The ultimate safeguard in Ex areas

IECEx is a trusted partner for the Ex industry

By Claire Marchand

IECEx (IEC System for Certification to Standards relating to Equipment for use in Explosive Atmospheres) has continued to grow in the past year. The IECEx International Conferences – in 2012 in the UAE (United Arab Emirates), and in 2014 in Malaysia – have contributed to increase awareness and visibility in the Middle East and Asia. The IECEx Certified Persons Scheme, launched in late 2010, has really taken off since 2013, benefitting from the support of several majors in the oil and gas industry.

The Petronas twin towers in Kuala Lumpur, where the 2014 IECEx International Conference was held The Petronas twin towers in Kuala Lumpur, where the 2014 IECEx International Conference was held

2014 IECEx International Conference in Malaysia

The 2014 IECEx International Conference, organized by the IEC and IECEx in conjunction with the UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe), took place in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, on 19-20 February 2014. MOSTI (Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation) and its Department of Standards Malaysia volunteered to host and help organize the two-day event. The major sponsor of the event was PETRONAS, Malaysia’s leading international petroleum corporation.

The conference brought together experts from all over the world who are involved in international standardization, equipment manufacture, inspection, repair and overhaul of Ex equipment and systems, and the assessment and certification of personnel competence. Issues specific to Asia-Pacific Ex industry needs were also covered.

Through their presentations and direct contact with participants, the experts were able to share their experience and detailed knowledge of all matters pertaining to the Ex field, such as plant design, principles and practical applications of area classification, installation and repair in compliance with IEC International Standards.

ATEX Danish Forum

IECEx Executive Secretary Chris Agius participated in the ATEX Danish Forum at the end of 2013. In his presentation, he explained that at the beginning IECEx only covered the International certification of Ex equipment. Industry soon realized that these benefits could equally apply to Ex related services such as repair and overhaul as well as to the assessment of the competence of persons that work in Ex areas. He stressed the fact that the IECEx website is the only repository of the original IECEx Certificates, fully accessible to the public and allowing instant verification of claims made by a vendor. Agius also invited participants to download the free IECEx mobile app, for iOS and Android smart phones and tablets, which provides online and offline access to all Certificates in the IECEx Certified Equipment Scheme.

The purpose of the Forum is to give participants a place to exchange experiences and knowledge and urge them to give a presentation on what they do in their company to comply with Ex related regulations in Europe. Much of what is covered involves the health and safety aspects of working in explosive atmospheres: how to work in Ex areas, what should be worn and so on. It also covers the framework of the products encompassed by IEC International Standards through IEC TC (Technical Committee) 31: Equipment for explosive atmospheres, as well as European Standards.

IECEx annual meetings

More than 130 experts from 27 countries participated in the series of annual meetings held in The Hague, Netherlands on 25-29 August 2014. IEC General Secretary and CEO Frans Vreeswijk and IEC Vice-President and CAB (Conformity Assessment Board) Chairman Hiromichi Fujisawa were also present.

The event gave Fujisawa the opportunity to present the IEC 1906 Award to the five IECEx experts nominated in 2014:

  •  Heinz Berger, IECEx Treasurer
  •  John Allen, ExPCC (Certificate of Personnel Competence Certification Committee) Chairman
  • Tim Duffy, IECEx Marks Committee Chairman
  •  Vitaly Grudtsyn, Head delegate of the Russian Federation
  • Alexander Zalogin, IECEx Vice Chairman

UNECE Industry Symposium

As is the tradition now, UNECE hosted a special one day industry symposium as part of the 2014 series of annual IECEx meetings. The event offered presentations on:

  •  The UNECE legal framework
  •  The Australian experience of accepting Certificates of Conformity as proof of compliance with regulations
  •  Accident investigation: Biogas explosion at a waste water treatment plant

The presentations were followed by an open debate with EU (European Union) Commission and industry representatives.

New IECEx Chairman

Taking over from Kerry McManama, who stepped down as IECEx Chairman to succeed Pierre de Ruvo as IECEE Executive Secretary, Prof Dr Thorsten Arnhold, who is Vice President of Technology at R. STAHL, began his first term as IECEx Chairman on 1 January 2014.

