What does ATEX Mean?

On a recent instalment of the blog, we looked at the various products that make up the SpaceVac product range and the kinds of areas and environments that they might be suitable for use in.

Today, we’d like to take some time to explain a little further around one of the terms we used in that post – ATEX.

ATEX refers to a European directive “Atmosphere Explosive” which relates specially to areas that feature the presence and build up of potentially combustible materials. The list of potentially combustible materials is quite a long and surprising one with a range of materials you wouldn’t expect. While industrial materials like wood, plastic and aluminum are all on the list, a whole range of organic materials – from paper through to food stuffs like Coffee, Sugar or Rice can all generate significant amount of dust and waste products as they are stored, processed and use to manufacture other goods.

When this material builds up over time it can become a source of fuel that can be ignited with a single spark. The damage that can be caused by these ATEX explosions can be devastating for all sorts of reasons.

Firstly – the damage to property and human life can be huge. The disaster at Bosley Mill a few years back was a stark reminder of the kind of catastrophic damage that can be caused if the materials found in ATEX zones ignites.

On top of that – the legislation governing these areas is also very strict – precisely to encourage businesses to adhere to the legislation. Only this year, one of the UKs largest manufacturers of wood furniture was prosecuted and received steep fines for not following the guidelines and removing this potentially lethal hazard onsite.

How is SpaceVac Safe for Use in ATEX areas?

Designed in response to a number of incidents that claimed life and property around the world, the SpaceVac ATEX system made a number of important upgrades and changes to the product to make it safe for use in ATEX certified areas.

To begin with, the traditional carbon fibre cleaning poles were replaced with a full carbon version. This meant a completely conductive cleaning pole right from the off. In addition, the standard internal cleaning tools and accessories were replaced with an anti-static full carbon range of cleaning heads and tools to provide a selection of tools that can be guaranteed not to spark.

In addition the safety locking mechanism used on all of SpaceVacs cleaning poles, tools, brushes and cleaning heads ensures that all the components of the system stay firmly locked in place during operation to prevent any gap from forming in the system over which static could jump.

Released onto the market some 5 years ago, the SpaceVac ATEX line was the first system of its kind anywhere in the world to be certified as safe for use in ATEX environments and has gone on to find homes at companies all over the world – from Grupo Bimbo using the systems in their bakeries, to Google and Facebook keeping dust out of their data centres.

Talk to us about your cleaning requirements – and if the ATEX line is right for you by contacting us today. Out team are waiting to help you today!

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