IECEx System Overview

September 13, 2018


1 In the beginning

It is the international certification system in the field of Ex equipment to which IEC standard is applied standard, and the following four schemes are operated as of September 13, 2018. It is the “Ceertified Equipment Scheme” that concerns Japan for the time being.
Certified Equipment Scheme (testing and assessment of Ex equipments)
・Certified Service Facilities Scheme (certification of Ex related service facilities)
・Certification of Personnel Competence Scheme (certification of experts who work in hazardous areas)
・Conformity Mark Licensing System (issuing a license that permits a product that has a certification of Certified Equipment Scheme to display the IECEx Conformity Mark)
Certified Equipment Scheme uses one type of standard (in principle the IEC standard) and one type of test / certification mechanism.
-One Test (One test only)
-One Certificate (Only one certificate of conformity)
-One Mark (Only one type of conformity mark)

The goal is to promote international trade in Ex equipment.

2 IECEx members

As of September 13, 2018, there were 33 member countries, and Japan joined as the 25th country in 2005. IECEx is a rule in which only one body in each country joins as a National Member Body, and Japanese member body is the “Japanese Industrial Standards Committee” (JISC; contact is the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Environment Bureau standard certification unit). The domestic deliberation body is “IECEx system domestic deliberation committee” (the secretariat is TIIS).

3 Mechanism

At the core of IECEx is the Management Committee (MC), which consists of executives and representatives of member countries. MC is under the supervision of the Conformity Assessment Board (CAB) of the IEC.
The Ex Testing and Assessment Group (ExTAG) is a member of all certification bodies (ExCBs) and testing laboratories (ExTLs) accepted by IECEx and is in charge of the technical aspects of IECEx.
Each IECEx MC and ExTAG has a WG to review specific issues and to draft rules and procedures. In addition to ExTAG, ExMarkCo (IECEx Conformity Mark Committee: Conforming Mark Committee), ExPCC (IECExPersonnel Certification Committee: Personnel Certification Committee), ExSFC (IECEx Service Facilities Committee), etc. are established. .
[Hereafter, an overview of the “Certified Equipment Scheme”]

4 IECEx rules

IEC CA 01: 2017 (2.0th ed.), Basic Rules

IECEx 01-S: 2017 (1.0th ed.), IECEx Supplement to Harmonized Basic Rules

IECEx 02: 2017 (6.1th ed.), Rules of Procedure

Operational Documents (ODs): Procedures commonly used by member bodies / organizations, which define certification, issuance of certificate of conformity, assessment of ExCB / ExTL, assessment of manufacturer’s quality system, etc.

5 Mechanism of Certification

5.1 Certification Types

Certification consists of type testing and an assessment of the quality management system applied to the manufacturing process. Type testing is performed in accordance with the IEC standards for each type of protection (conducted by ExTL). On the other hand, the assessment of the quality management system is conducted based on the procedure of IECEx (ISO/IEC 80079-34), which is based on ISO 9001 with the addition of application to Ex equipment (conducted by ExCB).
If it conforms to the type test, an ExTL-prepared, ExCB-endorsed Test Report (ExTR) will be issued, and if the quality management system meets the requirements, a Quality Assessment Report (QAR) will be issued. . Furthermore, based on both of these, the “IECEx System Certificateof Conformity” (IECExCoC) will be issued (these will be implemented by ExCB). The applicant (manufacturer of Ex equipment, etc.) can also request issuance of only ExTR or QAR (see the figure below).

5.2 Applicable standards

For certification, the current version and the previous version of the standards operated by IECEx, which is the standard for each type of protection (or each type of electrical equipment) created by the technical committee TC31 of the IEC, apply. The previous version is applied to cope with the transitional situation when there is a revision of the standard.
Types of protection for gas and vapor specified in the construction standards for explosion protected electrical equipment under the Industrial Safety and Health Act (flameproof enclosures, pressurized enclosure, increased safety, oil/liquid immersion, intrinsic safety, encapsulation, type of protection “n” respectively) is included in the standards operated by IECEx. The IEC standards also have a dust ignition protection by enclosure, which is also used by the IECEx, but it is different from the contents of the construction standards for explosion protected electrical equipment (dust ignition protection – ordinary dust-proof construction, dust ignition protection – special dust-proof construction).

