The ATEX Directive 94/9/EC controls all manufacture and import of equipment for use in explosive atmospheres, including non-electrical items. ATEX requires that the equipment be safe, and bear a label indicating the conditions under which it is approved for use. All ATEX equipment must bear the CE marking. Import, sale or workplace use of equipment without ATEX approval is illegal.
ATEX covers equipment that satisfies three criteria:
1. It must be purposely-designed for use within an explosive atmosphere at normal temperatures and pressures.
2. The atmosphere may contain gas, vapor, mist or dust as a fuel, but must be based on air as the oxidizer.
3. The equipment must have an ignition source in and of itself, such as a spark, hot surface, etc.
Conversely, the IECEx scheme is controlled by the International Electrotechnical Commission, and covers electrical equipment for use in explosive atmospheres. IECEx uses different codes and approvals systems, but also requires detailed information on the product label. IECEx does not currently apply to non-electrical equipment.
Many modern devices will carry both ATEX and IECEx approval, and so the label will display codes and information from both schemes. Some of that information is common, some is not. A typical ATEX and IECEx label is shown below
The below table is a useful resource in breaking down a device’s ATEX marking into individual components that refer to the type of equipment, protection, etc. for that specific device.
Source: ATEX Simplified (atexglobal.com)