Hazardex 2020 Conference Paper – Non-Electrical (Mechanical) Equipment Compliance With IECEX Certification

Published 22 Nov 2019



Hazardex 2020 Conference Paper

This Paper will discuss the IECEx Hazardous Area certification which now covers non-electrical (mechanical) equipment.

Certification of equipment for use in potentially explosive atmospheres, often referred to as “hazardous areas” has been around for many years. There is a well-established supply chain for electrical and lighting equipment and knowledge through our industry is generally good. Currently, two certification schemes covering both electrical and non-electrical equipment exist, but awareness of non-electrical (mechanical) equipment requirements within the industry is poor and re-education is a slow process.

Since the ATEX Directive was introduced in 2003, both electrical and mechanical equipment was accounted for; before 2003 only electrical equipment had any formal certification for hazardous areas – a big change.

ATEX compliant equipment is mandatory for use in hazardous areas throughout the EU.

In the European Union compliance is a legal requirement; this is not so for the rest of the world. The ATEX Directive allows manufacturers to “self-certify” mechanical equipment for use in Zone 1 and Zone 2 hazardous areas, introducing doubt as to the manufacturer’s ability to produce compliant goods. However, electrical equipment requires independent certification for use in a Zone 1 area and more often than not, electrical equipment manufacturers also provide independent certification for Zone 2 products.

IECEx is a worldwide certification system for both electrical and non-electrical equipment and requires full compliance to IEC International standards.

“Self-certification” is strictly not allowed.

Manufacturers of both electrical and non-electrical equipment must have been awarded an IECEx Certificate of Conformity, prior to manufacturing the goods, by an approved IECEx Notified Body.


•  ATEX is a legal requirement within the European Union.
•  IECEx is a voluntary certification scheme but carries worldwide recognition with UN endorsement.

ATEX is not primarily about safety.

It sets minimum standards to allow free trade within the EU and between the EU and the rest of the world. Self-certification of ATEX products can become a “race to the bottom” with commercial pressures leading to the cutting of corners with regard to construction and adherence to specifications. Policing by compliance authorities is seen to be weak, requires a high level of product knowledge, and still does not insist on accreditation. Although goods require a technical file there is no requirement that this is assessed by anyone other than the manufacturer.

IECEx, though voluntary, requires a two-stage approval process, putting more focus on safety. Firstly, the manufacturing facility and its quality assurance processes have to be approved by an IECEx Notified Body (NB) who issues a Quality Assurance Report (QAR). Then again by a NB, the design and testing of the product itself is assessed against relevant international standards. Successful assessment will then result in the issuing of an IECEx Certificate of Conformity.

The IECEx scheme carries added security for the supply chain as the equipment must have been independently certified by a recognised NB. The system is completely transparent as the manufacturers’ certificate of conformity is available to view on the IECEx website.

The emphasis on safety that IECEx brings, when compared to ATEX, gives users a guaranteed minimum level of design and manufacturing quality assurance. IECEx is a globally recognised scheme but does not replace ATEX in EU countries; dual-certified products that comply with both schemes are becoming increasingly available.

Introducing A World First in Ventilation

for Hazardous Areas & Explosive Atmospheres

Pictured: Terry McDonald (Thorne & Derrick Business Development Manager) with Scott Harding (Wood & Wilson Director) presenting and exhibiting the Exstream range of ATEX fans at SPE Offshore Europe 2019.



Stocked, Supplied & Distributed by Thorne & Derrick | ATEX Specialists

Exstream fans are the market-leading ATEX fan to provide powerful and portable ventilation in hazardous areas –  specified for safe and reliable extraction and blowing of dangerous gases and vapors in explosive atmospheres with airflow capability up to 7750m3/hr. Both ATEX & IECEx dual certified to Electrical & Non-Electrical Standards (Mechanical) for Zone 1 & Zone 2 ventilation applications.

  • Class Leading Airflow: Up to 7750m3/hr
  • Robust: Mild Steel or Stainless Steel Casing
  • Low Power Consumption: <8A FLC
  • Low Noise Output: 49db
  • Easy to Use: Plug & Play Fan
  • Voltage Options: 110V/230V & 3-Phase Options Available

The Problem

In 2019, issues are now coming to light with mechanical equipment manufacturers misunderstanding the requirements of the IECEx non-electrical requirements. Ignorance within the industry is allowing mechanical equipment to be put on to the market on the back of an IECEx electrical Certificate of Conformity only.

Non-electrical equipment must carry an IECEx Certificate of Conformity that specifically references EN ISO 80079-36 and EN ISO 80079-37.

For example, manufacturers of pumps, fans and gearboxes can no longer offer IECEx compliant goods by “bolting on” an IECEx compliant motor to an ATEX certified product.

Charles Halstead, Technical Director at Woodcock & Wilson and member of the CEN committee for ATEX fans is “concerned by the varying competency being demonstrated by Notified Bodies that allow certain manufacturers to pay ‘lip service’ to full conformity of both ATEX and IECEx equipment”.

Scott Harding

Sales Director – Woodcock & Wilson

Scott Harding is Sales Director and Joint Owner of Woodcock & Wilson Ltd.

Member of the Nuclear Institute, National Nuclear Ventilation Forum, SHAPA and the Fan Manufacturers Association. With over 28 years’ experience in the industrial fan industry covering fan design, manufacture and process safety. Scott is the driving force behind mechanical safety within the hazardous area and process industries. Providing knowledge sharing with lectures and presentations on the ATEX fan standard EN14986 and the introduction of the IECEx non-electrical standard in 2016.

Woodcock & Wilson

Hazardous Area Electrical Distributors


leaders in ATEX Innovation To The Hazardous Area Industries

Thorne & Derrick are leaders in the development and distribution of Product Innovations that deliver significant improvements to clients plant, people and operational safety in the explosive atmosphere industries.

Your proactive problem solvers experienced in succession planning for the replacement of obsolete, non-conformant and legacy equipment in hazardous areas.

Your first-choice provider of innovative and competitive solutions to ensure ATEX & IECEx Compliance for Hazardous Area Electrical, HVAC & Process Instrumentation Equipment to UK and international projects.

Control Panels | Plugs | Isolators | Enclosures & Junction Boxes | Lighting | Control Stations | Motor Starters | Heat Trace | Gas Detection | Flame DetectionProcess InstrumentationProcess Heating | Ventilation Fans | Security Access Control 

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Experts In Equipment for Explosive Atmospheres & Hazardous Area Locations

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