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What are Elfa's company details such as VAT number and Chamber of Commerce number?

Elfa Elementenfabriek B.V.
Madridstraat 5 – 7
1175 RK Amsterdam (Lijnden)
BTW: NL800906305B01
CoC: 33068133

Bank IBAN EUR: NL40INGB0007235888
Bank IBAN USD: NL65INGB0020030126
Bank IBAN GBP (UK) GB74BUKB20490843454959
Swift / BIC: BUKBGB22

How long ago was Elfa founded?

Elfa was founded over 100 years ago. Look here for more information on the history of Elfa.

What types of non-rechargeable batteries are there?

Alkaline batteries, lithium batteries and specialist batteries such as Air-alkaline and ZincAir-alkaline. Alkaline batteries are often affordable and ideal for applications where power consumption is usually low. Lithium batteries last up to 7 times longer and can offer a higher peak power. More information about the different types of non-rechargeable batteries (primary batteries) can be found here.

What is RoHS?

RoHS stands for Restriction of the use of certain Hazardous Substances. The European RoHS directive came into force in February 2003. It concerns the use of lead, cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium, PBB and PBDE. Lead-free soldering is an important part of this guideline. For the complete EU directive, click here.

Does Elfa have a RoHS statement?

Yes. In this statement, Elfa confirms that its assembly workshop works in accordance with RoHS. For the sake of completeness, we report here that the RoHS guidelines do not apply to batteries.

Can alkaline batteries be recharged?

No, normal alkaline batteries can’t be recharged. However, there are rechargeable alkaline batteries, but these have several big disadvantages:


  • Firstly, you will need a special charger which usually is very expensive. Recharging alkaline batteries with a charger, intended for rechargeable nickel-hydride or nickel-cadmium batteries, can be very dangerous (risk of explosion).


  • Secondly, the voltage of an alkaline battery may fall below a critical point, in this situation they can’t be recharged anymore. The problem is that you don’t know when this critical point will occurs. This means you will need to recharge the batteries, which is a disadvantage if you want to use them for a prolonged period of time.


  • Thirdly, the batteries will never gain their full capacity after being recharged. If the battery has been used several times, the available energy quickly becomes less. In practice you can recharge these batteries only a few times. However, the net efficiency of these batteries is very low.

What is NEN?

NEN stands for the National Standardization Institute. Those who participate in standardization share their knowledge to benefit from it together with others. Standardization strives for efficient, safe, healthy and sustainable products and processes. Several interests are united in a smart way. NEN is the national standardization institute in the Netherlands. They work in European (CEN, CENELEC and ETSI) and worldwide (ISO, IEC and ITU) related to economic growth and well-being. As the Dutch center of standardization, NEN helps companies and other parties to make clear and applicable agreements with each other.


Click here for the website of NEN.

What should I know about air alkaline batteries?

A distinctive system within the different types of primary batteries is air-alkaline. This battery type uses oxygen (O2) from the air as the cathode. In an electrical system with two poles or electrodes we speak of cathode for the pole where the electrons go in. The oxygen is fed to the cathode through the small holes in the housing of the battery, where reduction (absorption electrons) occurs on a carbon layer. In the battery housing only an anode has to be enclosed. This will result in an energy density per weight between 220 to 300 Wh/kg on average (compared to 99 to 123 Wh/kg of a silver-oxide battery).


An additional advantage of this battery type is the relatively low cost and its environmentally friendly nature. These batteries have an infinite shelf life, until they are exposed to air which will activate them. After activation, the shelf life will become relatively short due to the high self-discharge rate. Another drawback: once activated, the chemical process of energy production is unstoppable; however, it can be slowed down.


Air-alkaline battery applications:


  • Railway signal lighting
  • Roadwork signal lighting
  • Buoy lighting and signal lighting at sea
  • Telecommunication
  • Parking meters
  • Fence lighting

What is Stibat?

Stibat stands for Stichting Batterijen. This is the Dutch organization that coordinates the collection activities for dead batteries in the Netherlands. They develop activities in various fields to inform everyone about the how and why of the collection of dead batteries. And that happens without a commercial motive. Since 1995, there has been a statutory regulation that requires used batteries to be collected and recycled by or on behalf of manufacturers and importers of batteries. Stibat has taken on this task. A so-called disposal fee must be paid per battery. Elfa is affiliated with Stibat and charges you the relevant disposal fee per battery.