5.3 ExCB and ExTL

ExTL (Testing Laboratory) conducts tests and produces ExTR (Test Report).
ExCB (Certification Body) issues ExTR to the applicant after guaranteeing ExTR. ExCB also assesses the manufacturer’s quality management system and issues a QAR. Furthermore, based on ExTR and QAR (Quality Assessment Report), ExCB issues IECExCoC (Certificate of Conformity).
There may be an ExCB-only agency or an ExTL-only agency. ExCB and ExTL may be the same organization, in which case the functionality of ExCB and ExTL must be differentiated within the organization. Agencies as ExTL can contract with multiple ExCBs to conduct testing.

5.4 Fast Track Process

Although the IECEx ExTR proves that a certain type of protedction conforms to the test specified in a specific IEC standard, the standard serving as the standard of certification (certification and test) in countries around the world is not limited to the IEC standard. Even if it conforms to the IEC standard, it does not necessarily correspond to the latest version of the IEC standard. There may be national differences between standards from country to country.
Therefore, in IECEx, “An organization that has become an ExCB receives an ExTR issued by a foreign ExCB and performs additional tests and evaluations for parts that do not meet the standards of its own country, then a national certificate is issued. This is called Fast Track Process or Fast Track Path, as it is expected that the time required for testing for foreign products will be shortened (descriptions are in IECEx options b) of INTRODUCTION of IECEx 02, 5.5 and 10.1).
The Fast Track Process is an interface between the IECEx system and the national certification system, which means that the ability to be an ExCB is limited to agencies that certify Ex equipments for their national certificate.

5.5 National Differences

IECEx publishes IECEx Bulletin in a timely manner (unscheduledly) to inform manufacturers, certifiers and testing institutes in each country of differences between the standards of each country and the IEC standards (as of September 13, 2018, 5th edition is the latest).
In Japan’s certification, Recommended Practices for Explosion-Protected Electrical Installations in General Industries (technical guidelines consistent with international standards) JNIOSH-TR-46-1 to -9: 2015 and JNIOSH-TR-46-2 to -5, -7,- 9: 2018 may be used. Although these guidelines conform to the IEC standards, there are National Differences due to differences in certification systems based on Japan’s certification system and differences between the version currently operated by IECEx and its contents. doing.
For the contents of National differences, refer to the National differences data (List of National Differences etc.) submitted to the IECEx Secretariat from JISC (Japanese Industrial Standards Committee / Japanese Industrial Standards Committee), which is Japan’s National Member Body under IECEx.

6 ExCB

6.1 Number of ExCBs

As of September 13, 2018, 61 ExCBs are recognized in 29 out of 33 member countries. There are four countries without ExCB (Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, United Arab Emirates).
ExCB is required to comply with the requirements of ISO / IEC 17065 (General Requirements for Product Certification Bodies). However, this standard is not required to have National Accreditation.

6.2 What can ExCB do and what should ExCB do.

・ExCB can issue a certificate of conformity that proves that the product conforms to the IEC standard to Japanese Ex equipment manufacturers. ExCB can also issue the relevant ExTR or QAR. This will help Japanese manufacturers to expand into foreign markets.
・ It is required to accept ExTR issued by foreign ExCB and utilize it for domestic examination. This does not mean that ExTR will be accepted as it is, but for tests that do not meet Japanese standards and / or doubtful data, ExTR shall be used as much as possible for tests with the same standard and criteria, assuming that separate tests and verifications will be conducted. It means to use (abbreviation of the practical examination). The acceptance of ExTR is the mutual acceptance of ExCB in the same position.

7 ExTL

As of September 13, 2018, 74 ExTLs are recognized in 28 out of 33 member countries. There are five countries without ExTL (Brazil, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, United Arab Emirates).
ExTL is required to comply with ISO / IEC 17025 (general requirements for laboratory and calibration facility capabilities). However, this standard is not required to have National Accreditation.