Safety for potentially explosive atmospheres with electrically conductive PRE-ELEC® plastics


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 suffer damage or even burn down.

This kind of explosion could happen at a gas station, a coal mine, or a bakery. A better-known example is the danger of smoking at a gas station. But many people don't realize that baking flour, for example, 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—1012 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's 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. 

A mining environment, an example of ATEX environments

Mines are often Ex environments and need ATEX certified equipment

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

We have collected here some questions on ATEX from our customers and Premix colleagues. Riku Vuorinen, our trusted external expert, has provided the answers. Contact us if you have any further questions!


Riku Vuorinen works as a Senior Expert and Lead Auditor in Eurofins Expert Services Oy. He is responsible for the Notified Body functions under the European ATEX Directive as well as the certification services according to the IEC explosion protection standards. Riku is also a member of several working groups of international Ex-standardization.


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