History of: HAZARDOUS AREA CERTIFIED INSTRUMENTS
In Australia and New Zealand, there are regulations that need to be complied with regarding electronic installations in hazardous areas or environments – which are set by the electrical regulatory authorities, departments of mines, department of labour and industry, and the insurance industry.
These authorities’ standards are maintained through membership committees such as Joint Standards Australia/Standards New Zealand Committees EL-104, Electrical Equipment in Hazardous Area and EL-023, Electrical Equipment in Coal Mines… who prepare standards that account for conditions and risks of specific hazardous areas.
Some 40 years ago there was seen to be a need for these authorities to participate in a national certification scheme… and below is an outline of the following actions:
1906’s – Standards Australia set up an approvals type scheme for Ex equipment, operating under the direction of the P-003 Committee, and referred to in later years as the P3 scheme. Under this Scheme, Committee P-003, Certification of Explosion-Protection Electrical Equipment met every two months to consider applications using test reports and samples to arrive at a decision. The committee comprised of representatives from State electric and mining regulatory authorities, and was responsible for considering applications for certification, authorising the issue of Certificates of Compliance or Statements of Opinion, and advising regulatory authorities and industry on matters relating to the application of Australian Standards to electrical equipment for use in hazardous areas.
1 July 1993 – The next phase of the Scheme was introduced when MP 69—1993 superseded MP 42—1990, and implemented a new program for the Australian Ex Certification Scheme, managed by the new Ex Mark Certification Management Committee P-008 and administered by Quality Assurance Services (QAS).
This phase of the Scheme, known as the AUS Ex Scheme, served the Australian industry well, but Australia’s participation in the new international IEC Ex Scheme meant that a review of the Scheme was required, to ensure that this Scheme could continue to cater to the needs of industry. Therefore, a review of the operational procedures was conducted with the aim of accommodating Australian and New Zealand participation in the IEC Ex Scheme, as well as aligning with the international practice for Conformity Assessment.
Another major reason for the review was the ongoing publication as Joint Australian/New Zealand Standards of IEC Standards as well as the acceptance of other relevant IEC Standards in the field of Hazardous Areas/Explosive Atmospheres. This created the need to incorporate all these adopted and accepted Standards in the Scheme.
2002 – Until now the Scheme served the industry well as an ISO Type 1 (Type Test) Scheme; however the ever-changing industrial and commercial climate with company acquisitions, takeovers, mergers and collaborations highlighted the limitations of a Type Test Certification… the definition of manufacturer will need to be strictly applied to identify whom they may be.
Such difficulties have led many overseas approval and certification agencies to include assessment of manufacturer’s Quality Management Systems (incorporating the relevant Product Quality Plans) as a mandatory requirement of Ex Certification.
It was due to this set of circumstances that the Joint Policy Committee, P-008, has endorsed the inclusion of the ANZEx Quality Management System Requirements as a mandatory aspect of the ANZEx Scheme. It should be noted that from the introduction of the AUSEx Scheme there was a clear intention to include Quality Management System Requirements in the Scheme.
June 2014 – Standards Australia Committee P-008 was renamed MS-067 with no change to its function.
The latest revision, the ANZEx Scheme, has introduced changes to provide greater flexibility and choice of Certification Bodies by the users. Additionally it follows closely the principles of Certification used in the IECEx Scheme in which Australia and New Zealand are participating members.
This Scheme, as it adapts through its successive phases of development, has proven to be an effective and useful tool for industry. This situation is only made possible through the active participation of all industry sectors, i.e. manufacturers, equipment users, electrical regulators, testing and Certification Bodies, in the complete process of developing suitable Australian and Joint Australian/New Zealand Standards through to the setting of policy for the ANZEx Scheme.
It is anticipated that, as governing bodies gain confidence in the certification process, they can gradually move away from formal approval processes to deem that a product is approved if it has been certified under an appropriate certification scheme (such as the ANZEx Scheme) to a particular Standard.
For further information or enquiries regarding Hazardous Area Instrument Certification, don’t hesitate to contact the precision instrument experts at DG Instruments today!