Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Understand ATEX Two-Way Radios Certified Classification

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Before we look at an example of ATEX two-way radios, first we need to understand what ATEX is. ATEX certified classification is the name given to the two European Directives for controlling explosive atmospheres; Directive 99/92/EC and Directive 2014/34/EU. Electronic or electrical equipment of any type which is intended for use in a hazardous area must be ATEX certified.
ATEX certification for products used in potentially hazardous atmospheres is mandatory.  Explosive atmospheres can be caused by combustible dust, gases, vapors, or mists. If there is enough of the flammable substance, mixed with air, then all that is required to create a devastating explosion is a source of ignition. 

ATEX Two-Way Radios

As communication is critical in hazardous environments, the leading two-way radio manufacturers created a range of safe and effective ATEX two-way radios. If you intend to use two-way radio communications on-site, then understanding ATEX classification is crucial. As is checking the compatibility of the ATEX two-way radios with your hazardous zone(s) to ensure it complies with safe working conditions.

ATEX Classification

ATEX classification separates equipment into groups and categories which are then defined by the marking on the equipment.

ATEX Classification of an Area

Hazardous areas are divided into Zones (the UK, European, and IECEX) according to the potentially explosive atmosphere being present.

UK, European & IECEX classification

Definition of zone or division

Zone 0 (gases)


An area in which an explosive mixture is continuously present or present for long periods

Zone 20 (dust)

Zone 1 (gases)


An area in which an explosive mixture is likely to occur in normal operation

Zone 21 (dust)

Zone 2 (gases)


An area in which an explosive mixture is not likely to occur in normal operation and if it occurs it will exist only for a short time

Zone 22 (dust)

ATEX Product Marking

The ATEX directive requires the product to be marked with the CE mark, the ‘EX’ mark, and the equipment coding as per the table below.





atex two way radios

under the ATEX directive

Equipment Group


For use in underground mines


For use in all other places



Equipment that is intended for use in areas where an explosive atmosphere is present continuously, for long periods, or frequently


Equipment that is intended for use in areas where an explosive atmosphere is likely to occur in normal operation must ensure a high level of protection.


Equipment that is intended for use in areas where an explosive atmosphere is unlikely to occur in normal operation and must ensure a normal level of protection.

Gas / Dust


Equipment certified for use in flammable gases


Equipment certified for use where dust is present in the atmosphere

Type of Protection




Intrinsically Safe


Increased safety

Gas Group




The surface above ground industries

Gas Sub Group


Less easily ignited gases e.g. propane


Easily ignited gases e.g ethylene


Most easily ignited e.g. hydrogen or acetylene

Temperature Classification
Hazardous area apparatus is classified according to the maximum surface temperature produced under fault conditions at an ambient temperature of 40°C, or as otherwise specified. The standard classifications are as shown













MOTOTRBO DP4000 Series Atex Two-Way Radios Example

ATEX/IECEx Dust Protection Rating: 
ATEX: Class II 2D Ex ib, IIIC T130°C Db and IECEx: Ex ib IIIC, T130°C Db:

  • II: Group II, other environments, (chemical industries, refineries, etc.)
  • 2D: High protection, Category 2 equipment for Zone 21 and 22. D = Dust
  • Ex: Explosion-proof equipment, certified to European ATEX Directive and IECEx
  • IIIC: Enclosure certified for dust Zone 21 by IP rating
  • T130-C: Maximum enclosure surface temperature

ATEX/IECEx Gas Protection Rating:
ATEX: Class II 2G Ex ib, IIC T4 Gb and IECEx: Ex ib IIC T4 Gb

  • II: Group II ‘other’ environments
  • 2: High Protection, category 2 for Zone 1 and 2
  • G: Gas
  • Ex: Explosion-proof equipment, certified to European ATEX Directive and IECEx
  • ib: Type of ignition protection (Zones 1&2)
  • IIC: Protection in the most explosive gas environment (hydrogen)
  • T4: Temperature will not exceed 135°C

ATEX/IECEx Mining Protection Rating:
ATEX: Class I M2 Ex, ib I Mb and IECEx: Ex ib I Mb

  • I: Group I
  • M2: Category Equipment is intended for use in underground mines as well as surface installation of such mines likely to be endangered by firedamp and/or combustible dust
  • EX: Explosion-proof equipment
  • ib: Type of ignition protection (Zones 1&2)
  • I: Explosion Group, I = Methane

ATEX Two-Way Radios Summary

As you can see in the above example, ATEX two-way radios strictly adhere to the ATEX Certifed Classification guidelines. By understanding your own site environment and the health and safety risks that need to be considered, then it is possible to buy or hire the correct ATEX two-way radios for your site. This will allow you to conform to health & safety guidelines, protect your staff and ensure full communication is possible, even under the most harsh conditions.

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