Atex Industrial Vacuums

ATEX industrial vacuums are also referred to as “explosion-proof”, but what is ATEX and when do you need to use a Nilfisk ATEX vacuum cleaner?

What is ATEX?

ATEX is an acronym for ATmospheres EXplosible and is governed by a set of directives and standards for the protection against the risk of explosion where flammable gas or dust may be present. This incorporates any hazardous or potentially explosive environments, some of which may surprise you, including both gaseous (mainly petrochemical) as well as dust, from substances such as flour, sawdust and tea. In environments where there is sufficient concentration of these types of substances, when mixed with air, an ignition source can cause an explosion. If you want to learn more about the ATEX directive, you can download our free ATEX guide here.

All the models within the Nilfisk ATEX vacuum cleaner range are manufactured to these set standards and are ATEX certified to give our customers complete peace of mind.

How/why do gas and dust explode?

Three elements are required for the explosion to occur; 1) Presence of a combustible substance, 2) Oxygen, 3) An ignition source. Vacuum cleaners operate with oxygen always present plus there are also dust clouds/potentially flammable gas or vapour which means two of the three elements are present when vacuum cleaning in ATEX zones areas. As such, a certified Nilfisk Atex Vacuum cleaner is designed to eliminate the third element, which is the ignition source or in other words, a spark or trigger. By preventing this spark, vacuum cleaning operations are made safe.

Common applications for ATEX vacuum cleaners

DUST APPLICATIONS: Food (both human and animal feeds), pharmaceuticals including herbal medicines, industrial, sawmills, plastics, paint-shops, chemicals, power generation, liquors and detergents.

GAS APPLICATIONS: Fuel stations, bio-energy, paint manufacture, solvents, chemicals, petrochemicals, industry, liquors, herbs and surface mining.

Note: These are not exhaustive lists, but merely examples of some of the common applications for ATEX zoned vacuum cleaners.

The ATEX directive clearly states that it is the customer’s responsibility to define and classify the zone/work area where the machine is to be used or installed. The manufacturer/supplier is not allowed to do this on behalf of their customer. As such, before purchasing an industrial vacuum cleaner, it is important for a trained professional to carry out a Risk Assessment, on behalf of the customer, of the areas in which the vacuum is to be used to identify if there are any areas which will fall into an ATEX zoned category, and if so, which one. Once this is established, a supplier such as ourselves, can put forward vacuums available within that ATEX certification for your consideration.

It is equally important to ensure that you source ATEX certified accessories and tools for use with your ATEX vacuum to ensure you are fully compliant (static shocks are a common indicator when the incorrect accessories are being used). If you purchase a Nilfisk ATEX vacuum cleaner, you can choose from a wide range of ATEX approved accessories to tailor the tooling to your specific industry requirements.

Further information on ATEX and Explosive environments can be found on the HSE website: https://www.hse.gov.uk/fireandexplosion/atex.htm

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