Greenwood Magnetics ATEX

The Atex Directive

ATEX Directive 2014/34/EU is a Directive adopted by the European Union (EU), to facilitate free trade in the EU by aligning the technical and legal requirements in the Member States for products intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres. It was formerly Directive 1994/9/EC which was introduced into the UK in 1996 by the publication of the “Equipment and Protective Systems intended for Use in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres” Regulations 1996 (EPS).

The ATEX Directive provides for harmonised requirements and procedures to establish compliance for products placed on the EU market for the first time. It covers equipment and protective systems which may be used in areas where there is the possible presence of flammable gases, vapours, mists or dusts.

Greenwood Magnetics have had their permanent magnets assessed by independent third parties who confirm that they comply with ATEX Directive 2014/34/EU as simple products. These products may be installed in ATEX hazardous dust or gas areas (e.g. Zone 20 or Zone 0) and will not represent a potential ignition source.

We can provide a European Declaration of Incorporation stating that our products comply with ATEX Directive 2014/34/EU and can be safely used in the intended environment.

Areas with a risk of explosion can be classified into various zones, depending on the frequency of potentially explosive conditions. The zones 1, 2 & 3 correspond to the protection levels required: very high, high, and normal.

Explosion hazardous environment Protection level of equipment Dust (D)
Frequent to continuous Very high; safe in exceptional conditions Zone 20 Category 1D
Now and then High; safe for reasonably expected failures Zone 21 Category 2D(1D)
Improbable, infrequent short duration Normal; safe for normal operation Zone 22 Category 3D (1D, 2D)

Dust explosion hazards

A dust cloud of any combustible material will explode where:

  • the concentration of dust in air falls within the explosion limits, and
  • a source of ignition of the required energy is present.

Substances capable of explosion

If a solid substance is finely ground it may ignite more readily or at a lower energy. If any combustible substance is mixed or suspended in air at the correct concentrations and contained in a vessel or building when ignition occurs, then a violent explosion can result. If it is uncontained then a fireball may occur.

In the food industry for example, explosive dusts include materials such as: flour, custard powder, instant coffee, sugar, dried milk, potato powder and soup powder.

Precautions against dust explosion hazards

There are several general precautions that can be taken to reduce the risk of a dust explosion:

  • prevention of static electricity and mechanical sparks
  • temperature sensors on machines;
  • reduce the levels of dust in the operating environment.
  • introduce measures to prevent the formation of dust clouds
  • reduce the risk of spontaneous ignition.
  • installation of appropriately designed explosion relief systems
  • use of Atex approved safety switches on equipment
  • installation of magnets to prevent mechanic sparks

If you require any further advice, please contact us to discuss your requirements.