To fully comply with European legislation, articulated forklifts operating in potentially explosive atmospheres require modification to safely reduce the risk of ignition. But what does this involve when placing trucks into densely populated manufacturing and logistics operations, where one small spark could cause an explosion?

Firstly, manufacturers (OEMs) of articulated forklift trucks rely on the expertise of conversion companies (like Pyroban) when they take on the responsibility of placing their equipment into ATEX hazardous areas.

The Regulations

Explosion protection conversions ensure trucks conform with ATEX 2014/34/EU requirements using standards such as EN1755:2015, which covers all equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres. For example, a chemical factory or solvent based paint warehouse that needs to comply with ATEX 1999/92/EC and keep their people safe.

The difference between certification for Zone 1 and Zone 2 areas

For Zone 1 applications (higher risk), components are certified by specialist third parties (ATEX Notified Bodies), but for Zone 2 applications (lower but not NO risk), conversion companies can self-certify.

It is this self-certification that leaves the approach open to interpretation by conversion companies. Unfortunately, this is where we see some businesses cutting corners to reduce the cost and time, which can leave end user’s operation exposed to serious explosion risk.

How to check if you are making the right decision

Our advice to dealers and OEMs of articulated lift trucks across the world is to conduct due diligence and correctly audit the conversion companies to ensure that the ATEX approach and build quality is at a level that you would expect.

Individual Zone 2 truck conversions can also be certified by Notified Bodies to provide confidence rather than just rely on the self-certification issued by the conversion company.

ATEX conversionsFor all ATEX conversions, every single component needs to be properly assessed and appropriate actions taken (replaced, interfaced, tested or modified where necessary) which involves thorough design processes and quality of the build.

As a supplier to a high risk industry, it’s important to remember the basics of the ignition triangle and that explosion protection is not an add-on like a light, weigh scale or attachment. Safety at this level cannot be rushed or compromised, so ask yourself, would you be happy to personally operate that ATEX articulated truck converted by your selected conversion company all day in a potentially explosive atmosphere for a five-year contract? If so, then you know you are doing the right thing.

If there are any doubts, talk to Pyroban.

Here’s five reasons why Pyroban continues to stand out and why the company is still considered the “best in class” after 50 years and tens of thousands of conversions, including hundreds of articulated forklift trucks.

For more information email or call +44 (0) 1273 456800.