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TRaC achieves IECEx qualification

26 April 2010

Manufacturers of equipment designed for operation in hazardous areas and explosive atmospheres can simplify the process of marketing their products internationally, using the services of test house TRaC, which is now qualified under the IECEx System.

TRaC achieves IECEx qualification
TRaC achieves IECEx qualification

IECEx is an internationally-recognised Conformity Assessment System that runs under the auspices of the IEC; it deals with equipment that operates in any environment where there is a risk of explosion due to the materials used within it.  Under a designation accepted in, currently, 31 countries, all such locations are known as Ex Areas, and products tested and found to be safe for use in those areas, as Ex Equipment.  Using an electronic certification scheme, equipment that has passed all the required tests is listed on a single database, and is accepted as the basis for national approval in any of the participating countries: manufacturers can reduce costs and time-to-market using this effective short-cut.

TRaC now offers IECEx services, including the capability to test and certify equipment, enabling it to be sold in any IECEx participating countries - which include the UK, USA, and Canada, and also emerging markets such as Russia, China, Brazil and India.  IECEx operates alongside existing certification schemes such as the European ATEX product directive for hazardous location equipment.  While there are detailed differences between certification regimes, TRaC – as a facility qualified in both ATEX and IECEx systems – can construct a single test programme that accommodates any additional testing.

Ex Equipment certification applies to a much wider range of equipment than might at first be thought.  In addition to the obvious hazardous-areas such as oil refineries, fuel stations and sugar processing facilities, Ex Areas include such diverse environments as paint spray booths (due to the presence of flammable solvents) and wood- and metal-workshops (where there can be highly flammable dust residues).

By adding the IECEx qualification to its range of services, TRaC now offers a solution to a potential bottleneck in the process of bringing a wide range of Ex Equipment to market.  While the number of certificates issued under the IECEx System has multiplied by a factor of six in just five years, the number of facilities authorised to test and certify products has not even doubled, leading to extended lead times in provision of testing services.

For a certificate to be issued under the IECEx System, not only must a product successfully undergo a rigorous test programme, but an on-going audit process of the manufacturer’s own systems and methodologies must also be put in place.  TRaC can now offer a comprehensive service comprising all of the elements an Ex Equipment manufacturer needs to take a product into global markets.

For equipment designers and manufacturers new to the IECEx system, TRaC has produced a White Paper, “Guide to EX Certification” that explains the process in detail for project managers and test engineers.

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