ATEX Approved Starting

The ATEX regulations protect those working in hazardous environments (such as underground mines and oil platforms). They are considered hazardous because they contain highly flammable gasses and materials. In these workplaces an electric starter motor poses a serious risk as it produces a spark to start an engine.

IPU’s non-electric, ATEX-approved starting solutions are safe for use in hazardous environments. They use either air or hydraulic pressure to start the engine without creating a spark. This ensures safe, ultra-reliable engine starting for critical equipment such as fire pumps, emergency generators, wire lines and compressors.


Pre-engaged starter motors

Unlike traditional inertia starters, pre-engaged starter motors wait until the starter motor’s pinion has fully engaged with the engine’s ring-gear before rotating at high speed. This eliminates any risk of sparks being generated when the spinning pinion collides with the stationary ring-gear. IPU’s pre-engaged starter motors satisfy ATEX-requirements EN1834-1 and 2 which is related to diesel engines operating in explosive atmospheres.

ATEX approval

ATEX is one of the many standards to which IPU can produce starting systems


Cast iron construction

IPU’s ATEX-approved starting systems are unique. Unlike models from other companies, they use cast iron construction to eliminate any outer aluminium content. In fact, it is difficult for a starter with an aluminium outer casing to obtain ATEX certification as the safety standard recommends against using it. In most parts of the world, aluminium is actually banned from underground mines.

There are good reasons to limit the use of aluminium as it is the primary fuel for a thermite reaction. This is a chemical process that gives off so much heat it is used to weld railway tracks. As well as fuel, a thermite reaction requires an oxidiser such as iron(III) oxide – known to you and me as rust. To use this material is inviting disaster to a mine or other enclosed environment.

Aluminium-cased starters should not be used in any hazardous environment.


Non-spark pinions

In some parts of the world, where ATEX is not mandatory, beryllium copper non-spark pinions are used instead. All of our starters, inertia and pre-engaged are available with beryllium-copper pinions. This further reduces the risk of sparks when the pinion engages with the ring-gear. This satisfies certain “rig-safe” applications but by itself is not ATEX compliant. ATEX compliance is mandatory in the EU/EEA and adopted in many other parts of the world.


Understanding ATEX safety

Since launching our first ATEX-approved starter it has become clear that ATEX regulations are not fully understood by the industries they are meant to protect. We have come across numerous instances of inertia starters and aluminium casings being used in environments where they represent a realistic danger to operator health and safety.

IPU has a free handbook which you can download for free. It contains everything you need to know, including:

  • ATEX, what it is and where it comes from
  • What industries and activities it applies to
  • How it helps you
  • Obtaining ATEX approval
  • Why ATEX applies to engine starting

Get your copy of the handbook here.


ATEX approval for hydraulic and air starters

IPU ATEX-approved starting range includes both hydraulic and air starters. The application and environment dictates which is most appropriate. For example, many underground vehicles, wire lines and cranes already use hydraulic starting systems they there is an existing hydraulic infrastructure.

Air starting systems are popular where no hydraulic systems are in place. Many are used offshore and in marine applications where there is an abundance of compressed air.

    Jetstream 5 Air (Pneumatic) Starter Motor

    The Jetstream 5 air start motor is a pre-engaged starter motor capable of starting engines up to 80 litres. It's ideal for environments with explosive atmospheres (such as underground mines) as it is ATEX compliant.

    ATEX-approved starting
    M22 Pre-engaged Hydraulic Starter Motor

    IPU’s M22 pre-engaged hydraulic starter motor provides guaranteed reliability, no matter how challenging or unpredictable the environment. IPU's M22 hydraulic starter motors is ATEX-approved for use in both gas and mining environments.

    ATEX-approved starting
    M28 Pre-engaged Hydraulic Starter Motor

    IPU’s M28 pre-engaged hydraulic starter motor provides guaranteed reliability, no matter how challenging or unpredictable the environment. IPU's M28 hydraulic starter motor is ATEX-approved for use in gas and mining environments.

    hydraulic mini-packs
    Hydraulic mini-packs

    Hydraulic mini-packs are an ultra-reliable way of starting an engine up to 12 litres. They are widely used in marine environments for standby emergency starting for auxiliary generators. Hydraulic mini-packs are extremely convenient as they are delivered as completely assembled units.