators used on individual valve types. This is important due to the increasing use of solenoid valves in the dust collector systems that reduce industrial pollution.

In full compliance with the legislation, our corporate values and thanks to our experience gained in over 40 years of activity in the sector, Ecotech GTS offers its customers a complete range of Atex certified products such as safety, control, regulation and components.

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