The ATEX directive consists of two EU directives describing what equipment and work space is allowed in an environment with an explosive atmosphere. ATEX derives its name from the French title of the 94/9/EC directive: Appareils destinés à être utilisés en Atmosphères Explosives
“…potentially explosive atmosphere…”
The regulations apply to all equipment intended for use in explosive atmospheres, whether electrical or mechanical, including protective systems. There are two categories of equipment ‘I’ for mining and ‘II’ for surface industries. Manufacturers who apply its provisions and affix the CE marking and the Ex marking are able to sell their equipment anywhere within the European Union without any further requirements with respect to the risks covered being applied. The directive covers a large range of equipment, potentially including equipment used on fixed offshore platforms, in petrochemical plants, mines, flour mills and other areas where a potentially explosive atmosphere may be present
In very broad terms, there are three preconditions for the directive to apply: the equipment
a) must have its own effective source of ignition;
b) be intended for use in a potentially explosive atmosphere (air mixtures); and
c) be under normal atmospheric conditions.
The directive also covers components essential for the safe use and safety devices directly contributing to the safe use of the equipment in scope. These latter devices may be outside the potentially explosive environment