Why external ATEX certification of a sprayer is important
With regard to explosive areas, the ATEX directive (ATmosphères EXplosibles) includes two major European Union directives. EU Directive 2014/34 regulates the features of equipment to be used in hazardous areas; CE Directive 99/92 regulates workers’ safety and health in hazardous areas. For this article, we focus on the first.
According to EU Directive 2014/34, products are classified in three categories:
· Category 1: the product is safe, even with two independent faults;
· Category 2: the product is safe, even with one fault;
· Category 3: the product is safe when normally functioning.
If a manufacturer creates a product belonging to category 3 (the equipment is safe when working normally) it will be suitable for use exclusively in areas where the presence of explosive atmosphere can occur only in fault conditions. Equipment for categories 1 and 2, that are installed in potentially explosive areas, must be monitored not only by the manufacturer, but also by an independent Notified Body that can evaluate compliance with the ATEX Directive and certify the product.
Selecting a product with the correct ATEX certification therefore has significant implications. For example, many workplaces may not be considered traditional hazardous locations but may still contain, or have activities that produce, explosive or potentially explosive atmospheres. Examples include workshops that create or release flammable gases or vapors, such as vehicle paintshops.
In such a case, choosing an ATEX-approved sprayer is the safe and sensible option. The Graco KING electric airless sprayer is the world’s first electric sprayer for protective coatings that is approved for hazardous locations. ATEX, IECEx, and Class 1, Div. 1 approvals mean that KING can be used in chemical plants, paint shops, refineries and off-shore, or in any location where generating a spark is of concern.
KING has been fully tested and certified by a third-party certification body (Notified Body). This is in contrast to other manufacturers who supply “self-certified” equipment intended to be used in less hazardous explosive atmospheres. Once certified by a Notified Body, the equipment is marked by the EX symbol to identify it as such. Certification of KING sprayers thus ensures that the equipment is fit for use in hazardous environments.
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