Explosion protection: directives and standards

  • Explosion protection

    Explosion-proof products

    Our gear units, motors and gearmotors are ready to face any danger.

  • Explosion protection in accordance with ATEX

    Directive 94/9/EC or as of April 20, 2016 EU Directive 2014/34/EU

    governs explosion protection for all types of devices on the European market.

  • Explosion protection in accordance with IECEx

    The IECEx certification agreement

    ensures mutual recognition of testing for explosion-proof equipment.

  • Explosion protection in accordance with HazLoc-NA®

    Hazardous Location - North America

    certifies products for the North American market with the CSA C/US mark.

Explosion-proof products available worldwide

You need to install explosion-proof products or your system is in a potentially explosive atmosphere? Our products comply with the most important directives and standards worldwide.

Special measures are required for use of systems and machinery in areas with potentially explosive air/gas or air/dust mixtures. Applicable standards and regulations govern the use of equipment within existing hazard zones. The complex, internationally applicable requirements for use of gearmotors, motors or drive electronics in applications in potentially explosive atmospheres are defined for the global market in the most important directives and standards:

  • 2014/34/EU
  • IECEx
  • HazLoc-NA® (NEC500 and C22.2)

Our gearmotors meet the defined requirements for equipment used in potentially explosive atmospheres. Unlike the internationally recognised IECEx regulations or the North American regulations (HazLoc-NA®), the EU directive 94/9/EC (ATEX) also includes non-electrical equipment in explosion protection. We will gladly support you in selecting the appropriate device features – a checklist and inquiry form are available for download:

But which standards and directives do you need to comply with for worldwide use of your system? All the details, the precise worldwide assignment, and an overview of the zones and assignment to equipment categories or EPL (Equipment Protection Levels) are shown here.

Your benefits

  • Safe use

    Due to compliance with worldwide directives and standards for explosion-proof products.
  • Outstanding versatility

    Because our modular system offers numerous explosion-proof motors, gear units and gearmotors.
  • Worldwide availability

    Because our explosion-proof products comply with 94/9/EC (ATEX), IECEx and/or HazLoc-NA®.
  • Certified quality

    Thanks to involvement in the creation of standards, continuous quality control, and innovative research and development.

Fundamental information about explosion protection

Equipment groups, equipment categories and zones

The relationship between equipment groups, equipment categories and zones

Directive 2014/34/EU only defines the basic requirements. The product-specific requirements are defined in the various applicable standards. At the international level, IEC 60079-0 ("Explosive atmospheres - Equipment - General requirements") introduced the EPL (Equipment Protection Level). These Equipment Protection Levels identify suitability of equipment for potentially explosive areas according to the zone classifications.

With the new version of EN 60079-0, issued in 2010, EPLs were also incorporated into European standards. The equipment must be designed with explosion protection measures of different levels depending on the category or EPL.

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Gas (G) Dust (D)
IEC/EN 60079-0
Use in zone
IEC/EN 60079-0
Use in zone
Ga 1G 0 Da 1D 20
Gb 2G 1 Db 2D 21
Gc 3G 2 Dc 3D 22
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Gas groups, dust groups and use of equipment

Gas groups

Group II is reserved for devices for areas with potential risk of gas explosions. Electrical equipment in equipment group II is additionally divided into explosion groups IIA, IIB and IIC. The hazard increases from A to C.

Dust groups

are divided into additional subgroups:

• IIIA – flammable lint

• IIIB – non-conductive dusts

• IIIB – conductive dusts

The expansion of the standards also changes the Ex marking of motors that must be specified on the motor nameplate and elsewhere.

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Protection level Equipment in the group
Conductive dusts
Non-conductive dusts
Flammable lint
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Overview of explosion-proof equipment

The following table describes the assignment of explosion-proof equipment to equipment group II:

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  Equipment group II
With potentially explosive atmospheres due to gas or dust
Category 1 2 3
Potentially explosive atmosphere1) G D G D G D
Zone 0 20 1 21 2 22
Protection type:
Gear unit
- -
d, eb, i, p
h (c, k)

h (c, k)

h (c, k)

h (c, k)
  1. 1) G = gas atmosphere, D = dust atmosphere
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SEW­EURODRIVE only offers products in equipment group II for use in zones 1 and 2, as well as 21 and 22.

Ex markings for motors

With the designation of the explosion protection, you have to distinguish between the designation according to the directive (e.g. II2D) and the designation according to standard (e.g. Ex tb IIIC T120°C Db).

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We provide gearmotors and motors for use in potentially explosive atmospheres in accordance with the relevant European standards and IEC regulations. This means that the drives can be used both in the European Union, and in countries that recognise IECEx. This also applies to options and accessories in the explosion-proof version.

Ex labeling for gear units

The new EN ISO 80079-36 and -37

The new EN ISO 80079-36 and -37 standards specify the basic requirements for the design, construction, testing and labeling of non-electrical equipment intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres.

The new standard EN ISO 80079-36/-37 was published in the official journal of the European Union in 2016 and replaces the EN 13463-1/-5/-6/-8 standards. There is a transition period, which ends on October 31, 2019. The presumption principle for the old EN 13463-1/-5/-6/-8 standards expires on November 1, 2019.

SEW EURODRIVE has decided to apply the new standards at an early stage to give our customers the opportunity to evaluate their entire systems according to the new standards.

Labeling has changed significantly and has been adapted to the labeling system for electrical equipment.

The previous labeling with protection type "c" (protection by design safety) or "k" (protection by liquid immersion) has been dropped and replaced by the new letter "h".

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Equipment category Explosive atmosphere Old label to
EN 13463-1/-5/-8
New label to
EN ISO 80079-36/-37
2 Gases/vapors c,k T4/T120°C Ex h IIC T4 Gb
2 Dust/air mixtures Ex h IIIC T120°C Db
3 Gases/vapors c,k T4/T120°C Ex h IIC T4 Gc
3 Dust/air mixtures Ex h IIIC T120°C Dc
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Equipment sold within the scope of European Directive 2014/34/EU must be labeled in accordance with Directive 2014/34/EU in addition to carrying the standard label.

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Labeling in accordance with Directive
ATEX 2014/34/EU
Labeling to standard
EN ISO 80079-36/-37
(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9)
SEW image II 2 G Ex h IIC T4 Gb
SEW image II 2 D Ex h IIIC T120°C Db
SEW image II 3 G Ex h IIC T4 Gc
SEW image II 3 D Ex h IIIC T120°C Dc
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Position Identification Ref. Meaning
(1) EX logo for equipment SEW image Explosion protection identification
(2) Equipment group II Equipment outside of underground operations
(3) Equipment category 2 or 3 2 – suitable for zones 1 and 21
3 – suitable for zones 2 and 22
(4) Explosive atmosphere G or D G – suitable for gas, vapor, mist, etc.
D – suitable for dust
(5) Ex label Ex Ex label to
EN ISO 80079-36/-37
(6) Type of protection h Non-electrical equipment for use in potentially explosive atmospheres
(7) Suitable atmosphere IIC or IIIC IIC – suitable for gas
IIIC – suitable for conductive dust
(8) Permitted temperature T4 or
T4 – temperature class
T120°C – max. surface temperature
(9) Equipment Protection Level
Gb, Db or
Gc, Dc
Gb, Db – "high" protection level
Gc, Dc – "enhanced" protection level
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Example of gear unit nameplate:

SEW image

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