December 2011 Electrical Apparatus

December 2011 Electrical Apparatus

This is a summary of the Electrical Apparatus December 2011 featured technical article,  by Richard L. Nailen, P.E.  

The IECEx Scheme, established in the 1990’s, is a global program intended to simplify international trade in electrical equipment for safe use in explosive atmospheres (gas, vapor, or flammable dust). Whereas earlier ATEX Directive requirements apply only to members of the European Union, IECEx crosses international boundaries. (Thirty nations now participate, from Canada to Singapore, Russia to Brazil.) Its goal is a single compliance certification and compliance marking in place of lengthy, costly country-by-country acceptance.

ATEX compliance is legally enforceable in Europe, where accepted products are identified by both an “Ex” logo and the CE mark. In contrast, IECEx is based on voluntary participation and IEC standards.

The IECEx Scheme also goes further than ATEX in two ways. First, it also includes, since 2009, certification of “personnel competency.” Safe installation of equipment in explosive atmospheres depends not only upon design and manufacture of the equipment itself, but upon its proper design, installation, and maintenance.

The aim of IECEx is to have at least one person involved in any hazardous area installation certified as competent to perform or oversee these functions. One of the more important activities involved in such competency is area classification–the determination of the nature, severity, and boundary limits of a potentially explosive environment.

The IECEx Scheme also includes competency certification of service and repair facilities, based on the requirements of IEC standard 60079-19. Almost 40 repair centers in several countries have now been certified. In both product manufacturing and servicing, provider certification requires a quality management system based on ISO 9001 and periodic re-assessment to ensure that compliance with IECEx requirements does not lapse

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