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ATEX certified refrigerators: what is ATEX certification and why do you need an ATEX certified refrigerator?

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Alex Henderson

Aston Business School graduate who has been the Managing Director of Henderson Biomedical since January 2015. Passionate about helping laboratories keep their vital equipment operational and compliant. Architecture enthusiast, fitness fanatic and dog lover!

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Laboratory refrigerators can be used to store all sorts of items. From biological samples to temperature sensitive vaccines, the possibilities are endless. Furthermore, laboratory refrigerators can be used, not just in a clinical setting, but also in an educational and industrial one. In some instances, the user may need to store volatile substances and a certification called ‘ATEX’ may be required.  In this month’s blog, we take a look at the ATEX certified refrigerators and why you may need one.

What is ATEX certification?

ATEX is a French abbreviation for ‘Appareils destinés à être utilisés en Atmosphères Explosives’. This translates in English to ‘Devices intended for use in explosive atmospheres’. The ‘ATEX’ comes from the first two letters of the French words ‘Atmosphères Explosives’.

ATEX is actually the name given to two European Directives for controlling explosive atmospheres:

  • Directive 99/92/EC

The Directive covering the minimum requirements needed for the protection of workers at risk from explosive atmospheres.

  • Directive 94/9/EC

The Directive covering equipment that is intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres.

An ATEX certified refrigerators are concerned with Directive 94/9/EC.  These refrigerators will come with a separate certification which is usually supplied by the manufacturer.

How does ATEX certification apply to refrigerators?

Many refrigerators have an internal light, a fan and a thermostat. When these devices are turned on, they produce a very small electrical spark. This spark can cause flammable substances being stored in the refrigerator to explode. This is because flammable substances can emit vapours which will react with any spark, regardless of how minimal that spark actually is.

Refrigerators that are ATEX certified have had all sources of ignition removed from the internal chamber. This makes it safe to store flammable substances in these types of refrigerators.

It is worth noting that you should never store open containers of flammable substances inside a refrigerator, even if it is ATEX certified. This is recommended by all manufacturers of ATEX certified refrigerators.

How Henderson Biomedical can help

Henderson Biomedical are able to supply a range of ATEX certified refrigerators. For more information on the ATEX certified refrigerators we are able to provide, please contact us using the online form or by calling our friendly team on 020 8663 4610.

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