Background to the ATEX Directive
In order to guarantee safety, various authorities around the world issue directives, standards and statutes on explosion protection. Directive 94/9/EC was passed by the EU in 1994 as the basis for standardized, pan-European regulation. The new and currently applicable Directive 2014/34/EU was adopted in 2014 and has been in force since April 2016. These directives are collectively known as ATEX (French: ATmosphères EXplosibles).
They define various hazardous areas for potentially explosive gases, vapors and dusts. In order to avoid these dangers, certain measures must be implemented in a prescribed order. Primary explosion protection prevents the creation of an explosive atmosphere. Secondary explosion protection restricts the impact of any explosion to a safe level.
For this purpose, various characteristics such as the flash point of the gases, vapors or dusts and their explosion limits are included in the equation.
Industrial controls in hazardous areas
Industries in which hazardous areas occur therefore require switching equipment that is capable of switching, protecting and controlling in potentially explosive atmospheres. The devices themselves may be located either inside or outside the hazardous area.
An ATEX certification is necessary for the use of such devices. In its SIRIUS portfolio, Siemens offers a host of devices that are certified in accordance with the current ATEX Directive.