RS explains how IECEx helps machine builders make for the worldwide market
Many industries with high potential for explosion risks from petro-chemical to mining and food to metal processing are found around the world. Whilst control equipment for these industries can be made locally, Europe and the UK are well known for their design and engineering excellence.
The management of explosion risks was made consistent in 2003 by two ATEX regulations, of which ATEX 94/9/EC (equipment) had the aim of removing trade barriers within Europe. An internationally acceptable solution was then required to allow equipment designs to be used in any part of the world without significant modification. The approach would use recognised practice to achieve a common acceptable level of safety, with the goal of facilitating free trade of hazardous area use products across all major world markets.
IECEx helps with new approvals process
IECEx is a certification scheme championed by the IEC, and it is fast becoming the preferred route for international safe certification of products for use within all hazardous areas. The IEC test report provides detail not included within an ATEX certificate and can be locally ratified to overcome any destination market legislative difficulties that may arise.
In contrast to ATEX, IECEx was designed from the outset as an ISO/IEC Type 5 Certification Scheme, employing a single third party (The IECEx Certification Body) to combine all aspects of design evaluation and production control before issuing a certificate. This certificate is a publicly available document which has been issued by a recognised certification body. In support of this, the online IECEx database allows the equipment purchaser to check the current status of the certificate - current, suspended or withdrawn - in real-time.
Acceptable across the world
Therefore, unlike ATEX, IECEx is completely transparent giving purchasers and users access to detail that would not be easy to obtain under the ATEX compliance system. The universal goal for IECEx is to be "one certificate acceptable everywhere" supported by absolute and traceable compliance to the nominated standards.
ATEX compliments IECEx
This is not to say that ATEX is dead. Its mandatory legal status within Europe will ensure that it continues to be very important, however IECEx certification compliments ATEX and choosing equipment that has compliance to both standards has advantages if the final destination is outside the EU. Within the UK & Europe Baseefa the world renowned certification body, continue to lead the way in product verification, assessment and certification, and have global acceptance within the IECEx scheme.
Dual marking on products
While total global harmonisation is still some way off, more and more countries are adopting this international certification scheme. Many manufacturers have acknowledged this shift and have begun adding IECEx compliance to their list of approvals. You will see an increasing number of products - existing & new - displaying the blue IECEx logo alongside the familiar ATEX Ex logo.
To find out more about the ATEX legislation visit rswww.com/automation. And with over 1,000 ATEX approved products in a new mini-catalogue, with everything from lighting to control, test & measurement to sensors, all available to buy today and have delivered tomorrow, RS is making the engineers life easier to find the right product for the job.
To find out more about ATEX, request a FREE mini-catalogue of over 1,000 ATEX products or see the full range visit rswww.com/automation
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