The drafters of the ATEX Directive 94/9/EC foresaw it in 1994: the technology would progress much faster than the legislative world,...
The drafters of the ATEX Directive 94/9/EC foresaw it in 1994: the technology would progress much faster than the legislative world, anchored in biblical times for the issuance of a new rule. In that time, they considered the possibility that the accredited laboratories have been able to certify, on their own, the products not prescribed by the regulations because of advanced technology. This proposal, after many vicissitudes, had been rendered virtually unenforceable and, today, we are paying the consequences.
According to the estimate of the Technical Committee 31 of the Italian Electrotechnical Committee, the new version of EN 60079-7 standard (Increased Safety) will shift again. We will have to wait until at least the end of the year to see the release of the Committee Draft (CD), which is the version that goes to individual national technical committees for the latest changes before the Final Draft (FD).
The slowdown is mainly due to the request for inclusion of lithium rechargeable batteries that, according to the Technical Committees, require additional tests compared with conventional rechargeable batteries.
What really is slowing down an undelayable development is the inclusion of increased safety LEDs for which we will probably need to wait several years.
Today, the technological innovation is making great strides, despite the global crisis, and, unfortunately, regarding the inclusion of advanced components in equipment used in hazardous areas, sometimes we have to wait so many years for the preparation of the reference standard to make even obsolete the use of the component.
The rules for the issuance and approval of a new standard or updating existing standards should be adapted to the times, whereas only in the European Union, 108 new patents are issued on average each year (Source: Observatory Unioncamere Dintec) and many of them should be effectively applied to the equipment for hazardous areas.