How can industrial buildings achieve fire resilience with stone wool-insulated sandwich panels?

How can industrial buildings achieve fire resilience with stone wool-insulated sandwich panels?

21 Oct, 2021

In collaboration with: ROCKWOOLrockwool-logo-1


Resilience is crucial for today’s industrial buildings. PhD Engineer Daniela Pasquero,
Product Manager at ROCKWOOL Core Solutions, explains how sandwich panels
incorporating stone wool insulation can build fire resistance and business continuity into warehouses, Gigafactories, industrial facilities and logistics centers.

It’s important to deliver new industrial buildings within budget, on time and sustainably, especially for businesses with ambitious growth targets for reshoring of manufacturing, e-commerce and Industry 4.0.

However, in the long term, business continuity is the single most important design factor for any building. It can be defined by the ability to deliver services or products with the right quality and on time.

Fire is one of the biggest risks to business continuity as it has potential to impact health of employees, damage stock and assets, and affect deliveries. That’s why fire costs around one percent of global GDP according to the Geneva Association’s World Fire Statistics Bulletin No. 29.

The impact of fire on a business is severe. Around three out of five businesses fail after a fire.
That’s partly due to the immediate effects such as injury to employees, physical
damage to stock and equipment and an interruption to services. Longer term, smoke
inhalation can have a lasting health impact for staff, as well as causing permanent damage to robots and industrial control systems.

Meanwhile, customers may lose trust and choose another supplier if a short-term
interruption in service creates downstream issues. Fire can also damage relationships with employees and the wider community.

Achieving fire resilience with stone wool-insulated sandwich panels

The good news is that with careful selection of materials, it’s straightforward to build fire resilience and business continuity into a building from day one.

This can be achieved by using sandwich panels insulated with stone wool for partition
walls and ceilings, as well as fire barriers in the ceiling, roof and façades.

As a material based on natural volcanic stone, stone wool is non-combustible, fire
resistant, contributes to fire resilience, makes a negligible contribution to fire toxicity and is an excellent thermal insulator.

This combination means that it has the highest possible fire reaction rating under the Euroclass fire classification, A1 non-combustible. When integrated into sandwich panels, these can reach fire classification of A2-s1, d0, which is the highest possible rating for sandwich panels.

Core Solutions

Furthermore, stone wool will not ignite when exposed to flames, can reduce heat transfer to other areas of a building and has a melting point higher than 1,000˚C. As a result, stone wool insulated sandwich panels stop the spread of fire, protect building structures and provide essential time for people to escape and for first responders to do their job.

In addition, by containing fire within one section of a building, the stone wool-insulated sandwich panels will protect sophisticated robotics, controllers, drives and motors in other areas. As a result, the business can spring back when it is safe for employees to return.

Stone wool also reduces the risk of toxicity. Being based on volcanic stone, it contains no flame retardants. Under testing, it was found not to produce significant amounts of toxic smoke, a factor that will protect health and wellbeing should a fire start.

A further benefit is that the material’s fire resistance and fire resilience properties last over the long term. German building material research institute FIW München recently carried out testing of stone wool installed as early as 1960 and found that age has no impact on performance. A lot can happen to a building in 50+ years so it’s reassuring to have longlasting fire resistance built in, that also offers opportunities to adapt to new uses.

Stone wool also offers secondary benefits. As a fully recyclable material, it adds to the
sustainability credentials of a building. It can also add acoustic performance and thermal insulation.

Sandwich panels with stone wool insulation at their core for convenience

A particularly convenient way of deploying stone wool is in sandwich panels. This
construction solution enables industrial and commercial businesses to effectively buy
business continuity and protect their reputation. It provides a full answer to the main
expectations of the business owner: being within budget, fast-track construction and
reaching high sustainability performance.

And from an aesthetic point of view, producers of sandwich panels like Manni Group have the capability to create sandwich panels that meet architectural priorities, whether that is for color, shape, surface finish, or for panels that will be concealed by a façade.

Written by

Daniela Pasquero
Daniela Pasquero

Daniela Pasquero, who holds a degree in Civil Engineering from Politecnico of Turin and a PhD in Mechanics of Materials from Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées, has specialised in Product Management for the sandwich panel activity of ROCKWOOL Core Solutions. Her professional career starts in Research & Development, where she worked on innovation of insulating materials (one patent pertaining to aerogel-based material), and in 2012 she joined ROCKWOOL France as a Project Manager of Internal Insulation where she registered two patents for insulating systems. In 2019, she took a new position as a Product Manager at ROCKWOOL Core Solutions, specialising in stone wool core insulation for sandwich panels.

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