16 February 2021
PRE-ELEC® conductive plastics are suited for ATEX and EX environments
Plastics can be a source of electric discharge if the resistance of the material is over 109 ohms. Using that kind of plastics in equipment might cause dangerous explosions in ATEX environments.
Premix's electrically conductive PRE-ELEC® plastics typically have much lower resistance, and can be customized to fulfill customer specifications.
Ensuring safe handling of hazardous materials
Unlike traditional plastics, electrically conductive plastic materials can be grounded and the generation of electrostatic charges eliminated.
Electrically conductive PRE-ELEC® compounds and concentrates ensure the safe handling of hazardous materials such as powders and liquids. Fulfilling the surface resistance requirement set for plastic materials used in ATEX applications, PRE-ELEC® compounds and concentrates are suitable for ATEX and EX environments.
Compared to metals, plastics are cheaper, lighter, and corrosion-resistant. The plastics can even be made flame retardant. The electrically conductive compounds and concentrates can be used for various solutions such as pipes and profiles, flexible hoses and grommets, canisters, pails, drums, and wheels. The processing of is easy and cost-efficient.
Customized solutions for ATEX environments
Together with Premix, we offer a broad range of electrically conductive plastics already available. We can also support customers in process of designing ATEX compatible equipment, developing materials tailored to the customer’s needs.
Premix provides raw material with specific material parameters like surface resistance and temperature stability. All materials and components have to pass the product's ex-certification process. The process depends on the equipment, chosen Ex-shielding methods, and the operating temperatures of the equipment.
Based on this information, Premix can recommend the best-fit material, but the equipment will receive the final and official material approval only from the Ex-certification testing.
What is ATEX?
ATEX is an abbreviation for “atmosphere explosible” and is the common name for the two European directives for controlling explosives atmospheres.
Imagine an environment where the air contains some potentially explosive substance like oil fumes, sawdust, or baking flour. Then some innocent equipment creates a spark of electricity that ignites the substance flowing in the air. People can get hurt in the explosion, and the buildings can damage or even burn down.
This kind of explosion could happen at a gas station, a coal mine, or a bakery. A more known example is the danger of smoking at a gas station. But many don't come to think that, for example, baking flour can be explosive. Or that electric discharge from an electrically resistant material can ignite an explosion.
European Union's ATEX directives are meant to protect people and buildings from these accidental explosions. The two directives set requirements for equipment and workplace. There's no specific directive for the raw materials used in the equipment, but the materials need to be compatible with the requirements for the whole equipment.