ATEX is a term that applies to atmospheres that are potentially explosive due to the possible presence of dust, vapours or gases that are likely to ignite or explode. ATEX Legislation covers the standards for equipment and protective systems intended to operate in potentially explosive environments.
Since July 2003 all new equipment & plants must comply with the relevant ATEX regulations, any installation previous to this need to be analysed and risk assessed to identify potential dangers. It is the owner of the machine or process that is responsible for the correct explosion assessment and protection.
These regulations apply to most workplace where flammable substances are stored or used, for example factories where flammable liquids are stored or where combustible dusts are produced in the production process.
An explosive atmosphere is one where the build-up of combustible materials is mixed with air that has the potential to catch fire or explode. An explosive atmosphere does not always lead to an explosion, but if it catches fire it will travel quickly through it. If this happens in a confined space the speed of the flames or the rise in pressure could cause an explosion.
Many materials are combustible or explosive including materials which are counter intuitively combustible.
An example of combustible gases & vapours
- Petrol & liquid fuels
- Varnish & Paints
An example of combustible dusts
- Milk powders
- Wood dust
- Aluminium dust
If elimination of potential explosive materials isn't feasible in your facitory or production line the following measures are should be taken.
Control measures to reduce the likelihood of an explosion.
- The quantity of combustible material should be reduced.
- Reduce and avoid the release of combustible materials
- Local Exhaust Ventilation to remove combustible material at source.
- Reduce/avoid the production source of ignition – spark detection and extinguishing.
Mitigation measures should be used to reduce the effect of an explosion or fire.
- Use fire proof material to stop the spread of the fire.
- Reduce the exposure of employees to the potential hazard.
- Provide explosion proof equipment (ATEX Rated)
- Provide explosion venting equipment that release to safe areas.
Filtrex has years of experience with providing systems which reduce control and mitigate the risk of an explosion. Call our experienced team of engineers to discuss how to get you facility to the relevant ATEX Standard. We can provide the following services.
- Identification & Zoning of hazardous areas
- Supply & installation of ATEX conforming products
- Supply & Installation of spark detection and extinguishing systems
- Explosion venting equipment.