Other directives applicable to Atex equipment

In the last newsletter, we talked about the two ATEX directives. In particular, we have treated the ATEX Directive 94/9/EC which must be...

In the last newsletter, we talked about the two ATEX directives. In particular, we have treated the ATEX Directive 94/9/EC which must be applied to equipment used in areas with potentially explosive atmosphere. A topic almost never discussed is the relationship between the ATEX Directive and the other existing product Directives. In principle, if a product falls within the scope of other Directives at the same time, all Directives must be applied in parallel to meet all the requirements. In this newsletter, therefore, we'll give a brief overview on other Directives that may need to be met by a explosion-protected equipment.

In particular, we will discuss the following three European Directives:

  • Electromagnetic compatibility
  • Low voltage
  • Machinery Directive.

Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Directive 2004/108/EC 

The Directive applies to all electronic or electrical products liable to cause or be disturbed by electromagnetic interference (EMI).

In some hazardous areas applications with potentially explosive atmosphere, the "normal" level of electromagnetic compatibility provided by the Directive 2004/108/EC may not be sufficient to ensure the required level of compatibility for the safety performance within scope of Directive 94/9/EC. In this case, the manufacturer shall specify the electromagnetic compatibility achieved by its products in accordance with Annex II of the Directive 94/9/EC 1.2.7. A practical example could be the protection systems in which performances of data acquisition and data transmission may have a direct influence on the safety against explosion.

Low voltage Directive 2006/95/CE (LVD)  

Equipment for use in potentially explosive atmospheres is expressly excluded from the scope of the Low Voltage Directive 2006/95/EC (LVD). All the essential requirements of low voltage must be covered by the Directive 94/9/EC (see Annex II, 1.2.7). Standards published in the Official Journal of the European Union, with regard to Directive 2006/95/EC, may be listed in the EC declaration of conformity to meet the requirements of 1.2.7 of Annex II of the Directive 94/9/EC.

Equipment used outside of areas with potentially explosive atmosphere but necessary or useful for the safe functioning of the equipment and protective systems are not excluded from the scope of the LVD Directive. In this case, both the Directives must be applied.

Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC (MD)  

The relationship between the ATEX Directive 94/9/EC and the Machinery Directive 98/37/EC is different. The ATEX 94/9/EC contains very specific and detailed requirements to avoid hazards from explosive atmospheres, while the Machinery Directive contains only very general requirements against the risk of explosion (Annex I, 1.5.7 Machinery Directive).

Therefore, as regards the protection against explosions, the Atex Directive 94/9/EC prevails on the Machinery Directive and must be applied.

So, if a equipment has the characteristics that make it fall into the Machinery Directive, it must comply with both directives and, with regard to the safety requirements for explosion protection, you must follow the most rigid Directive, which is the ATEX 94/9/EC. In any case, the Atex directive will not be enough, but regarding the other risks, you should follow the dictates of the 2006/42/CE. 

Fecha de publicación: 1/11/2012

Tema: Additional information