Prior to his appointment, Arnhold had been actively involved in IECEx for close to 10 years. He saw the System grow and expand and played a major role in its development and management. He spent more than seven years on the IECEx Management Committee and was a member of several IECEx Working Groups.

Arnhold joined R. STAHL in 1992 and six years later became Head of the company’s Design and Marketing Department. He was subsequently promoted to Vice President of Product Management and Marketing and more recently to his current position.

New countries

IECEx has also grown in terms of membership, with three new countries joining the System and taking a seat on the International IECEx ExMC (Management Committee):

  • Israel
  • Spain
  • United Arab Emirates

This now brings the total number of IECEx Member Countries to 33. Hot on the heels of these new members, other countries are expected to join the growing IECEx family, for example Belgium, later in 2014.

The IECEx ExMC oversees the day-to-day management operations of the IECEx System. Since each Member Country holds a seat on the ExMC, their industry and stakeholders provide direct input to the operational decision-making of the IECEx.

Extension of the IECEx Certified Service Facilities Scheme

The updated set of IECEx Operational Documents introduced an extension of the Ex-related services covered by the IECEX Certified Service Facilities Scheme.

In addition to the Ex Repair and Overhaul service in compliance with IEC 60079-19:2010,Explosive atmospheres - Part 19: Equipment repair, overhaul and reclamation, the Scheme now provides for the assessment and certification of organizations that offer the following services:

  • Ex Selection and Installation + Initial Inspection in compliance with IEC 60079-14:2013,Explosive atmospheres - Part 14: Electrical installations design, selection and erection
  • Ex Inspection in compliance with IEC 60079-17:2013Explosive atmospheres - Part 17: Electrical installations inspection and maintenance
  • Area Classification in compliance with the IEC 60079-10 series of International Standards on the classification of areas in explosive atmospheres

Tracking changes in new editions of IEC 60079-1 and IEC 60079-2

The latest editions of IEC 60079-1:2014Explosive atmospheres - Part 1: Equipment protection by flameproof enclosures "d", published in August, and IEC 60079-2:2014Explosive atmospheres – Part 2: Equipment protection by pressurized enclosure "p", issued in July, are also available in a Redline version. Flameproof enclosures for housing pieces of electrical apparatus is one of the well known and most used explosion protection techniques essential for use in explosive atmospheres, such as may be encountered on oil and gas platforms, in chemical and petrochemicals plants, grain silos and in many other sectors.

Both Standards were developed by IEC TC 31. Redline versions (available in English only) provide users with a quick and easy way of comparing all the changes between Standards and their previous edition. They are particularly helpful when changes introduced in new IEC International Standards are extensive, as is the case with these two publications.

About IECEx

IECEx provides certification of equipment, services and personnel associated with or affecting  areas where there is a risk of fire and/or explosions due to flammable gases, liquids and dusts (Ex areas).

Ex areas are a part of almost every industry, from transport, food production, and textiles to petroleum and mining. IECEx covers the broad spectrum of devices, systems and services used in explosive environments, and verifies their conformity to International Standards. 

The System addresses inspection (location and other), installation, maintenance and repair of equipment and systems, and assesses the competence of personnel working in this highly specialized area.

IECEx has been endorsed by the UN (United Nations) through the UNECE as THE certification system for the assessment of conformity in Ex areas.

IECEx operates the following Schemes:

  • IECEx Certified Equipment Scheme
  • IECEx Certified Service Facilities Scheme
  • IECEx Scheme for Certification of Personnel Competence (for Explosive Atmospheres)

The System also has the IECEx Conformity Mark Licensing System which provides immediate evidence that products bearing the Conformity Mark are covered by an IECEx Certificate of Conformity.

For more information:

The Petronas twin towers in Kuala Lumpur, where the 2014 IECEx International Conference was held The Petronas twin towers in Kuala Lumpur, where the 2014 IECEx International Conference was held
Chris Agius during his presentation at the ATEX Danish Forum Chris Agius during his presentation at the ATEX Danish Forum
Thorsten Arnhold became IECEx Chairman on 1 January 2014 Thorsten Arnhold became IECEx Chairman on 1 January 2014