A definitive guide to CE marking in Europe. Discover what a CE marking is, what products require a CE mark, and why a CE mark is required on the EU market.
Equipment for Explosive Atmospheres (ATEX)
ATEX includes equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres for example, in fixed offshore platforms, petrochemical plants, and mines. ATEX products must comply with the ATEX Directive and bear the CE Marking.
EU Legislation on ATEX Products
Often referred to as the ATEX Directive, Directive 2014/34/EU covers equipment, protective systems, safety devices, controlling devices, regulating devices and components for use in potentially explosive atmosphere. Notably, this Directive does not cover products intended for workers, for which Directive 1999/92/EC applies.
The essential health and safety requirements are specific for:
- Potential ignition sources of equipment
- Autonomous protective systems intended to be used after an explosion, having the main goal to stop the explosion immediately or to limit the effects of explosion flames and pressures
- Safety devices intended to contribute to the safe functioning of such equipment
- Components with no autonomous function essential to the safe functioning of such equipment or autonomous protective systems
Manufacturers are responsible for the conformity assessment procedures, whether they are based in the EU or not. This applies also when the product is subject to a conformity assessment by a third-party body, such as the notified body.
Most importantly for non-EU manufacturers, importers need to ensure that products entering the EU market are compliant with the ATEX Directive, among other things by verifying that the manufacturer has carried out all applicable conformity assessment procedures. The importer also must verify that the manufacturer has drawn up the documentation, which has to be made available to competent authorities in case of inspections.
ATEX products must display the importer name, registered trade name or registered trademark and the postal address to contact the importer when necessary.
Distributors need to verify presence of the EU declaration of conformity or the attestation of conformity accompanying the product, and the instructions and safety information.
The ATEX Directive defines the conformity assessment procedures in Annexes III to IX. A notified body, a third-party conformity assessment body, has to intervene when following these assessment paths:
- Annex III: EU-type examination
- Annex IV: Quality assurance of the production process
- Annex V: Product verification
- Annex VI: Internal production control plus supervised product testing
- Annex VII: Product quality assurance
- Annex IX: Unit verification
Internal production control (Annex VIII) is envisaged only for equipment-group II, equipment category 3. Equipment-group II of category 3 includes equipment intended to be used in areas where an explosive atmosphere is unlikely to occur.
The Declaration of Conformity includes, together with manufacturer’s details, essential characteristics and requirements of the product, also any harmonised standards and identification number of the notified body.
The technical documentation must demonstrate that the product is compliant with the ATEX Directive and the conformity assessment procedure it was subject to. Among other information, the technical documentation must include:
- General product type-description
- Test reports as well as results of design calculations made, examinations carried out
- List of the harmonised standards
- Conceptual design and manufacturing drawings and layouts of components, sub-assemblies, circuits
- Descriptions and explanations necessary for the understanding of said drawings and layouts and the operation of the product