OEM Group’s ATEX-approved starting systems provide guaranteed engine starting in hazardous environments such as offshore platforms, drilling rigs and mines.

These truly independent starting systems do not depend on electrical power to start critical equipment such as fire pumps, emergency generators, wire lines and compressors. From the freezing temperatures off the Siberian coast to the baking heat of the Arabian deserts, OEM’s ATEX-approved starting systems provide reliable starting for critical equipment.

Pre-engaged Starter Motors

OEM Group designs and build pre-engaged starter motors to satisfy ATEX-requirements to EN1834-1 and 2 which is related to diesel engines operating in explosive atmospheres. The OEM Group pre-engaged starter motors wait until the starter motor’s pinion has engaged with the engine’s ring-gear before rotating and cranking the diesel engine. This eliminates the risk of sparks being generated by traditional inertia engagement.

Cast Iron Construction

OEM Group’s pre-engaged hydraulic starters are unique. Unlike models from other companies, they use cast iron construction to eliminate any aluminium content. ATEX recommends against using aluminium; it is difficult for a starter with an aluminium casing to pass ATEX’s constructional safety requirements. In most parts of the world, aluminium is banned from all underground mines.

There are good reasons to limit the use of aluminium. Aluminium is the primary fuel for a thermite reaction, 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. It is inviting disaster to allow the possibility of such a reaction in 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. All of our starters, inertia and pre-engaged are available with beryllium-copper pinions to further reduce the risk of sparks when the pinion engages with the ring-gear. This is not ATEX compliant (which is mandatory in the EU/EEA and adopted in many other parts of the world) but satisfies certain “rig-safe” applications.

Understanding ATEX safety

Since launching our first ATEX-approved starter in 1972 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.

Safety is not cheap. Nor is it quick. But with OEM, at least safety can be easy. We understand the implications of ATEX-approval so you don’t have to. In the long run, it’s cheaper than reading “if only…” in an accident report.

ATEX approval for hydraulic and air starters

OEM Group supplys both hydraulic and air starters in our ATEX-approved range. The application and environment dictates which is most appropriate.

Many underground vehicles, wire lines and cranes use hydraulic starting systems because they have existing hydraulic systems in place on the vehicle or crane. Adding the hydraulic starter is straight-forward, and as hydraulic starting systems are self contained and sealed, they are ideal for underground, and dusty environment use, as well as allowing the equipment to comply to ATEX.

Air starting systems are more popular where no hydraulic systems are in place, and many are used offshore and in marine and shipping industry where there is an abundance of air which can easily be used