Stibat arranges for batteries to be collected. Dead batteries do not belong in the trash can. It may contain substances that are harmful to the environment, such as the heavy metals mercury, lead and cadmium. These harm the environment when disposed of with household waste. That is why it is good that more and more people are handing in dead batteries separately. Separated from other waste. Not only the well-known penlite batteries can be returned, but also button cells and the batteries in, for example, mobile telephones, photo and film cameras and cordless tools. Rechargeable batteries do last longer than single-use batteries; at some point, however, they no longer function properly and must also be disposed of in a responsible manner. By disposing of dead batteries separately, not only is the environment saved, but the reusable metals of the battery are recycled for reuse (think of nickel, steel and zinc). New products are made from this, such as zinc gutters, crash barriers, but also new batteries. As a result, 13 million kilos of usable metals have been recovered from 25 million kilos of recycled batteries over a period of twelve years! That is a considerable saving on our mineral resources.


Look here for more information.

What does disposal fee mean?

For all products with a battery in (or separately), a disposal fee must be paid to Stibat. This is in line with international legislation and regulations (environment). This also applies to devices that include batteries (such as flashlights).
Batteries can be returned to the municipal or regional kca depot or through other collection channels. You can have commercially used batteries collected by a collection company with a permit.

How does a rechargeable battery work?

You can compare the operational features of a rechargeable battery to that of a car battery. If it becomes empty, it can be recharged and reused again. With optimal treatment, these batteries can be recharged up to a few thousand times. Due to the constant voltage rate (1,2 Volt) the rechargeable battery will provide a stable power source from the beginning to the end. Rechargeable batteries suddenly die and from that moment on will not work anymore unless they are recharged again.

What are the main benefits of rechargeable batteries?

Rechargeable batteries have a long shelf life and can be recharged up to a thousand times. They are more expensive to purchase compared to non-rechargeable alkaline and zinc carbon batteries, but if you use batteries on a regular chase non-rechargeable batteries any more. Furthermore, rechargeable batteries reduce the amount of waste which will have a positive contribution to the environment.


Because rechargebale batteries last longer, less Alkaline batteries will end-up in the trash. Ask us if your applications is suited to use with rechargebale batteries.

What is a button battery?

A button battery is a round battery whose diameter is larger as its height. Sometimes they are so small that they look like a button or knob. That is the main reason why they are called button cells.

What battery abbreviations are there?

Below you can find the standard abbreviations for the various battery systems. These are the universal terms that also can be found in the product catalogue. The table makes a distinction between round (R) and flat (F) batteries. The P stands for all batteries that are not round.


B = Lithium carbon monofluoride (low drain) BR
C = Lithium mangaan dioxide (high drain) CR
E = Lithium thionyl chloride ER
F = Lithium iron disulfide FR
G = Lithium Copper oxide GR
K = Cadmium KR
L = Alkaline LR
M = Mercury MR
P = Oxygen PR
S = Silver SR


LR batteries are thus round alkaline batteries and flat alkaline batteries would thus be LF batteries.

What is a button battery user for?

There are a lot of applications. The most important are watches, cameras and hearing aids. In addition, there are the calculators, games and auto alarms.

What kind of button batteries are there?

Various systems exist. The properties are matched to the key applications.

Silver oxide (watches and cameras): High constant voltage, self-discharge less then 5% per year.

Alkaline (electrical appliances): delivers high currents, Voltage drops during use, self-discharge less then 3% per year.

Lithium (cameras and electronic devices): self-discharge less then 1% per year, not suitable for heavy load.

Zinc air (hearing aids): high capacity, self-discharge of 3% per year (if not enabled).

Mercury oxide (electrical appliances, hearing aids and cameras): delivers high currents, self-discharge of 2% per year, environmentally unfriendly (15% mercury).

Mercury-containing batteries are no longer produced since 1998, and are no longer supplied by manufacturers since 1999. Zinc air batteries replaced a small number of these mercury-containing cells.

Is a rechargeable battery of 1,2 Volt usable for all application?

Yes. However, alkaline batteries have a voltage of 1,5 in the beginning, but this quickly drops after a period of time (even below the level of a rechargeable battery). In contrast rechargeable batteries have a very stable voltage variation over the used period of time.

What are the main disadvantages of rechargeable batteries?

  1. Rechargeable batteries suddenly die and from that moment on will not work any more unless they are recharged. With alkaline batteries the power flows out of the battery more gradually. In this case you see when the batteries need to be replaced in advance.
  2. Rechargeable batteries are more expensive compared to alkaline batteries (also because you need to buy a charger).
  3. Rechargeable nickel-cadmium batteries contain for 15% of the heavy metal cadmium. However, these batteries can be recycled excellently.
  4. Nickel-cadmium batteries have the drawback that you need to fully discharge them before they can be recharged again. If you don’t do this a memory block will arise and the battery can no longer be recharged to its maximum. However, NiMH batteries don’t have any problem regarding the memory block and can therefore be recharged at any time.

