When buying, installing or modifying a combustion system, there are many factors which will define the type of equipment installed and how it is operated. This can be defined by the client or the particular process. One of the areas which remains grey, are the obligations on supplier and end-users within the ATEX directive.
Standards for compliance
As a supplier we have a framework of standards that the equipment must comply with these standards include:
- IGE/UP/16 (and/or IGE/SR25 if above 2 bar supply pressure).
In many instances there are no existing pre-defined ATEX area within the plant, and the only source of potential zoning is from the gas being used on the process.
Supplier and end user obligations
Therefore when evaluating an application, the proposed equipment will be typically supplied function and leak tested and supplied in compliance with ATEX Zone 2 NE (Negligible extent). Which only requires the supplier to provide normal equipment for safe area operation.
The equipment then is installed into a customer’s site, once handed over the responsibility for compliance then falls to the customer, this includes servicing, leak checks and repairs.
The grey area…
This is where the area become very grey, most end-users are not experts in every standard written and how it affects every component on every machine they operate. We are finding ever increasing numbers of equipment which has either never been maintained or maintained to a very poor level. Obsolete parts, poor combustion, gas leaks and lack of safety equipment.
Therefore without a maintenance regime in place or gas detection system, should we be re-evaluating the equipment and changing the ATEX Zone from 2 NE (Negligible Extent) up to Zone 2. As another note from IGE/UP/16, Congested or confined locations 188.8.131.52 classification Zone 2, mitigating factors to reduce to Zone 2 NE is the provision of a gas detection system.
It may seem insignificant but this affects all gas fired process plant in the UK, how big a risk should we take?