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What is IECEx?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

IECEx System Objective

The objective of the IECEx System is to facilitate international trade in equipment and services for use in explosive atmospheres, while maintaining the required level of safety:

    * reduced testing and certification costs to manufacturer
    * reduced time to market
    * international confidence in the product assessment process
    * one international database listing
    * maintaining International Confidence in equipment and services covered by IECEx Certification

What is an Ex area?

Ex areas can be known by different names such as “Hazardous Locations”, “Hazardous Areas” “Explosive Atmospheres”, and the like and relate to areas where flammable liquids, vapours, gases or combustible dusts are likely to occur in quantities sufficient to cause a fire or explosion.

The modern day automation of industry has meant an increased need to use equipment in Ex areas. Such equipment is termed “Ex equipment”
Where do you commonly find Ex equipment?

Ex equipment in such areas include:

Automotive refuelling stations or petrol stations
Oil refineries, rigs and processing plants
Chemical processing plants
Printing industries, paper and textiles
Hospital operating theatres
Aircraft refuelling and hangars
Surface coating industries
Underground coalmines
Sewerage treatment plants
Gas pipelines and distribution centers
Grain handling and storage
Woodworking areas
Sugar refineries
Metal surface grinding, especially aluminium dusts and particles
IECEx International Certification System

In addition to the preparation of International Standards, the IEC facilitates the operation of Conformity Assessment Systems. One such System is the IECEx System.

The IECEx System comprises the following

   1. The IECEx Certified Equipment Scheme
   2. The IECEx Certified Service Facilities Scheme
   3. The IECEx Conformity Mark Licensing System
   4. The IECEx Certification of Personnel Competencies (CoPC)

1. The IECEx Certified Equipment Scheme

This IECEx Scheme is an International Certification Scheme covering product that meets the requirements of International Standards, e.g. IEC Standards prepared by TC 31.

The IECEx Certified Equipment Scheme provides both:

a) A single International Certificate of Conformity that requires manufacturers to successfully complete:-

    * Testing and Assessment of samples for compliance with Standards
    * Assessment and auditing of manufacturers premises
    * On-going surveillance audits of manufacturers premises

or

b) A “fast-track” process for countries where regulations still require the issuing of national Ex Certificates or approval. This is achieved by way of global acceptance of IECEx equipment Test and Assessment Reports.

Certificates issued by the IECEX Certified Equipment Scheme are issued as “Electronic Certificates” and are live on the IECEx Website. This enables full public access for viewing and printing. Visit the IECEx “On-Line Certificate” System
2. The IECEx Certified Service Facilities Scheme

This IECEx Scheme is an International Certification Scheme that covers the assessment and the on-site audit of organizations that provide services such as Repair and Overhaul service to the Ex industry.

Due to the very high capital investment made by industry in most Ex equipment it is much more economical to repair and overhaul equipment rather than to replace it with new. This also has obvious environmental benefits.

The challenge for industry is to ensure that all the very unique Ex safety features, included in the design and manufacturing of Ex equipment, are not compromised during the repair process.

Ex Repair and Overhaul Facilities and Workshops, certified under the IECEx Certified Service Facilities Scheme, provide industry with the assurance that repairs and overhaul to Ex equipment will be undertaken according to the strict requirements of IECEx Scheme to the International Standard IEC 60079-19

Like the IECEx Certified Equipment Scheme, only “Electronic Certificates” are issued via the “On-Line” system thereby giving industry full access to both the viewing and printing of certificates.
3. The Ex Mark of Conformity System

This IECEx System is an International Conformity System where a Mark of Conformity will be granted by approved IECEx certifiers (ExCBs) located in IECEx participating countries for equipment that is covered by an IECEx Certificate of Conformity and hence has been tested and manufactured under systems that are under ongoing surveillance by ExCBs.

It will help governments, safety regulators, and industry to have greater assurance that the equipment being operated or supplied for use in areas where flammable gases and vapours and combustible dusts (termed explosive atmospheres) are present, meet the world’s most respected and vigorous safety standards.

The Mark shall only be placed on products or on packaging and promotional material covered by a valid IECEx Certificate of Conformity issued in accordance with the IECEx System rules.
4. IECEx Certification of Personnel Competencies (CoPC)

This IECEx Scheme is an International Conformity Scheme that provides the global Ex industries with a single system for the assessment and qualification of persons meeting the competency prerequisites needed to properly implement the safety requirements based on the suite of IEC International Standards covering explosive atmospheres, e.g. the IEC 60079 and IEC 61241 series of standards.

The Certification of Personnel Competencies (CoPC) Scheme provides the international Ex industries with a qualification system that is transportable across borders.
Applications

Ex equipment Manufacturers, Ex Service Providers and persons seeking IECEx certification can apply to IECEx Certification Bodies (termed ExCBs), in any country.

Countries and Certification Bodies can apply to become members of the IECEx System with Certification bodies able to issue IECEx Certificates once accepted according to the application procedures.

Rules of the IECEx System including Rules of Procedures are available, free of charge, from the IECEx website

National Member Bodies of the IEC System make application for their country to participate in the IECEx System on a Standard-by-Standard basis. The application is made to the Secretary of the Ex Management Committee.

Certification bodies and testing laboratories wishing to be accepted into the IECEx System must reside in a participating country. Their application for acceptance is made through their National Member Body of the IECEx System for the country in which they reside.

Certification bodies and testing laboratories are accepted into the IECEx System after satisfactory assessment of their competence. Assessors are selected who will provide confidence to regulatory authorities, users, manufacturers and certification bodies.. ISO/IEC Standards and Guides 17025, 65 and IECEx Technical Guidance Documents are used as part of the IECEx assessment process.

Information available at the IECEx website