ATEX Zones 1, 2, 21 & 22 Explained
What Is An ATEX Zone?
ATEX Zones are a location where there is some level of risk from an explosion or combustion. Combustible dusts will, over time, build up and emit flammable gases – both of which are a major fire hazard should an ignition source be present. Many industries are at risk of combustion from flammable dust and gas and it is often an unavoidable part of everyday practises.
ATEX is an acronym for the French term ‘Atmospheres Explosibles’. It is part of the EU directive ATEX 2014-34 EU – legislation that covers the essential health and safety requirements and conformities. It ensures that cleaning systems, electrical equipment and machinery are spark-free and therefore safe to use in potentially flammable environments. It’s important to note that the directive is still in place despite the UK having left the EU.
What Are The Different ATEX Zones & What Do They Mean?
An explosive atmosphere may occur because of many different substances, such as flammable gases, vapours, mists or dust. For many industries, the presence of these substances are completely unavoidable as they may be a part of the production process or may be produced as a result of it.
Even a small ignition – such a single spark – has the potential to cause a powerful explosion. Understandably this can be extremely dangerous and may lead to serious injury, death and substantial loss of company equipment or property.
ATEX Zone 1 & 2
ATEX Zones 1 & 2 are areas where hazardous gas or vapours are present. This could be a manufacturing plant that handles chemicals, paints or fuels for example. It’s important to remember that hazardous gases may not be used in the production process itself although they may occur as a result of the manufacturing process. Combining flammable gases with an ignition source and oxygen will result in combustion.
- ATEX Zone 1: High risk of explosive gas or vapour. Daily processes are likely to produce an environment in which hazardous gases and vapours are present.
- ATEX Zone 2: Medium risk of explosive gas or vapour. Daily processes are not likely to produce combustible gases and vapours although they may occur for a short period.
ATEX Zone 21 & 22
ATEX Zones 21 & 22 refer to areas at risk from hazardous dust. This is common in a range of different industries and products such as flour, starch, metal dusts, pesticides and chemical dusts are all classed under this bracket. Combustible dusts can gather in clouds or in difficult-to-see areas such as air vents, lighting and support beams. When combined with an ignition source and oxygen a potentially lethal explosion may occur.
- ATEX Zone 21: High risk of explosive powder or dust. Daily processes are likely to produce an environment in which hazardous dust is present.
- ATEX Zone 21: Medium risk of explosive powder or dust. Daily processes are not likely to produce combustible dust although they may occur for a short period.
What ATEX Cleaning Equipment Do I Need?
To ensure that you conform with the ATEX safety regulations you should always use ATEX equipment. Not only is this a legal requirement as per UK law, but it also protects your staff and customers from a dangerous explosion. Systems that are ATEX approved are safe to use in areas where potentially flammable substances may be present. This means they are fully conductive to completely eradicate the risk of a spark during operation.
The SpaceVac ATEX Lite is designed to be our entry level high-level vacuum for operators working in explosive atmospheres. It is fully conductive and compliant with ATEX Directive 2014/34/EU: ISO 80079-36:2016 and ISO 80079-37, meaning it is safe to use in ATEX Zones 1,2, 21 and 22. This is our simplest, most accessible ATEX system and is the fastest way of removing combustible dust.
The ATEX Pioneer is a powerful mid-range system that sits between the ATEX Lite and the ATEX Ultra. It is also fully compliant and is perfect for safely removing combustible materials such as wood, flour or paper. The ATEX Pioneer has 20 feet of reach making it a great option for smaller factories and manufacturing environments.
ATEX Pro 38mm
The ATEX Pro 38mm is a fully conductive, spark-free cleaning system that has been specifically designed for industrial cleaning operations in combustible atmospheres. The 38mm diameter poles are made from 100% to ensure safety and to make it lightweight and easy to use. This is a powerful piece of ATEX cleaning equipment that will guarantee results with every use.
ATEX Pro 50mm
Similarly to the 38mm system, the ATEX Pro 50mm is a heavy duty vacuum that will guarantee safety when used in ATEX zones. This fully conductive, ATEX Directive compliant system promises less blockages and better airflow thanks to 50mm diameter cleaning poles. This enables you to tackle the toughest of high level cleaning tasks with ease.
For our heaviest duty system, choose the SpaceVac ATEX Ultra. This fully conductive vacuum has specifically been designed to push the boundaries of ATEX Cleaning equipment, offering a level of performance that you won’t find on other systems. The ATEX Ultra is perfect for very high cleaning tasks thanks to an industry-first 12K carbon weave pole. This makes for a system that is incredibly lightweight, durable and powerful.
How SpaceVac Can Help You!
SpaceVac have a range of high reach ATEX cleaning equipment that is specifically designed to keep your business safe in ATEX zones. We are a market leader in manufacturing high quality ATEX equipment and we’re constantly exploring ways of improving our products, their effectiveness and usability.
All of our ATEX systems are completely compliant with the directive ATEX 2014-34 EU and promise spark-free operation with every use. If your business handles combustible dusts or vapours, contact SpaceVac today and enquire about our ATEX cleaning equipment using our enquiry form, or call 01604 344556.