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ATEX is a European Union directive that regulates the protection against explosive atmospheres. It is an abbreviation for "ATmosphères EXplosibles." There are two ATEX directives: the ATEX 137 directive (workplace safety directive) and the ATEX 95 directive (product directive). These directives establish the minimum requirements that an employer or manufacturer must meet to ensure the protection of employees and the environment in areas with potentially explosive atmospheres.

Regarding the sampling of bulk materials, ATEX plays a crucial role when these materials are flammable or when they are handled in an environment where flammable gases, vapors, or dust may be present. Examples of such materials include sampling coal, grain, or certain chemicals.

Automated sampling systems used in such environments must be designed and constructed to minimize the risk of ignition sources. This can be achieved through the use of explosion-proof materials, avoidance of sparks, limitation of operating temperatures, and other measures.

These systems must be certified according to the ATEX directives to demonstrate their compliance with the required safety standards. Compliance with the ATEX directives is not only a legal requirement but also helps ensure workplace safety and prevent serious accidents.