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As from 1


July 2003, all products marketed in the European Union and intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres must be approved

in compliance with European Directive 2014/34/UE, also known as ATEX.

This new directive also applies to non-electrical components, such as pneumatic controls, for which approval is mandatory.

The main innovations introduced by the new directive 2014/34/UE are:

• Inclusion of non-electrical equipment and devices, such as pneumatic cylinders.

• Each device is assigned a category associated to certain potentially explosive atmospheres.

• All products must bear the CE marking.

• Instructions for use and declarations of conformity must be supplied for each product sold for use in potentially explosive atmospheres.

• Products intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres due to the presence of dust come under this directive,

as do products destined for areas in which hazardous gases are present.

A potentially explosive atmosphere may contain gases, mists, vapours or dust that form in factories or other areas in which flammable substances

are continuously or occasionally present.

An explosion can occur when flammable substances and a source of ignition are present simultaneously in a potentially explosive atmosphere.

A source of ignition can be:

• of electrical origin (electric arcs, induced currents, heat generated by the Joule effect)

• of mechanical origin (hot surfaces generated by friction, sparks generated by impact between metal bodies, electrostatic discharge,

adiabatic compression)

• of chemical origin (exothermic reactions between materials)

• a naked flame

Products subject to approval are all those which, during normal use or due to a malfunction, present one or more sources of ignition for potentially

explosive atmospheres.

Responsibility lies both with the manufacturer of the device and whoever installs it in equipment that is to operate in a hazardous atmosphere.

This requires co-operation between the parties to ensure correspondence between the category of device and the hazardous area in which

it is to operate.

The manufacturer of the device must comply with the specifications and classify the product according to directive 2014/34/UE. The manufacturer

of the equipment, who knows the area in which the device will be operating, must select a suitable device according to the category, pursuant

to directive 99/92/EC.


According to Directive 2014/34/UE, both electrical and mechanical

devices are subject to approval.

It is important to note that the component which is classified in the lowest

category defines the category of the entire device of which it is a part.

If, for example, the coil is marked Ex II 2 … and the valve is marked

Ex II 3… the coil + valve assembly must not be put into service in zone 1

or 21, only in zone 2 or 22.

Coil marking

Valve marking