Chris Peters, chief design manager, on a breakthrough fire test.
Over the years, we have prided ourselves on our ability to understand changing market demands and innovate to meet those new requirements.
For example, we were the first company internationally to successfully develop a round opening fire-rated window.
More recently, we were the first company to develop unlatched fire doors, openable in either direction.
Worldwide, our systems regularly have project-specific fire tests, ensuring that everything we do meets the highest specifications.
Our design and testing programmes have consistently pushed boundaries to meet increasingly-stringent performance targets. In the process, our aim is to make the built environment just a little bit safer.
This month we are delighted to have achieved another milestone fire test with international significance.
However, the test was carried out with the exterior building surface facing into the furnace. This made the test significantly more demanding on the system components.
It makes the Wrightstyle system an ideal solution in places where a high level of integrity and insulation is required. This might be, for example, in atriums, fire escapes and between buildings, or as a fire break between different areas of a building.
The system also provides a tested advantage to provide fire protection between higher risk areas such as car parks and workshops and lower risk areas such as offices and a building’s reception.
A good example of multi-directional compartmentation would be to provide a fire break between a supermarket and its underground car park. We have been involved in such projects.
We are also seeing more demand from the export market for this higher specification curtain walling. More and more, specifiers are designing in compartments with a fire risk from either side of the glass.
The test is an excellent result for our SR60 curtain walling system. It further underlines the quality and high performance offered by our systems.
It’s why our high-performance systems can be found across the UK, and from the USA to New Zealand. Contract completions in the past few weeks have been in the Kingdom of Jordan, for a new tourist village, and Hong Kong, for a flagship museum of art.
In addition to adding further test evidence to an already comprehensive list, the test incorporated steel spandrel panels. This makes it one of the first alternative infill options to achieve two hours of integrity and insulation performance.
The SR60 system is also fully weather certified being a gasket glazed system. This is an enormous advance on more commonly-used tape glazed system. It can also be installed internally or externally.
Spandrel panels can have both a functional and aesthetic purpose. Generally, they have to meet thermal, acoustic, fire performance and moisture requirements.
The target performance for the Wrightstyle test was EI120 (120 minutes integrity and insulation). The test ran for a period of 148 minutes, exceeding the criteria for a pass by 23%. This significant overrun is rare in high performance tests.
Full furnace temperature was achieved after some 60 minutes into the test, with a peak temperature of 1050 degrees C.
The test module size was three metres by three metres and the test was jointly carried out with SCHOTT Technical Glass Solutions GmbH. SCHOTT is one of the world’s leading speciality glass manufacturers.
It was kind of Helmut Kugelmann, Sales Director for Fire Resistant and Security Glazing at SCHOTT, to say that, “SCHOTT were very happy to work with Wrightstyle on this fire test and look forward to further cooperation, in developing the worldwide demand for fully tested safe solutions that exceed local building code requirements.”
This latest test also gives Wrightstyle renewal of a full global assessment and fresh test evidence to underline the capabilities of the system.
It will therefore give architects and specifiers renewed confidence in the WSL SR60 system, allowing them to push the boundaries of what can be achieved with absolute fire safety.