ATEX ratings refer to the ability of a piece of equipment, or the design and use of a particular space, to withstand the effects of an explosion. The name ATEX comes from the French words Atmospheres Explosibles . There are two EU directives governing explosive atmospheres, one for manufacturers of equipment and one for employers who are responsible for the health and safety of staff working in such an environment. The definition of an explosive atmosphere, as laid out by DSEAR (The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002) is: “a mixture of dangerous substances with air, under atmospheric conditions, in the form of gases, vapours, mist or dust in which, after ignition has occurred, combustion spreads to the entire unburned mixture”. This is really just a way of describing the conditions typically found in a mining environment, a vehicle spraying facility or even a sawmill where dust, paint particles and mist or gases are commonly found. ATEX ratings classify these types of environment into two groups, I and II. Group I is for mining industries, and group II covers all others. Within group I there are subsets for environments where the equipment will be energized when an explosive atmosphere is presents (M1) and for when it will be de-energized (M2). Group II is divided further into three categories based on how often an explosive atmosphere will be present, and how long it will last for under normal operating conditions. Subdivisions for gases and dust are also used to denote the potentially ignition source. Specialised hydraulically powered machinery for use in places such as mines, sawmills, vehicle spraying facilities and the like, needs to be rated for use in a potentially explosive atmosphere. These ATEX ratings will appear on a label with a hexagonal symbol containing the letters “Ex” followed by a series of letters and numbers, which denote the subsets for frequency of the explosive atmosphere and the ignition source. Some machinery may be rated for use in two types of environment, such as on the boundary between two such places. ATEX ratings are vital to industries where there is an explosion risk due to the environment and nature of the business. Without them it would be impossible to reliably tell which equipment is safe for use in these places, so the ratings give peace of mind to those purchasing or working with the machinery. As hydraulically powered machinery is frequently used in mining industries, as well as processing and manufacturing of potentially hazardous materials, it is vital that it is all tested and certified correctly to avoid accidents. At Hydraproducts we know how important health and safety is, so you can be sure then when purchasing ATEX rated equipment from us, that you are in safe hands.