The name comes from the words ATmosphères and EXplosibles and specifically the ATEX acronym refers to two specific directives of the European Union:
- 2014/34/EU that regulates equipment intended for use in explosion risk zones. This directive is especially addressed to the manufacturers of equipment intended for use in potentially explosive work areas, and this is why there is the obligation for certification.
- 99/92/EC concerns the safety and health of workers operating in areas with potentially explosive atmospheres. It therefore applies in every environment with an explosion risk, where certified plants and equipment are commissioned.
In addition to the combustibles, in order for an explosion to occur, there must be the cowxistence of two other elements: combustive agent (often oxygen) and the source of ignition. This is what is referred to as the explosion triangle.
- Combustible: dust or gas
- Combustible agent: normally oxygen
- Source of Ignition: any event providing a source of energy capable of igniting an explosion
If one or the three elements of the aforementioned triangle is missing, there will not be an explosion. Depureco industrial vacuums, ATEX certified, are designed and built to avoid any source of ignition from being generated by the vacuum. This applies to the area classified as an explosion risk where the Depureco vacuum operates and also for the area concerning the inside of the vacuum.
In fact, all Depureco atex-certified vacuums are built so that an ATEX Z20 classified zone can be created inside the vacuum.
Among some examples of potentially explosive materials, which may generate risk areas, we find: grain dust, starchy products, starches, sugars, feeds, metals, coal, plastic, textiles, chemical products, semi-finished pharmaceuticals, mists, hydrocarbon gases, mining gases and much more. There are fuel (gas or dust) concentration values in the atmosphere which are decisive in promoting the ignition of the explosion. With dust in particular, particle size is a factor as it may favour greater dispersion in the air. The danger of an atex atmosphere is increased by temperature, air velocity and therefore of the particles, humidity and atmospheric pressure. Depending on the probability of the explosion hazard, it will be necessary to use equipment with different levels of certification and safety. The greater the possibility of an explosive atmosphere occurring, the greater the level of safety measures taken.
Here a table that summarizes the various areas identified by the legislator:
|Substance which generates the explosive atmosphere||GAS||DUST||GAS||DUST||GAS||DUST|
|Presence of an explosive atmosphere||CONTINUOUS||CONTINUOUS||PROBABLE||PROBABLE||PROBABLE||PROBABLE|