Trying to understand the existing ATEX regulations can be a challenging process for many, so the arrival of an update to the legislation may not exactly be met with open arms.
Directive 2014/34/EU was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on March 29th, 2014 and will eventually replace
ATEX 94/9/EC. Relating to the supply of equipment for use in potentially explosive atmospheres, the new directive is part of a
New Legislative Framework (NLF) which also covers a variety of
other products such as electromagnetic and low voltage applications. The good news is that it doesn’t come into effect for another two years and thankfully, not a huge amount has changed.
The new directive is certainly longer than the existing one with an extensive introduction highlighting the Union’s belief that 94/9/EC
was not enough to guarantee the consistently high standards that are expected. Despite this, there is very little change in terms of the Essential Health and Safety Requirements (EHSRs) or the conformity
One of the most notable changes is the need for a distributor or ‘importer’; (any intermediary between the manufacturer and end user) to be identified on both the product plate and the instructions. The responsibilities of distributors are outlined in more detail than in the previous version and there is also reference to ‘Trade Agents’ or those that will be publicly viewed as the OEM despite having no involvement in the manufacturing process.
Manufacturers and suppliers of ATEX products should pay particular attention to the fact that a manufacturer is now defined as the ‘economic operator’ who brings the product to market and crucially, issues the Declaration of Conformity.
The Union have taken a sensible stance on batch sales of ATEX products, removing the need for each product to be issued with its own declaration. Group sales to the same customer will now only require a single declaration which should benefit the customer and supplier alike.
Declarations issued under 94/9/EC may have to be amended in-line with the new directive but compliant products will remain compliant. There will also be a two-year transitional period whereby documentation can be issued in accordance with the existing directive until two years and one day after the publication of 2014/34/EU. The new directive will come into practice in April 2016.
Axair Fans are equipped to manufacture plastic centrifugal fans to Equipment Category 3 (Zone 2) and can supply metal fans, in both centrifugal and axial variations to Equipment Category 2 & 3 (Zones 1 & 2). We can also supply fans with motors certified to IECEX as well as fans with other certification such as NEMA and North American Hazardous Location. It is worth noting that there are also proposed changes to the European Standard for the design of fans working in potentially explosive atmospheres. These changes are currently under review.