In recent years, a greater understanding of the potential risks associated with the capture, transport, and collection of combustible materials has been promoted through the ATEX directives, for controlling explosive atmospheres.

ATEX, as implemented in Great Britain through regulations 7 and 11 of the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR), requires employers to eliminate or control the risks from dangerous substances through the classification of areas where hazardous explosive atmospheres may occur into zones.

Subsequently, when operating in potentially explosive atmospheres, ensuring the safety of personnel and the production facility is paramount. To this end, FERCELL is dedicated to providing comprehensive solutions that align with the 2014/34/EU ATEX Directive and providing gold-standard protection against the effects of explosions.

While the ATEX Directives provide a framework for ensuring safety in hazardous areas, they do not define specific equipment to be used in these installations. Essentially, it is the responsibility of the user (installer) to determine which explosion suppression systems and fire extinguishing systems best meet the requirements for reducing the risk of explosion.

FERCELL recommends both preventative and mitigation measures to increase safety beyond the minimum requirements of the ATEX directives, and while the implementation of such measures can be time-consuming and require additional investment, it does come with significant benefits, such as:

  • Reduced risks (accidents)
  • Reduced costs (damage and loss)
  • Improved service life
  • Productivity gains
  • Business continuity

Typically, preventative measures will include risk assessments, equipment maintenance, and operator training, combining to reduce the likelihood of an explosion occurring in a hazardous area, while on the other side, mitigation focuses on reducing the impact of an explosion and/or fire.

When it comes to managing hazardous environments, FERCELL offers a comprehensive range of ATEX certificated products to create a fully integrated ATEX installation, including, but not limited to, explosion isolation, explosion venting, fire isolation, and extinguishing systems.

An example of a local exhaust ventilation system benefitting from explosion and fire mitigation measures.

Explosion isolation systems are installed to prevent or mitigate the propagation of an explosion, essentially preventing an explosion from spreading through a systems pipework by cutting the explosion off from the rest of the system and stopping the explosion from reaching the production area and process machinery.

Explosion venting systems are designed to relieve pressure that has been generated by an explosion and to reduce the risk of damage to equipment and personnel from uncontrolled maximum explosion pressure and maximum rate of pressure rise releases within a sealed vessel. Whether by a basic burst panel or a comprehensive explosion diverter, venting facilities are designed to divert the explosion’s flux.

Fire isolation and extinguishing systems detect, separate and extinguish fire sources (sparks, embers and the like) before they can spread to other parts of the system where a source of ignition could be catastrophic (storage, filter batteries etc.). In addition to automatic spark detection and extinguishing systems, fire isolation can be provided by ATEX rotary valves and fast acting fire dampers (designed specifically for systems that transport material).

Understanding the scope of the ATEX directives and the significance of safety within dust extraction facilities is paramount. To this end, FERCELL’s 47+ years’ experience and expertise is available to assist you with all aspects of Local Exhaust Ventilation and achieving effective and efficient solutions. Contact us here.

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