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ATEX Directive

The different Ex zones simply explained

The ATEX Directive is an EU directive in the field of explosion protection: ATEX Directive 2014/34/EU, formerly ATEX Directive 94/9/EC. Colloquially speaking, it is therefore an "EU-wide directive".

ATEX is French and the abbreviation for AThmosphère EXplosibles. It is therefore always a question of explosive atmospheres/"air". These can be explosive gases (gas stations, paint shops, paint storage rooms, etc.) or dusts. Dust explosions are not to be neglected. Accidents are sufficiently known through the press: Mines, flour production, etc. And the aim of the directive is to protect people working in these areas.

The ATEX directive now recognizes three categories:

Category 1: Danger exists continuously, frequently or over long periods of time.

Category 2: Danger exists occasionally

Category 3: Danger exists rarely and only for a short period of time

Since the behavior is different for dust and explosive gases, the categories are divided into zones.

Category 1: Danger exists constantly, frequently or over longer periods of time.

Gas: Zone 0

Dust: Zone 20

Category 2: Danger exists occasionally

Gas: Zone 1

Dust: Zone 21

Category 3: Danger exists rarely and only for a short time

Gas: Zone 2

Dust: Zone 22

The ATEX zones in the data sheet

On many products you will find mainly the zone designations - and not the category designations. This is also the case, for example, in the data sheet of our LED EX luminaire ZALUX Acquex LED-M (see picture on the right), but also of the other EX luminaires.

The designation is mandatory.

In each data sheet/product designation the EX class must be shown

The different zones in the application

The EX zones explained by means of an example.

Here: gas (no dust). Our LED EX luminaire ZALUX Acquex should therefore be suspended in the yellow area (zone 2).

The temperature classes in the ATEX directive

In addition, the ATEX directive defines the temperature classes. The classes indicate the maximum surface temperature that may be present.

T1 = 450°C

T2 = 300°C

T3 = 200°C

T4 = 135°C

T5 = 100°C

T6 = 85°C

So, it is important to find out/define what kind of environment it is before buying/installing an LED ex-lamp. As you can see from the zones and classes, the requirements for a luminaire in an open gas station (occasional gases) or well ventilated paint shop are different than in a storage room with thinners/paints (permanent gases) or even a coal mine.