Manufacturer’s FAQs – The ‘New’ ATEX Directive

ATEX Directive 2014/34/EU

Equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres

Further to our earlier publications on the ‘New’ ATEX Directive 2014/34/EU, a number of questions have been raised by our customers.  In order to help you understand how the new Directive affects you, based on the latest information from the European Commission, we have provided answers below to those questions.

When do we have to use the new Directive?

Although it has been published, it does not become ‘effective’ until 20th April, 2016.  Notified Bodies are, therefore, unable to issue certificates stating compliance with this new Directive and manufacturers are not permitted to issue Declarations of Conformity stating compliance with 2014/34/EU before 20th April, 2016.

However, the latest information from the European Commission is that manufacturers may issue Declarations of Conformity stating compliance to both 94/9/EC and 2014/34/EU alongside their respective dates of application.  Therefore the declaration may state conformity with 94/9/EC up to, and including, 19th April, 2016 and also state conformity with 2014/34/EU on, and after, 20th April, 2016.

When will Sira be a Notified Body to 2014/34/EU?

Currently there are no Notified Bodies which are notified for the new ATEX Directive.  The process of notifying bodies to the new Directive is underway but all Notified Bodies will be ‘Notified’ on the same date.

When can I receive an EU-Type Examination Certificate to 2014/34/EU?

When can I receive a Quality Assurance Notification (QAN) to 2014/34/EU?

All Notified Bodies are not permitted to issue EU-Type Examination Certificates to 2014/34/EU until 20th April, 2016 and are not permitted to issue EC-Type Examination Certificates to 94/9/EC after 19th April, 2016.

There is no requirement for manufacturers to have an EU-Type Examination Certificate to 2014/34/EU in order to make a Declaration of Conformity to 2014/34/EU.  This is due to 2014/34/EU article 41, clause 2 which states that certificates issued under Directive 94/9/EC shall be valid under this Directive.

The same is also true of Quality Assurance Notifications (QAN).  QANs will be issued to 2014/34/EU when they are reissued after the completion of the holder’s next scheduled assessment.

Will there be a transition period from 94/9/EC to 2014/34/EU?

The period from the publication of the Directive, on 29th March, 2014, to the effective date, on 20th April, 2016, is the transition period.  In this transition period manufacturers are to make preparations to ensure conformity with the new Directive on its effective date.  There is no overlapping of the Directives, the old Directive ceases to be effective after 19th April, 2016 and the new Directive becomes effective after 19th April, 2016.

However, the European Commission permits Declarations of Conformity to state compliance to both 94/9/EC and 2014/34/EU alongside their respective dates of application.  Therefore the declaration may state conformity with 94/9/EC up to, and including, 19th April, 2016 and also state conformity with 2014/34/EU on, and after, 20th April, 2016.

Will manufacturers be permitted to issue Declarations of Conformity for any period of time stating both Directives or will the current ruling that Declarations of Conformity issued up to 19th April, 2016 state 94/9/EC only and 2014/34/EU on and after 20th April, 2016?

The European Commission permits Declarations of Conformity to state compliance to both 94/9/EC and 2014/34/EU alongside their respective dates of application.  Therefore the declaration may state conformity with 94/9/EC up to, and including, 19th April, 2016 and also state conformity with 2014/34/EU on, and after, 20th April, 2016.

Will we need to update our certificate by 20th April, 2016 to be able to sell products after that date?

If a new certification project was to be started and completed before 20th April, 2016 and put on the market, would there need to be any additional costs or paperwork changes to be done so that it could be used after the transition date of 20th April, 2016?

If a new certification project was to be started and completed before 20th April, 2016 and put on the market after that date would there need to be any additional costs or paperwork changes to be done so that it could be used?

No.  2014/34/EU contains a clause stating that certificates issued under Directive 94/9/EC shall be valid under this Directive. Therefore, certificates to 94/9/EC do not need updating to 2014/34/EU. There is no time limit associated with this either.

Will we need to make any changes to our Declaration of Conformity for products placed on the market on and after 20th April, 2016?

Yes.  As 94/9/EC is no longer effective after 19th April, 2016 you cannot declare conformity to it.  As a result your Declaration of Conformity must declare conformity to 2014/34/EU for new products “placed on the market” after this date.

However, the European Commission permits Declarations of Conformity to state compliance to both 94/9/EC and 2014/34/EU alongside their respective dates of application.  Therefore the declaration may state conformity with 94/9/EC up to, and including, 19th April, 2016 and also state conformity with 2014/34/EU on, and after, 20th April, 2016.

When will the ATEX Guidelines be updated to address 2014/34/EU?

The ATEX Guidelines have been completely re-written for 2014/34/EU.  They now follow the structure of other Directive guidelines by providing guidance and information on each clause, rather than on topical subjects.  The document has grown in size significantly as a result.  Its publication date is yet to be confirmed.

For the marking of the manufacturer’s address on products – what degree of traceability is required for low value/small size products e.g., do small cable glands need to meet all the marking requirements?  What if there isn’t enough space on the product?

The ‘Blue Guide’ on the implementation of EU product rules, section 4.2.2 on traceability provisions contains a section on the requirements to indicate name and address for manufacturers.  Here, examples are provided which answer this question more thoroughly than can be provided in this article.

Are variations to existing certificates which are to 94/9/EC allowed under the new Directive?  Can an EU-Type Examination Certificate be issued as a re-issue of an existing certificate and will the certificate number have to change?

After the new Directive becomes effective on 20th April, 2016, variations to existing certificates which are to 94/9/EC can be updated without the certificate number changing.  Sira will reissue the certificate, as it currently does for all variations, but reference to 94/9/EC will be replaced with 2014/34/EU and EC-Type Examination Certificates will become EU-Type Examination Certificates.

Note that certificates do not have to be re-issued because they refer to 94/9/EC.  2014/34/EU contains a clause stating that certificates issued under Directive 94/9/EC shall be valid under this Directive. Therefore, certificates to 94/9/EC do not need updating. There is no time limit associated with this either.

Is a Quality Assurance Notification (QAN) considered to be a certificate for the purposes of Article 41? When an existing QAN expires, can the new QAN under the new Directive be issued under the old Directive if there has been no change to the product?

A QAN is considered to be a certificate, so the clause in 2014/34/EU which states that certificates issued under Directive 94/9/EC shall be valid under this Directive also applies to QANs. Therefore, QANs to 94/9/EC do not need updating but will be updated at the next revision/re-issue of that QAN.

What are the requirements for the name and address of the importer to be placed on the product nameplate?

The ‘Blue Guide’ on the implementation of EU product rules, section 4.2.2 on traceability provisions contains a section on the requirements to indicate name and address of the importer.  Here, information is provided which answers this question more thoroughly than can be provided in this article.  The definition of an importer may also be found in the ‘Blue Guide.’

What are the differences between importer and distributer in the supply chain?

The definitions of manufacturer, authorized representative, importer and distributor are all provided in the ‘Blue Guide.’

Annex X of the new Directive talks about the object of the declaration, what is this?

The object of the declaration is the identification of the product allowing traceability and is simply any relevant information supplementary to the identifying number of the product that describes the product to facilitate its identification and traceability. It may contain an image of the product if it is relevant, but is left to the discretion of the manufacturer as to how this is applied.

A. C. Smith

Certification Manager – Ex Products

Further information – please click on the following links to read the latest information from the European Commission and to download a copy of the Blue Guide.