Relationship between IECEx, ATEX and cLCus
Hazardous Location equipment is used in multiple industries and markets around the world. In order to help facilitate acceptance of equipment in international trade, IECEx Certified Equipment Scheme is a system designed and implemented. As of 2020, there are currently 35 countries around the world that are part of the IECEx scheme. As per the IECEx scheme, testing for equipment used in hazardous location can be conducted by approved ExTLs (Test Lab) and ExCBs (Certification Body.) Since 2013, LabTest is an approved ExCB and ExTL to test and certify Ex equipment.
Once an equipment attains IECEx approvals and is listed on IECEx database by an approved ExCB, the test data and approval is globally accepted by other IECEx bodies in member counties around the world. This leads to lower certification cost and reduces time to market for the manufacturer. In order to get approvals in any of the countries that recognize the scheme, manufacturer has to apply with local IECEx certification bodies that operate in that country and they will mutually accept the testing that has already been conducted on the product and only apply national deviations additionally (if any) to grant certification.
In order to sell a product in European Union (EU) and affix it with “CE” mark, a manufacturer must meet requirements of directives that apply to their equipment. ATEX directive covers the requirements for products to be used in Hazardous Location areas that contain explosive gas, dust, mist, vapours etc. The directive contains consolidated list of harmonised standards as per Official Journal of the European Union that apply to equipment based on the intended use and protection methods.
(cLCus: approvals to CSA and UL standards for Canada and the USA)
LabTest is an accredited third-party ISO 17065 Certification Body, ISO 17025 Testing Laboratory, and ISO 17020 Inspection Body. This allows for products to be tested and certified by LabTest to standards as per the scope of accreditations. The scope contains multiple CSA and UL standards that are accepted in Canada and USA respectively. These standards are listed in Canadian Electrical Code and National Electrical Code and contain minimum safety standards that a product must meet depending on intended use and application of the product.
LabTest Certification authorizes the manufacturer to affix “LC” mark if the product has met all applicable requirements as per the CSA and/or UL standards. If a product carriers LC mark, it has been evaluated and approved/compliance with the applicable standards for the intended market.
When a product meets minimum requirements stated in the applicable standards, a certificate is issued for the product. This certificate lists the following information:
- scope of certification with the standards used;
- ratings of the product along with model numbers and/or serial numbers covered;
- limitations of use and installation (if any);
The certificate is information to the manufacturer and their end customer on validity and scope of approval for the product.
For Hazardous Location, IECEx approvals and Global Market Access (GMA) programs are a logical route to navigate the trade barriers. This allows mutual acceptance of testing conducted and only applying national deviations and requirements per country if any. Once a manufacturer has a roadmap of markets to penetrate, LabTest can provide a cost and time effective plan to attain approvals. For example, attaining IECEx allows products to enter Australian market however for Canadian and American markets, national deviations on IECEx standards along with Ordinary Location standard requirements must be met for the product. In both cases, the testing which has already been conducted for IECEx need not be repeated but, only additional testing and/or evaluation is needed for Canadian and/or USA markets.