What is the Difference Between ATEX and IECEx Certification?


What is the Difference Between ATEX and IECEx Certification?

ATEX or IECEx certified products are essential in any location that may contain, or has activities that produce explosive or potentially explosive atmospheres. There are a number of places that could be defined as being in an explosive atmosphere, some more obvious such as an oil rig, and others that you might not think of as being particularly explosive, such as a flour mill.

Most of us have heard of ATEX and IECEx certification, but the question that a lot of people ask is what makes them different? Here we share our expertise on each certification and identify their differences.



The name ATEX comes from the French ATmosphère EXplosibles, describing the equipment and use of a product to be located in an explosive atmosphere. The ATEX certification is mandatory across Europe and involves all stages from the manufacture, through to the installation and use of the equipment. There are two parts which can be defined as;
Directive 99/92/EC – The ATEX Use Directive focuses primarily on the health and safety of workers, working in potentially explosive atmospheres. It involves the correct selection, installation, inspection and maintenance of Ex equipment.
Directive 2014/34/EU – The ATEX Equipment Directive primarily concerned with trade, considers the equipment that will be used in potentially hazardous areas and involves the manufacture and sale of Ex equipment.


IECEx stands for International Electrotechnical Commission Explosive. While ATEX is a mandatory application limited to Europe, IECEx is an international certification accepted in several countries to help build confidence in the safety of Ex equipment. It also facilitates international trade of equipment and services for use in explosive atmospheres.
Some of the benefits in choosing a product that has IECEx certification include;

  • Reduced testing and certification costs
  • Reduced time to market
  • International confidence in the product assessment process

As with ATEX certification, IEC Ex provides assurance and a knowing that everything from the equipment and install through to the manufacture, operation and maintenance of the certified products comply with IEC international standards and are suitable for their purpose.

Although there are some small differences between each certification, ATEX and IEC Ex are very similar. The main difference is the geographical location where the certification is recognised and accepted. While ATEX is a requirement in Europe, IEC Ex is accepted across several countries internationally.


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