This paper will discuss the IECEx Hazardous Area certification which now covers non-electrical (mechanical) equipment.

Certification of equipment for use in potentially explosive atmospheres has been around for many years. There is a well-established supply chain for electrical equipment and knowledge through our industry is generally good. Currently, two certification schemes covering both electrical and non-electrical equipment exist, but awareness of non-electrical (mechanical) equipment requirements within the industry is poor and re-education is a slow process.

Since the ATEX Directive was introduced in 2003, both electrical and mechanical equipment was accounted for; before 2003 only electrical equipment had any formal certification for hazardous areas – a big change.

ATEX compliant equipment is mandatory for use in hazardous areas throughout the EU. In the European Union compliance is a legal requirement; this is not so for the rest of the world. The ATEX Directive allows manufacturers to “self-certify” mechanical equipment for use in Zone 1 and Zone 2 hazardous areas, introducing doubt as to the manufacturer’s ability to produce compliant goods. However, electrical equipment requires independent certification for use in a Zone 1 area and more often than not, electrical equipment manufacturers also provide independent certification for Zone 2 products.

IECEx is a worldwide certification system for both electrical and non-electrical equipment and requires full compliance to IEC International standards. “Self-certification” is strictly not allowed. Manufacturers of both electrical and non-electrical equipment must have been awarded an IECEx Certificate of Conformity, prior to manufacturing the goods, by an approved IECEx Notified Body.

In 2020, issues are now coming to light with mechanical equipment manufacturers misunderstanding the requirements of the IECEx non-electrical requirements. Ignorance within the industry is allowing mechanical equipment to be put on to the market on the back of an IECEx electrical Certificate of Conformity only. Non-electrical equipment must carry an IECEx Certificate of Conformity that specifically references EN ISO 80079-36 and EN ISO 80079-37. For example, manufacturers of pumps, fans and gearboxes can no longer offer IECEx compliant goods by “bolting on” an IECEx compliant motor to an ATEX certified product.

Scott Harding, Sales Director, Woodcock & Wilson

Scott Harding is Sales Director & joint owner of Woodcock & Wilson and is a member of the Nuclear Institute, National Nuclear Ventilation forum, SHAPA, and the Fan Manufacturers Association. He has over 28 years' experience in the industrial fan industry covering fan design, manufacture & process safety. He is a driving force behind mechanical safety within the process industry, providing knowledge sharing with lectures & presentations on the ATEX fan standard EN14986 and the introduction of the IECEx non-electrical standard in 2016.

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