Our wide range of award nominated ATEX explosion proof fans are suitable for zone 1 and zone 2 gas, or zone 21 and 22 dust ATEX atmospheres where there is a potential for explosive atmospheres in line with relevant ATEX regulations 2014/34/EU. For more information about ATEX gas and dust zones view our technical page here. Talk to our experienced team to discuss ATEX fans for explosive atmospheres that are suitable for your application. We always advise that you have been made aware of the correct ATEX zone by a certified ATEX consultant before contacting us, this ensures we can provide the safest industrial ATEX fan to suit the explosive atmosphere that you’re operating in. Choosing an ATEX explosion proof fan is a specialised area and a decision should not be taken lightly, we can only advise on a suitable fan based upon the information that you provide.
Useful ATEX Information
Useful ATEX Information
ATEX is an acronym derived from the words “Atmospheres Explosibles” that is soon to be superseded by the term UKCA EX or UKEX in the UK, and forms part of a European equipment directive known as ATEX 2014/34/EU. ATEX 2014/34/EU was adopted within the UK
The directive covers manufacturing standards and ensures that people are protected against the risk that may be caused by dangerous substances. The directive covers equipment, protective systems, safety devices, controlling devices, regulating devices and components including industrial fans for installation within a system or as a standalone component in a hazardous environment. An air movement or any other application in other markets, will require an explosion proof ATEX fan if there are flammable, combustible gases or dusts present at any time in the air stream. This applies to industrial air movement applications including, but not limited to, machine cooling, process equipment, food processing and manufacturing and electrical cooling. As an example, potentially hazardous particles such as those found in sugar or flour in food processing applications should have an explosion proof fan, also known as a spark proof fan installed within process systems to eradicate the risks as the materials are passed through. Material handling fans can be supplied as explosion proof or standard variants.
The updated Directive places responsibility on manufacturers of flameproof equipment to supply products that comply with specified directive classifications, as determined by the end-user. This now means that spark proof fans have to be designed to avoid the risk of electrical, electrostatic, thermal, and mechanical ignition hazards that may occur in specified flameproof Zones, Classifications and Gas Groups. Industrial ATEX fans are safeguarded against explosion through the use of spark proof aluminium or copper inlet rings, EEX motors and special coatings, please refer to fan specification and data sheet to check a product is suitable before purchase. You should also be aware of the British Standard EN 14986:2018 which sets out the constructional design requirements for fans for use in explosive environments.
The Axair team have undertaken extensive training in ATEX regulations but have a duty of care to ensure they supply a suitable fan based upon a customer’s correct ATEX coding specifications. ATEX has to be understood as an ever-evolving subject requiring competence and training that is now provided by UK notified bodies and consultancies. We advise that if anyone requires additional training in ATEX that they contact an independent body for assistance. Axair can supply fans suitable for ATEX UKEX applications within zone 1 & 2 manufactured from either metal or corrosion resistant polypropylene depending on the specification. In addition to their coding, ATEX explosion proof fans must be selected with reasonably good knowledge of their flow/pressure operating point, the temperature and fume content of the air to be transported (especially whether hydrogen or acetylene fumes are present), whether they are being installed outdoors or indoors, the voltage of the anti-condensation heaters if specified, and which handing is required in the case of centrifugal fans.
Axair Fans supply and sub manufacture Polypropylene Fans to Equipment Category 3 (Zone 2) requirements by self-certification, and supply spark proof metal fans in both centrifugal and axial construction to Equipment Category 2 (Zone 1) that adhere to the new EU directive. For information on our corrosion resistant range of explosion proof fans see our applications page.
When the United Kingdom (UK) left the European Union (EU), the UK legislation began to evolve and move away from the EU law. In preparation for Brexit, the UK Government issues a very large amending Statutory Instrument, applying a whole set of legislation: UKSI 2019:696. This included several pages converting the existing ATEX SI to be fit for purpose after Brexit. There have been several other amending SIs since then, so the correct reference for the UK law, as now applicable, is UKSI 2016:1107 (as amended). Because the full statutory instrument title is quite extensively named, the UK based certification bodies agreed to use the term “UKEX” as the closest reference to the European term “ATEX”. Therefore, UKEX replaces ATEX as part of the certificate number, as well as being a generic reference in the UK as a substitute for ATEX. Please note that as of 1st August 2023, the UK Government has announced that the use of both CE and ATEX will be extended indefinitely, making all UKEX compulsory requirements, now optional.
