What Is an ATEX Fan?

An ATEX certified fan is a fan that has been constructed in accordance with the mandatory directive 2014/34/EU of the European Parliament relating to equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres. The fan is certified to safely operate in an ATEX rated hazardous or explosive atmosphere.

Due to the high potential for ignition of a fan CEN, the European Committee for Standardisation commissioned a harmonised manufacturing standard, BS EN 14986: 2007, design of fans working in potentially explosive atmospheres; to which all relevant ATEX certified fans, including Centrifugal, Axial and Mixed Flow should comply.

BSEN 14986 : 2007 has now been superseded by BS EN 14986 : 2017.

As of July 2003, it has been a mandatory legal requirement that organisations within the EU must follow the directives to protect employees from explosion risk in areas with an explosive atmosphere.

ATEX derives its name from the French title of the 94/9/EC directive (now superseded by 2014/34/EU): Appareils destinés à être utilisés en Atmosphères Explosibles. Put simply, ATEX stands for ATmosphere EXplosibles – or explosive atmospheres.

With the ATEX directive, category 2 and 3 mechanical equipment can be self-certified by the manufacturer. This contrasts with the IECEx scheme, where not only the equipment supplied, but the manufacturer’s design and production has been independently assessed and approved.

Category 3 Equipment

Option 1: No quality assurance needs to be held by the manufacturer, and the ATEX product can be self-certified; but a technical file must be created and held on file by the manufacturer (NOTE 1).

Option 2: The manufacturer produces the ATEX rated product which carries third-party certification from a notified body.

Category 2 Equipment

Option 1: Manufacturer must hold official accreditation to ISO9001: 2015, and the ATEX product can be self-certified, but the technical file must be submitted to a notified body (NOTE 1).

Option 2: Manufacturer must hold official accreditation to ISO9001: 2015, and the ATEX rated product carries third-party certification from a notified body.

Category 1 Equipment

Manufacturer must hold official accreditation to ISO9001: 2015, and the product MUST be third-party certified by a notified body.

NOTE 1: Equipment that is self-certified is less desirable than equipment that has third-party notified body certification. A self-certified product will pass joint responsibility of the suitability of the product to meet the ATEX directive into the supply chain, along with any legal liability. A third-party notified body certified product takes all responsibility and liability from the supply chain, where responsibility to comply purely lies with the manufacturer and notified body.

Woodcock & Wilson’s manufactured range of industrial centrifugal and axial fans carry third-party certification from a notified body.

Key Features of an ATEX Fan

Fan units must be designed and manufactured in accordance with BS EN 14986: 2017, design of fans working in potentially explosive atmospheres. This is a specific standard that sets out requirements for design, manufacture, testing and labelling of fans for use in potentially hazardous areas, often referred to as ATEX centrifugal fans.

What Is the Difference Between ATEX and IECEx?

ATEX is mandatory in EU countries, and allows for self-certification.

IECEx is an international standard, seen as best practise outside the EU, and does not allow for self-certification.

How to Check My Fan Is an ATEX Certified Fan

  • Fan hazardous area certification should show compliance with BS EN 14986: 2017
  • Beware of product only using the certification from the electrical equipment. ATEX covers both mechanical and electrial equipment
  • Dedicated ATEX documentation with regard to operation, installation and maintenance
  • Clearances between rotating elements and fan casing
  • Rigid impeller construction with over-speed capacity
  • Spark minimisation using correct material pairing
  • Dedicated fan ATEX nameplate
  • Anti-static protection through correct earthing

What Does ATEX Mean for Your Business?

  • OEM and end users are responsible for ensuring compliance to the ATEX directive
  • Failure to comply could carry heavy fines and custodial sentences
  • Authorities can force a recall or replacement of any non-compliant equipment
  • ATEX is a safety standard, and non-compliant equipment has the potential to cause death or serious injury

Woodcock & Wilson ATEX Fans

An ATEX certified fan from Woodcock & Wilson Ltd will give you confidence that the fan supplied has been assessed by an approved notification body to be safe, manufactured to the strictest European standards, and designed to meet the specific type of explosive or hazardous environment that it is intended to operate in, whilst also reducing the need and cost of additional testing.