ATEX Directive 94/9/EC

ATEX is the term used when referring to the European Unions (EU) Directive 94/9/EC. "ATEX" is derived from the French "Atmospheres Explosibles".

The ATEX Directive main objectives are to guarantee the free circulation of goods within the European Union by aligning the technical and legal requirements of the Member States.

The Directive is named "Approximation of the laws of the Member States concerning equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres". The Directive covers electrical and non-electrical equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres in mining and surface industries.

The Directive covers:

  • equipment and products that have potential ignition sources protective systems
  • products that control the effects of incipient explosions safety devices
  • products that may be outside a potentially explosive atmosphere but that have an explosion safety function components
  • products that are intended to form parts of equipment or protective systems
To ensure compliance with the Directive, equipment must meet with the essential requirements specified in the Directive and be marked with the CE marking .

The process of ensuring that equipment complies with the Directive, conformity assessment procedure(s) must be complied with. These procedures may involve a Notified Body. A Notified body is a body that is independent of the product manufacturer and assesses conformity of the products and the manufacturer with the Directive. The Notified Body has to be approved and appointed by its government.

Conformity assessment procedures include:
  • EC Type examination - including testing and inspection of a product design, where appropriate Production Quality Assurance
  • including the assessment, periodic auditing, testing and inspection of production samples, where appropriate, and of the manufacturers quality system Product Verification
  • the inspection and/or testing of each production item for conformity with the type that was subjected to EC Type Examination Internal Control of Production
  • the verification by the manufacturer that the product design and each production item conform to either harmonized European Standards or the essential requirements or a combination of the two
The ATEX Directive came into force on a voluntary basis on 1st March 1996 and will become mandatory from the 1st July 2003 and all products within its scope will have to comply before being placed on the market or put into service.

The Directive classifies equipment into eight categories depending on the equipment's area of use:
Category M1 - equipment intended for mining use and is required to remain functional in the presence of an explosive atmosphere
Category M2 - equipment intended for mining use but is intended to be de-energised in the event of an explosive atmosphere
Category 1G - non-mining equipment for use in Zone 0
Category 2G - non-mining equipment for use in Zone 1
Category 3G - non-mining equipment for use in Zone 2
Category 1D - non-mining equipment for use in Zone 20
Category 2D - non-mining equipment for use in Zone 21
Category 2D - non-mining equipment for use in Zone 22