Why do watch batteries always contain silver oxide?

The voltage of this system is high and constant. Time must always be reliable, hence this battery type.

What are the specific features of alkaline button batteries?

They can deliver high currents because their start voltage is 1,5V. However, the voltage decreases strongly over the usage period. Therefore, these batteries are less suitable and reliable for cameras and measuring equipment.

Why do lithium button batteries last so long?

Lithium batteries last very long (sometimes ten years), even if they are hardly used. Annually the self-discharge is only 1% of its capacity.

Why is a sticker stuck on zinc-air batteries?

When the sticker is removed from the battery the cell will be activated. This will result in oxygen penetrating through the holes in the battery. Because the active material comes from outside the battery, there is more space left in the battery for a higher capacity level. Thus these batteries have a long life time and a flat discharge curve.

Can button batteries withstand high and low temperatures?

The maximum allowable temperature for button batteries is between -10°C and +65°C. However, the best working environment is between +10°C and +35°C.

Do rechargeable button batteries exist?

There are several types of rechargeable button batteries. These batteries are often built into the devices. However, in consumer stores they are rarely available, partly due to the low demand.

Where can I find the positive and negative pole on a button battery?

The negative pole is at the top and the positive pole is at the wider bottom of the battery. The plus pole usually provides information about brand and the model number of the battery. This side of the battery is almost always on top when inserting into a device.

How do I know which hearing aid battery is required?

The different types of hearing aid batteries are identified by the sticker on the battery pack. These batteries are packed in a blister of 6 pieces.


Battery - Colour - Application

5 - Red - Mini hearing aids in the ear canal

10 - Yellow - Mini hearing aids in the ear canal

13 - Orange - Hearing aids behind the ear and in the ear shell

312 - Brown - Hearing aids in the ear canal

675 - Blue - Hearing aids behind the ear

How long do hearing aid batteries last?

This depends on the type and the intensity of use. In general, the larger batteries of the type 675 last up to three weeks, while the smaller batteries (5 and 10) only last for a few days.

What is LED lighting?

LED stands for Light Emitting Diode, and is seen as the lighting system of the future.

This type of lighting can be seen as the successor to incandescents. Incandescents have the disadvantage that the filament burns out after a certain period of time. For LEDs this is not the case.

LED LIGHTS don’t use filaments but convert electricity directly into lighting. This ensures much less power is needed in order to create lighting. One other advantage is the much longer lifespan of LED lights.


The advantages of LED in a glance:

  • Very economical with power: a lot of light for less energy.
  • An extremely long product life (20.000 – 100.000 hours).
  • Resistant to vibration because it does not make use of the sensitive filament.
  • Can handle temperature differences.
  • Different lenses can be used to adjust the lighting beam.


The disadvantages of LED in a glance (especially with older LEDs):

  • The lighting colour tends to be blue.

What influences the lifetime of primary batteries?

The main factors for this are: the electrochemistry of the battery, the ambient temperature and the energy consumption of the application.


More information van be found here.

What are the differences in fittings?

There is a large variety of fittings available that can be applied to different types of lamps. Below you can find the most common ones:

  • Screw fittings: The best known are the small (E14) and the large (E27) fittings. In addition there is the Goliath-fitting (E40).
  • Insertable fittings: In this case the lamp has one or multiple bases that can be inserted into the fittings. The bases can usually be placed automatically in the fittings, however, sometimes they need to be screwed to put them in place. Insertable fittings can be purchased in both small and large sizes.
  • Fluorescent fittings: All straight fluorescent tubes have their own unique fitting system.
  • Bayonet fittings: The type of fitting is pushed into the lamp so the pins (attached to the fitting) can firmly be clamped to the side.

What are light bulbs?

A light bulb consists of a vacuumed or with glass-filled glass bulb with a filament. When power flows through the filament, this will glow and emit light. There are various bulb types for different applications. Which bulb type will be used depends on the kind of gas is added to it. In general, we speak of three types of bulbs: the ‘normal’ (krypton) bulb, halogen bulb and xenon bulb.


