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Why does ATEX matter for couplings (and Mechanical Power Transmission products)? Part 1

(Part 1 of 3)

ATEX. We’ve all heard the term. If you’re like me, any time a standard is brought up that you’re not familiar with, it can be intimidating. Then, in order to understand it you’ll spend hours reviewing the standard in order to develop your understanding. In order to save you the time, here’s all you need to know ATEX.

What is ATEX?


ATEX consists of two European Union directives, describing what equipment is allowed to be operated in an environment with an explosive atmosphere, or, “ATmosphères EXplosives”. The first directive, ATEX 137 (99/92/EC) is a workplace directive that relates to end users of our products. The second directive, ATEX 95 (94/9/EC) is an equipment directive that relates to manufacturers.

Why is ATEX important?

ATEX is most important because it provides protection against explosions in hazardous areas. Additionally, instead of having to regulate and sift through standards from every country, it provides a single standard for testing and documentation. It impacts design, manufacturing, selection, installation, operation, and maintenance of equipment in explosive areas. But most importantly, usage of ATEX in specifications is continually increasing in popularity amongst both end users and OEM’s.

How does ATEX relate to couplings (and Mechanical Power Transmission products)?

For an explosion to occur, there are only a few things required – flammable material (gas, mist, vapor, or dust in an ignitable concentration), sufficient oxygen, and an ignition source. A number of common ignition sources can be potentially caused by rotating couplings, such as sparks due to impact or friction, or high surface temperatures. In fact, it is estimated that mechanical equipment accounts for 30% of all explosions, while motors only account for 4%.

This is a 3 part series so please check back soon!

 

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