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the difference between IECEx and ATEX
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The lECEx System is a set of four separate schemes (of which one relates to Ex Equpment) that were

developed to satisfy the calls from the Ex industry for intermatonal recognition and coordination of the outputs of various certtfication systems and test laboratories (house) with different practises with different levels of expertise.


The lECEx scheme operates from the platform of

◆  having a singe Qualification Process for the asessment and evaluation of Certification Bodies and Test Latboratories to ensure that they have the necessary test equipment and faclites with staff holding the necessary level of technical expertise to conduct testing and certification.

◆  estabisthing a single way of conducting Ex testing and certificaton.we reter to this as doing Ex certification the” IECEx Way”.As an illustration,it ts acceptable under ATEX to rely solely on a manufacturer's declaration for Zone 2 equipment(Ex n) whereas tor IECEx we do not discriminate between Zone 0,1,2.All equlpment under IECEx must be undependently tested and certified in order to cany the IECEx certificate number and have an lECEx certificate issued on the lECEx website.


Therefore,while we have some 57 ExCBs approved by IECEx to issue lECEx certificates,it is important to know that these bodies may still conduct testing and certification according to their local schemes,eg ATEX for EU based ExCBs and American for US based etc.So to be sure that the product is covered by an IECEx certification,the Ex equipment must carry on the marking plate the lECEx Certificate number "IECEx XXX 18.0001”where:

'IECEx' shows that it is an IECEx certification

'XXX' identifies the ExCB that issued the IECEx certificate

'18' represents the last 2 digits of the year of issue

'0001' represents the running certificate number issued in that year


The fundamental differences between ATEX and IECEx are:

◆  Targeted Jurisdiction for ATEX is the European Union but does get used on a voluntary basis outside EU

◆  ATEX requires complance with the EHSR listed in Annex lI and uses compllance with Standards as a "deemed to comply with EHSR requltements"meaning that strict compliance with Standards is NOT a requlrement af ATEX.However most manufacturers use standards as their means to demonstrate compliance with the EHSRs

◆  Bodies offering ATEX services are known as"Notitied Bodies'(ExNB).These bodies are quatifned by the official body within their own country with the offical body in the country issuing a notification to the EU Commission.

◆  A certificate issued by an ExNB is called “EU-Type Examination Certificate” and is not a Certificate of Conformity. 


The asassment and testing/certification proces of ATEX as with EU Directives is risk based,meaning that for lower risk areas ike previous zone 2 or Ex n, ATEX allows full manufacturer's declaration without involvement of an ExNB.

When it comes to IECEx

◆  Targeted Jurtsdictlon is the world,all countries

◆  As such,IECEx is a true International Certificaion scheme wthere full compliance with IEC international Standards are required

◆  Rather than being qualified within a certification body orTest Lab's own country,IECEx Certification Bodies (ExCB) and IECEx Test Labs (ExTL) are evaluated and qualified according to a single international process managed and approved by the single international IECEx Management Committee.Each ExTL and ExCB Is visited and assessed by an expert team of assessors from IECEx

◆  IECEx oparates a Technical Secretartat wth the IECEx Executive Secretary appointed with the Chief Executive Officer Function of the Scheme to handle day to day matters,reportng to he IECEx Executive and Management Commttee.

◆  ExCBs issue IECEx Certlicates of Conformity that require that samples be fully tested against the Standard regardless of the zone of use of the product.

◆  IECEx Certificates are ALL publicly availatble for full viewing at the lECEx Website.This provides a single central On-Line location where Certificates issued by all IECEx approved ExCBs are located.In effect we say if the lECEx certificate does not appear on the website then it is not issued.

◆  IECEx operates separate Schemes for

--IECEx Certified Epuipment Scheme

--IECEx Certified Service Faclity Scheme

--IECEx Certification of Personnel Competencics (CoPC) Scherne

◆  IECEx is the only Certification scheme to be formally endorsed by the United Nations as "world's best practise and recommended model " for use by regulators when regulating the use of Ex equlipmert and Serviees.


The point to understand is that ATEX has been set up and works effectively within EU where there exists EU legislation as the overarching requiremant.

As IECEx operates globally across many national and regional jurisdictions,the IECEx rules governing acceptance of ExTLs,ExCBs and the process of certification needs to be comprehensive to ensure that confidence and integrity in IECEx certifications are maintained.So while frorm a legislative perspective,all that is required to sell Ex products in EU is ATEx,customers are asking for IECEx as well.

Last article:ATEX Standards
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