  • Krypton bulbs: 90 to 95 percent of the power this light bulb uses is converted into heat. This means that only 5 to 10 percent of the energy is actually transformed into light. A light bulb is net very efficient and have a lifetime of approximately 1.000 hours.
  • Halogen bulbs: A halogen lamp is a type of light bulb that gives extra lighting thanks to the extra halogen gas it contains. This bulb type will also last longer compared to a krypton bulb and consumes up to 30% less energy for some applications. Halogen bulbs are more expensive to purchase, because they have a higher light output and an excellent colour reproduction. Furthermore, the performance of halogen bulbs is constant over their entire lifetime and is often smaller compared to regular light bulbs.
  • Xenon bulbs: Within xenon lighting bulbs gas is ignited. This will result in 3 times more light output compared to the regular halogen lighting bulbs. After approximately 2.500 hours of operation, the light output will be about 70%, which still is more compared to a good halogen lamp.

What is an ATEX certified lamp?

ATEX stands for ATmosphères EXplosives. If a lamp is ATEX certified the lamp will be suitable for use in a hazardous environment. Whether a lamp is or is not ATEX certified can be seen on the housing of the lamp, because this is engraved in the product. Elfa has a number of leading brands which are ATEX certified in its product range. Look here for more information.

Which types of ATEX codes can be distinguished?

Whether a lamp is or is not ATEX certified can be seen on the housing of the lamp. This consists of a number of encodings. These codes and what they stand for can be defined as the following:


  • CE: This code agrees that products meet all quality requirements of the European Union.
  • Ex: The specific sign for explosion prevention.
  • G, D or GD: Applicable in gas (G), dust (D) or both (GD) atmospheres.
  • E Ex: Approved for use in explosive areas according to the latest common European requirements.
  • E ib: Degree of protection.
  • IIA, IIB or IIC: The gas group in which the product falls (IIA represents the smallest risk of ignition and IIC represents the largest risk of ignition).
  • T1 t/m T6: The temperature classification of the bulb that is used. T1 represents the highest temperature and T6 the lowest temperature.


An ATEX certification must be issued by a notified body, such as KEMA or DEMKO. If the lamp is assessed by a non-certified testing institute the zone in which the certification is granted will be a maximum of 2. This is the lowest protection class/zone. Fore more information on ATEX look here.

What does ATEX stand for?

ATEX stands for ATmosphères EXplosives.


An explosive atmosphere is defined as following: a mixture of flammable substances in the form of gases, vapour, mists or dust under atmospheric conditions, in which the combustion will spread to the entire mixture after ignition.

Since July 2003 ATEX 95 and ATEX 137 are introduced. These guidelines are written specifically to focus on safety in explosive environments and to set legal obligations to the use of explosive-proof products in these hazardous environments.

The directive applies to all companies where “the use of flammable substances can create a dangerous explosive atmosphere and lead to an explosion hazard”. For more information about ATEX look here.

Which types of ATEX zones can be distinguished and what do they mean?

ATEX talks about danger zones.


The atmosphere and the prevailing condition in the workplace are crucial for installation methods of the used materials and the choice of equipment. Therefore, it is important to make a zone classification of areas that might be dangerous (for the purpose of gas- and explosion hazard).

These potential dangerous areas are based on the frequency and the duration of an explosive atmosphere:


  • Zone 0, 1 and 2: at risk of a gas explosion (a mixture of flammable gas and vapour or mist).
  • Zone 20, 21 and 22: at risk of dust explosion (a cloud of flammable dust).

The lowest number indicates the most dangerous zone. As the danger zone becomes heavier, the stricter the demands become on the design of the work environment, the application, the use of equipment and security systems. look here.

Where can I find more background information about ATEX?

There is a lot of information available on ATEX zones. Most information can be found here.


Below some interesting websites are listed:

What is the difference between lithium and alkaline batteries?

There are several differences between lithium and alkaline batteries. Below are the most important ones:

  • Lithium batteries tend to last around 7 times longer than alkaline batteries.
  • Alkaline batteries are normally cheaper than lithium batteries.
  • Lithium batteries are often used for professional use, while the alkaline variants are mainly used for consumer devices such as remote controls and radios.


For more information on alkaline and lithium batteries look here.

What is the difference between a nickel cadmium battery and a nickel metal hydride battery?

Nickel cadmium batteries and nickel metal hydride batteries have some interesting differences from each other:
Nickel metal hydride batteries have up to twice the capacity of nickel cadmium batteries.
Nickel cadmium batteries often suffer more from the "memory effect" than nickel metal hydride batteries.
Nickel metal hydride batteries require less maintenance and care.


The nickel metal hydride battery can be considered as the development on the nickel cadmium battery. For more information, click here.

What are the most common types of batteries?

Alkaline batteries are the most used types of batteries. An alkaline battery supplies a lot of energy, even at lower temperatures. These batteries are suited for one-off use, have the lowest purchase price and low self-discharge. They are highly suited for devices that use little current for long periods of time. Click here for more information on alkaline batteries and different types of batteries.

