Summary:

As global trade in hazardous area products is set to increase, it would appear sensible that all countries operate on the same playing field when it comes to certifying hazardous area products and classifying the areas and in which they operate. While some countries, like Australia, have made the decision to require IECEx CoCs for hazardous area equipment and countries like Canada have changed their national code, the CEC, to reflect the Class and Zoning system, in reality it may be some time before regions like the U.S. and Europe adapt their regulatory and legislative systems to a single unified system of hazardous area product certification. It will also take some time for the Class and Zoning method described in NEC Articles 505 and 506 to be adopted by hazardous area operators in the U.S.

Although full convergence may be some time away, or may never happen, from a hazardous area operator’s perspective, product certified under the IECEx scheme’s range of IEC 60079 standards and national standards based on the IEC 60079 series (i.e. IEC standards adopted of modified for NEC 505 & 506 or “EN” harmonised EU standards for ATEX), at minimum, will represent the latest state of the art in respect of explosion protection technology.

For companies operating the Class and Division system, products with dual Class – Division and Class – Zone approvals represent the most advanced examples of explosion protection systems in industry today.

Examples of product certification markings.

The following are examples of product approval markings relevant to IECEx, NEC 500, 505 & 506 and ATEX for the Earth-Rite RTR road tanker ground monitoring system. Please note that the Canadian Electrical Code (CEC) also operates the Class and Zoning system in accordance with Section 18 of the CEC. The Class and Division method appears in Annex J of the CEC.

Highlights:

  • Standards are the cornerstone of hazardous area product certification.
  • The adoption of international standards, such as those of the IEC, at a national level may facilitate the convergence of hazardous area classification and equipment approvals globally.
  • Products that display the IECEx mark, along with required Class and Division or ATEX markings, represent the latest state of the art in respect of explosion protection technology.

Mike O'Brien

Author Details:
Mike O’Brien, Managing Director for Newson Gale

If you have any questions relating to the topics discussed in this article,
please contact Newson Gale.


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