Plastics for ATEX equipment

News from Premix | February 11, 2021

Safety for potentially explosive 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.  

ATEX directive  

European Union's ATEX Directive (2014/34/EU) is meant to protect people and buildings from these accidental explosions. The two directives set requirements for equipment and the 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.

Electrically conductive plastics create safe 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 they can be customized to fulfill the customer specifications. 

Compared to metals, plastics are cheaper, lighter, and corrosion-resistant. The plastics can even be made flame retardant.  

Premix works together with the customer. 

We at Premix support our customers when designing ATEX compatible equipment. We have a large variety of electrically conductive plastics already available, and we often develop suitable materials with our customers.  

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. 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Read how our expert answers your questions on ATEX and compatible plastics.

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