What is the most used accumulator?

The most commonly used accumulator is the lead-acid battery. This is due to the simple construction of the battery and a generally low price. For more information on this battery type, as well as a recommendation from a brand offering interesting lead batteries, please click here.

Does the height of the capacity determine the useful life?

Yes. The higher the capacity, the longer the battery will last. The capacity is expressed in Ampère hour (Ah) or milli-Ampère hour (mAh). In most cases, you can read on the battery itself and on the packaging how high the capacity of a battery is. So for the application equipment more capacity will allow a longer useful life. It is therefore not harmful to use bigger batteries but it is harmful to use other voltages than indicated.

How does a battery work?

A battery is a cell that can pass electrical energy through internal chemical reactions. The cell consists of a plus and a minus pole separated by a layer of electrolyte. The negative pole is brought into contact with the positive pole through the device into which the battery is put, thus releasing electricity.

What are lithium batteries?

These are a certain type of batteries that have a number of distinguishing points:


  • Lithium is a good solution when a high peak power is required.
  • They last an average of 7 times longer than alkaline batteries.
  • Lithium operates at temperatures from -20 to +40 degrees.


Lithium batteries are characterized by a very low self-discharge. The self-discharge is only 1% of the capacity per year. The voltage with this battery is exceptionally high. This information sheet lists a number of brands that produce lithium batteries, as well as the different product variants that go with them. Lithium is a light metal with an exceptionally high capacity (3.86 Ah / gram). Mixing lithium with other chemicals such as manganese or sulfur results in a battery with high energy, low weight, reduced self-discharge and the ability to perform under extreme conditions.


Applications of lithium batteries


Lithium is used for many applications; from mobile phones and microprocessors to large industrial work situations such as in the oil and gas industry and space travel.


For more informations on lithium batteries, click here.

What are alkaline batteries?

Alkaline batteries are the most commonly used type of batteries. There are a number of characteristics of this type:


  • They have a low purchase price
  • The alkaline batteries provide a lot of energy, even at low temperatures
  • Alkaline batteries have a low self-discharge


For more information about this type of battery, click here.

What is a lead-acid battery?

A lead-acid battery is the most commonly used type of battery. Lead-acid batteries have several advantages:


  • They have a simple structure
  • Usually have a relative low cost price
  • Suitable for a variety of applications such as telecommunications, data centers, railways, defense and security systems


Click here for more information on lead-acid batteries.

What is a lithium iron phosphate battery?

A lithium iron phosphate battery is a battery type that has a chemistry that has existed since 1996. A number of characteristics are listed below:


  • Lithium iron phosphate batteries can be quickly charged to 100%
  • Stores energy better than most other lead batteries (100% instead of 85% with other lead batteries)


Click here for more information on lithium iron phosphate batteries.

What is a nickel cadmium battery?

This is a type of battery invented in 1899 by Waldmar Jungner. Some characteristics:


  • The battery is very robust and can be charged quickly with little stress
  • Performs well at low temperatures


Click here for more details on nickel cadmium batteries.

What does internal resistance mean for a battery?

Certain (chemical) systems can handle energy flows more easily than others. Apart from voltage (volt), the internal resistance (Ohm) of the battery is also important. Battery types with low internal resistance Nickle Cadmium, Nickle Hydride, alkaline, Lithium photo and mercuric oxide. Lithium, zinc-air, silver oxide and zinc carbon.

What does mAh mean exactly?

The capacity and thus useful life of a battery depends on the current, expressed in thousandths of Ampère, or milli-Ampère (mA) multiplied by the number of hours (the h of ‘hours’) that the battery can provide power.

How do you recognise formats of batteries?

Formats have a name and can also have a code. The names are more or less the same in all countries, though other terms may be used popularly. The codes are different everywhere, e.g. the international IEC code and the American code. Also, each brands often uses its own codes. This often makes it difficult to recognise the codes on packaging. Still, the IEC code is the most common. In the IEC code, the battery types can be recognised by the letters. For instance, Alkaline is called LR, zinc carbon batteries have an R as first letter.


IEC-code US-code Name Volksmond Dimensions(mm) (diamtr x height)*
LR3 AAA Micro Pencil 10,5×44,5
LR6 AA Mignon Penlite 14,5×50,5
LR14 C Baby English bar 26,2×50
LR20 D Mono Big bar 34,5×61,5
6LR61 E 9 Volt E-block 26,5×17,5×48
3LR12 Normal 4,5 Volt 26x22x67


* Tolerance differences may exist.

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