As of 1 January, 2021, a new conformity assessment marking scheme – called UK Conformity Assessed (UKCA) marking – was launched in Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland) in place of CE marking. As mentioned earlier, the Official title of the UKCA EX (or UKEX) regulations is called Equipment & Protective Systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres regulations 2016. For up to date information on UKCA visit our technical page here. Here we’ll keep you up to date on changes to transition dates and deadlines for labelling and marking.
Initially the technical requirements will be identical to those of the ATEX Directive 2014/34/EU and is likely to for the foreseeable future but obviously this is subject to change, and we’ll update as soon as we have further details or when is legally required to. The regulations apply to any product that is intended for use in a potentially explosive atmosphere and is placed on the GB market or brought into service. As with ATEX, any environment where there is a risk of a hazardous atmosphere, then a UKEX product will only be suitable for use in that application. All Axair ATEX product suitable for explosive atmospheres will be certified to UKEX standards if it is to be placed on the UK market, in line with the legislation. Certifications will be provided to ordering customers.
It is worth noting that UKCA only applies in England, Wales & Scotland. Not NI.
All the UK bodies that were previously EU Notified Bodies became UK Approved Bodies.
Where the legislation requires the issue of a Notified Body EU-Type Examination Certificate for ATEX, the same requirements apply requiring the issue of an Approved Body UK-Type Examination Certificate for UKEX. For both schemes, the bodies can continue to offer voluntary Type Examination Certificates in their role as an accredited Certification Body, rather than as a Notified Body or an Approved Body. Such certificates, suppled to satisfy the demands of the final purchasers of equipment, have no legal status and normally only apply to non-electrical Category 2 equipment or any Category 3 equipment.
Everyone is familiar with the stylised Ex within a hexagon. This symbol is given in the standards that support both ATEX and UKEX, so does not change. The single coding on a label (familiar from ATEX) applies equally to ATEX and UKEX equipment.
All the standards that were on the EU Commission list of Harmonised Standards for ATEX were transposed and became Designated Standards for the UK legislation. Use of such a standard gives a presumption of conformity with the Directive/Statutory Instrument for those requirements covered by the standards. The Designated Standards list continues to refer to standards by their EN number, rather than their BS number. The coverage of each standard, in respect of the directive/SI requirements, is given in a specific European Annex to the standard.
CE and UKCA marking
The required EU CE Marking is supported by ATEX documentation; UKCA marking is supported by UKEX documentation. The UKEX Certificate number and UKCA marking can be applied either additionally to the ATEX marking, or as an alternative. Most manufacturers seem to have elected to show both sets of marking at the same time. The relevant number of the Notified Body and Approved Body, responsible for supervision of manufacture, must be marked adjacent to the CE and UKCA marking. For components, where the CE and UKCA marking are not applied, both numbers should still be shown, if relevant.
It is strictly the responsibility of the end user to perform a DESEAR risk assessment to ensure that flameproof zones are properly defined in terms recognised by ATEX legislation It is recommended in ATEX 2014/4/EU and the prior legislation, 99/92/EC, that an Explosion Protection Document be produced, which will help to define the ATEX code for any equipment to be installed in the flameproof zone. In the UK other relevant reports may also have been filed under Health & Safety or COSHH regulations which may assist in the process.
All equipment that is certified for use in a flameproof zone is labelled with a code that defines its limitations to use as a complete UKEX, ATEX or EX rated fan product. The code effectively states the type of environment – above or below ground; the duration of the risk – frequent or accidental; the nature of the explosive atmosphere – gas or dust; the gas group – defined by ignitability; the temperature class – defined by spontaneous ignitability.
Flameproof equipment should not be ordered to be manufactured without providing a complete ATEX product code. It would be both unlawful to supply product to the wrong ATEX specification and to install it.
The type of flameproof fan motor depends on the duration of the risk of explosion – generally identified by an Equipment Category number. Non-incendive motors are designed to avoid internal contact sparking; increases safety motors are a non incendive type with thermistors to limit the shell temperature; Explosion proof motors will contain an internal explosion and prevent the flame from escaping.
Electric motors are susceptible to over-heating when running on over-load, when their supply or self-cooling air is reduced, when ambient temperature is too high or when any part of the motor surface is thermally insulated by its installed situation. Any one of these conditions could lead to an explosion.
All speed controllable ATEX motors receive less cooling air on speed reduction and must therefore be supplied with thermistor over-temperature sensors to protect against shell temperature in excess of the motor temperature class.
Equipment excluded from the directive include:
Learn more about the official ATEX Directive.
Fore more information or news stories featuring our explosion proof fans in situe and for educational articles visit our news Section.
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