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IECEx Hazardous Areas Certification for Access to International Markets

Gain a better understanding of IECEx certification and area classification, including HazLoc markings with UL, an approved test laboratory and certification body.

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Overview

The IECEx System is an international system for the safety of equipment installed in a potentially explosive atmosphere. It is similar to the IECEE CB scheme. It is based on the IEC 60079 and IEC 80079 series of standards facilitated by the TC31 technical committee. UL participates in and leads many of the TC31 technical committees leading the charge of standards evolution. UL is an approved test laboratory and certification body within the IECEx Certified Equipment, Certified Service Facilities, Personnel Competency, Conformity Mark License and Recognized Training Provider programs.

Certification process services include:

  • Ex Marking certification – We can help you identify applicable requirements and assemble a technical file in accordance with the system guidelines.
  • Unit Verification – The Unit Verification Service provides certification for customized equipment that is intended to be used in a potentially explosive atmosphere.
  • Quality audits – The system requires a quality assurance process and procedure to be in place to ensure continued compliance of certified products.
  • Repair facility certification – We can certify facilities and their associated personnel that intend to repair existing certified products per IEC 60079-19.
  • Personnel Competency – We are an approved Certification Body (ExCB) for the 05 Scheme for Units Ex 000 and Ex 001 and can issue both Ex Facility Orientation Certificates (EFOC) and Certificates of Personnel Competence (CoPC).
  • Conformity Mark License – The Conformity Mark License allows a licensee to use the conformity mark to be applied to the Ex products that are covered by a valid Certificate of Conformity, issued by UL.
  • Recognized training provider – We are an approved recognized training provider

UL is an approved certification body and test laboratory within the IECEx certified equipment, personnel competency, certified service facilities, Conformity Mark License and recognized training provider programs. Continue reading to gain a better understanding of IECEx certification and area classification, including an explanation and example of HazLoc markings.

What is IECEx Certification?

IEC = International Electrotechnical Commission
Ex = Explosive atmospheres
IEC + Ex = IECEx
IECEx System = IEC System for Certification to Standards relating to Equipment for use in Explosive Atmospheres

IECEx certification provides assurance that all safety requirements in the IEC standards are met and that both explosive atmosphere areas and the personnel working within them are as safe as possible.

What are the benefits to obtaining IECEx certification?

  • Accepted worldwide (see list of IECEx countries on www.iecex.com)
  • Improved safety, reduced testing and certification costs and accelerated time to market for manufacturers
  • Single qualification process for the assessment and evaluation of Ex Certification Bodies (ExCBs) and single way of conducting Ex testing and certification
  • One international certification database on www.iecex.com

IECEx vs. ATEX

IECEx

  • Global jurisdiction
  • Certification scheme requiring full compliance with IEC Standards
  • ExCBs and Ex Testing Laboratories (ExTLs) are evaluated and qualified according to a single international process and assessed by a team of IECEx assessors
  • Certificate is called a CoC
  • All product types require a CoC, regardless of zone of use of the product
  • IECEx certificates are all available for viewing on www.iecex.com

ATEX

  • Jurisdiction is the European Union
  • Compliance with ATEX Directive, Essential Health and Safety Requirements (EHSRs), and European Standards (EN) is required
  • Certification bodies are known as an ExNB (Ex Notified Body) qualified by an official body within their own country issuing notification to the EU Commission
  • Certificate is called EC Type Examination Certificate
  • Assessment and testing process is risk based per ATEX and EU Directives, e.g., Zone 2 can be self-declared due to lower risk)
  • Certificates are available from the respective ExNB

How are IECEx Hazardous Areas classified?

Sample Marking

Sample Marking

IECEx Hazardous areas are divided into zones, groups, protection types and EPLs.

