ATEX is an abbreviation for "ATmosphere EXplosible". At the same time, ATEX is the abbreviated name of the European Directive 2014/34/EC concerning the placing on the market of explosion-proof electrical and mechanical equipment, components and protective systems. It came into force on 1 July 2003, and all new equipment and protective systems have been subject to it since that date.
Directive 2014/34/EC applies to the manufacture of products which are used in potentially explosive atmospheres. Consequently, the manufacturer has sole responsibility for ensuring that any products falling within this category comply with the Directive. The ATEX Directive applies to all electrical and mechanical equipment and protective systems which are located within potentially explosive environments.
It also covers safety devices, controlling devices and regulating devices intended for use outside potentially explosive atmospheres but required for or contributing to the safe functioning of equipment and protective systems with respect to the risks of explosion.
Equipment and protective systems which fall under Directive 2014/34/EC may be placed on the market only if they bear a CE mark and are accompanied by an EC attestation of conformity certifying that the basic health and safety requirements have been met and that the applicable conformity assessment procedures have been observed. In addition, they must be accompanied by a set of operating instructions.
Placing on the market means making products available within the EU market, in return for payment or free of charge, for the first time for the purpose of distribution and/or use within the EU.
The ATEX Directive regulates explosion protection in mining and in industry and applies to any products (products = equipment and protective systems, safety, control and regulating systems, and any components that are built into equipment and protective systems) which are used in potentially explosive atmospheres. Based on Article 95 of the EC Treaty, the Directive also sets out harmonised requirements and procedures for the purpose of proving compliance. The requirements and procedures for proving compliance (conformity assessment procedures) vary according to the risk to which the product is exposed.