What is an Atex Vacuum?

What is an Atex Vacuum?

What Is an ATEX Vacuum? 

It is a powerful industrial vacuum cleaner that has been specifically engineered to SAFELY clean explosive atmospheres.  Yes, safe and explosive aren’t two words typically used in the same sentence, but that’s where ATEX comes into its own.

To understand why, let’s go back to Health and Safety, and understand “fire” basic…


What makes a Fire Hazard: 

Well, it’s a mix of three things: Oxygen, Fuel & Heat.  

So let’s just imagine we’re cleaning a bakery.  We have Oxygen and Combustible airborne flour dust, which would be the Fuel.  All that’s missing, thankfully, is Heat.  

All it takes is a stray spark, or a random particle on a hot motor, and we have “Heat”.  An ignition source in this sort or environment could cause this flammable mist to explode. 


What is Combustible dust? 

Combustible dust is made up of tiny particles of matter, such as flour, sugar or wood dust that are flammable once airborne.   Suspended in a dust cloud, oxygen surrounds these tiny particles, making them quick and easy to ignite.  

The right (or should we say, wrong) mix of airborne hazardous dust, oxygen and ignition source can have severe consequences.  This makes cleaning flammable dust very challenging and potentially dangerous without the right equipment. 


Examples of Combustible Dust: 

Foodstuffs:  Sugar, Flour, Corn, Powdered Milk, Egg White, Spices

Manufacturing: Wood & Paper Dust, Pharmaceutical, Rubber, Polythene, dyes, aluminium, iron, magnesium.


What are the ignition source risks in an ATEX environment? 

There are typically three risks associated with cleaning in explosive zones when using vacuuming equipment.  These relate back to “Heat”. 

  • Operational Heat:  When exposed to higher temperature, these deposits start to become thermally unstable.   Something as simple as a few stray dust particles smouldering on a warm motor could be prove hazardous.   
  • Electrostatic Charge:  This is static electricity that builds up through friction between non-conductors.  This could come about from a something as simple as a vacuum hose rubbing against flour deposits on the floor.  
  • Thermite Charge:  Or Exothermic reaction, is the chemical result of certain metals coming into contact.   Just knocking an aluminium end tool against a rusty steel pipe could result in sparks.    


An ATEX safety Vacuum has been designed and constructed from the ground up, to remove the ignition source. It makes vacuuming safe by removing the “Heat” from the fire triangle.

So, let’s “pop the hood” of a skyVac ATEX system and find out what makes it so special. 


Meet the skyVac Atex 37G.  

A powerful, Atex certified,  industrial vacuum engineered from base to brush for the safe and effective cleaning of Zone 22 Locations.  Suitable for high level projects up to 12M / 40ft, the system comes with lightweight interconnecting carbon fibre suction poles, necks and end tools.  

Brushless Motor: 

There are two types of motors.  A brushed motor, which generates suction power mechanically with rotating brushes. Or, a brushless motor, which uses rotating magnets to electrically generate power. 

The brushless system, as featured in the Atex 37G,  is frictionless,  which minimises operational heat and static charge.  With less wear and tear, the motors require less maintenance making them ideal for a sealed unit. 

The vac head is also earthed to prevent any risk from static charge. 

Sealed Unit & High Filtration System:

Preventing air flow going through the motor housing and over the windings is important is the safe removal of hazardous dust.  

By combining a high filtration system with a sealed vac head, the risk of stray particles getting into the internal workings are eliminated.  The deep, star shaped filter can be maintained during use with a “Pull Clean”.  This drawers air into the system, redistributing the dust for improved on-going performance.    

Anti-Static Carbon Fibre Poles and Accessories. 

For safe dust removal, the high reach suction poles and end tools are all engineered from anti-static carbon fibre materials.  

Customise your high reach set up to safely clear hazardous dust from, walls, vents, electrical tracks, pipes, as well as low level clean up. 


So there you have it, Spinaclean’s guide to Atex and what you need to know to safely keep on top of Zone 22 cleaning. 

For more information on Atex and Explosive atmospheres, please refer to HSE.Gov.Uk

Published:  06/04/22.    Copyright© 2022 Spinaclean Ltd, all Rights Reserved.