  • Gas, vapor or mist
    • Zone 0 – A place in which an explosive atmosphere consisting of a mixture with air of flammable substances in form of gas, vapor or mist is present continuously or for long periods or frequently.
    • Zone 1 – A place in which an explosive atmosphere consisting of a mixture with air of flammable substances in form of gas, vapor or mist is likely to occur in normal operation occasionally.
    • Zone 2 – A place in which an explosive atmosphere consisting of a mixture with air of flammable substances in form of gas, vapor or mist is not likely to occur in normal operation but, if it does occur, will persist for a short period only.
  • Dust
    • Zone 20 – A place in which an explosive atmosphere in the form of a cloud of combustible dust in the air is present continuously, or for long periods or frequently.
    • Zone 21 – A place in which an explosive atmosphere in the form of a cloud of combustible dust in the air is likely to occur in normal operation occasionally.
    • Zone 22 – A place in which an explosive atmosphere in the form of a cloud of combustible dust in the air is not likely to occur in normal operation but, if it does occur, will persist for a short period only.
  • Group I – Zone 0 or 1
    • Mines susceptible to firedamp
  • Group II – Zone 0, 1, and 2
    • IIC – acetylene and hydrogen
    • IIB + H2 – hydrogen
    • IIB – ethylene
    • IIA – propane
  • Group IIII – Zone 20, 21, and 22
    • IIIC – conductive dust
    • IIIB – non-conductive dust
    • IIIA – combustible flyings
  • Protection types – gas atmospheres
    • “d” – flameproof enclosure (for EPL Gb or Mb)
    • “e” – increased safety (for EPL Gb or Mb)
    • “ia” – intrinsic safety (for EPL Ga or Ma)
    • “ib” – intrinsic safety (for EPL Gb or Mb)
    • “ic” – intrinsic safety (for EPL Gc)
    • “ma” – encapsulation (for EPL Ga or Ma)
    • “mb” – encapsulation (for EPL Gb or Mb)
    • “mc” – encapsulation (for EPL Gc)
    • “nA” – non-sparking (for EPL Gc)
    • “nC” – protected sparking (for EPL Gc)
    • “nR” – restricted breathing (for EPL Gc)
    • “o” – oil immersion (for EPL Gb)
    • “op is” – inherently safe optical radiation (for EPL Ga, Gb or Gc)
    • “op pr” – protected optical radiation (for EPL Gb or Gc)
    • “op sh” – optical system with interlock (for EPL Ga, Gb or Gc)
    • “pv” – pressurization (for EPL Gb or Gc)
    • “px” – pressurization (for EPL Gb or Mb)
    • “py” – pressurization (for EPL Gb)
    • “pz” – pressurization (for EPL Gc)
    • “q” – powder filling (for EPL Gb or Mb)
  • Protection types – dust atmospheres
    • “ta” – protection by enclosure (for EPL Da)
    • “tb” – protection by enclosure (for EPL Db)
    • “tc” – protection by enclosure (for EPL Dc)
    • “ia” – intrinsic safety (for EPL Da)
    • “ib” – intrinsic safety (for EPL Db)
    • “ma” – encapsulation (for EPL Da)
    • “mb” – encapsulation (for EPL Db)
    • “mc” – encapsulation (for EPL Dc)
    • “p” – pressurization (for EPL Db or Dc)
  • Nonelectrical protection types
    • “d” – flameproof
    • “c” – constructional safety
    • “b” – control of ignition
    • “k” – liquid immersion
    • “p” – pressurization
  • Equipment Protection Level (EPL) – Level of protection assigned to equipment based on its likelihood of becoming a source of ignition and distinguishing the differences between explosive gas atmospheres, explosive dust atmospheres, and the explosive atmospheres in mines susceptible to fire damp.
    • EPL Ma – Equipment for installation in a mine susceptible to firedamp, having a very high level of protection, which has sufficient security that it is unlikely to become an ignition source in normal operation, during expected malfunctions or during rare malfunctions, even when left energized in the presence of an outbreak of gas.
    • EPL Mb – Equipment for installation in a mine susceptible to firedamp, having a high level of protection, which has sufficient security that it is unlikely to become a source of ignition in normal operation or during expected malfunctions in the time span between there being an outbreak of gas and the equipment being de-energized.
    • EPL Ga – Equipment for explosive gas atmospheres, having a very high level of protection, which is not a source of ignition in normal operation, during expected malfunctions or during rare malfunctions.
    • EPL Gb – Equipment for explosive gas atmospheres, having a high level of protection, which is not a source of ignition in normal operation or during expected malfunctions.
    • EPL Gc – Equipment for explosive gas atmospheres, having an enhanced level of protection, which is not a source of ignition in normal operation and which may have some additional protection to ensure that it remains inactive as an ignition source in the case of regular expected occurrences, e.g., failure of a lamp.
    • EPL Da – Equipment for explosive dust atmospheres, having a very high level of protection, which is not a source of ignition in normal operation, during expected malfunctions, or during rare malfunctions.
    • EPL Db – Equipment for explosive dust atmospheres, having a high level of protection, which is not a source of ignition in normal operation or during expected malfunctions.
    • EPL Dc – Equipment for explosive dust atmospheres, having an enhanced level of protection, which is not a source of ignition in normal operation and which may have some additional protection to ensure that it remains inactive as an ignition source in the case of regular expected occurrences, e.g., failure of a lamp.
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