Flexible technical insulation market leader Armacell has launched the World’s first closed-cell insulation materials developed to offer greater fire safety for railway passenger vehicles. The Armaflex Rail family of products are the first to meet the Hazard Level 2 & 3 classifications according to EN 45545-2 and are being officially launched at the Railtex exhibition, being held on 12-14 May at the NEC in Birmingham.
European Fire Classification for railway vehicles
The new industry standard – EN 45545-2 – which came into effect in September 2013 heralds the introduction of harmonised fire safety requirements on rolling stock across the European Union. At present, each national train specification has completely different test methods and safety criteria to assess materials for fire protection. The regulatory change has been driven by a desire for a safe and interoperable system across Europe and the move towards harmonisation has additionally been driven by the issue of rolling stock travelling across country borders, such as the Channel Tunnel route that runs in both the UK and France.
Under the current system, each country sets its own reaction to fire requirements – so, for example, in the UK the BS 6853 standard coexists with EN 45545, before it must be withdrawn in March 2016 when under European law all countries will operate the same fire safety requirement regime. The EN 45545 series incorporates reaction to fire, fire resistance, and fire detection tests.
When railway vehicles are designed and constructed, the safety of passengers and staff is of the highest priority. The level of safety has been increased successively over the past years and today all materials used must fulfil the highest fire protection requirements. The introduction of EN 45545-2 (Railway applications - Fire protection on railway vehicles Part 2: Requirements for fire behaviour of materials and components) sees the legislation being further tightened and standardised throughout Europe. Using Armaflex Rail products on refrigerant pipework and air-ducts makes an important contribution to the high level of fire safety required in rail vehicles. The closed-cell insulation materials with anti-microbial Microban® technology protect pipes against energy losses and condensation, and because of their flexible properties, the material is extremely fast and easy to install.
Integrated fire protection
Armaflex Rail insulation tube, sheet and tape products are developed using a completely new synthetic rubber composition to meet the new European standard EN 45545-2, a hazard level previously unattained by flexible insulation materials. The highly flexible elastomeric foams have extremely good fire properties with reduced smoke density, achieving an excellent Euroclass Bs1 D0 rating for insulation tubes. The smoke development of Armaflex Rail products is 10 times lower than that of a standard elastomeric insulation products and the material is self-extinguishing, does not propagate fire or produce burning droplets.
Integrated vapour barrier
Because it is a closed-cell insulation material with low thermal conductivity and high resistance to water vapour diffusion, Armaflex Rail provides installations with reliable long-term protection against energy losses and condensation. As is the case with all Armaflex products, Armaflex Rail has a ‘built-in’ vapour barrier. Unlike traditional insulation materials which need to be protected against moisture penetration by a separate vapour barrier, the resistance to water vapour diffusion is built up throughout the entire insulation thickness. This means increased reliability (the diffusion barriers of open-cell insulation materials usually consist of aluminium foils which can be easily damaged) but also leads to a substantial reduction in installation costs. The Microban® technology offers additional protection against harmful microbes such as bacteria, mould and mildew. The antimicrobial additives are built into the insulation material during the manufacturing process and therefore do not wash or wear off.
Unrivalled ease of installation
Armaflex Rail is available in different easy to install insulation formats and thicknesses for a comprehensive range of tubes, sheets, self-adhesive sheets and tape. Armaflex Rail SD complies to HL2 requirements and is the product for covered applications. Armaflex Rail SD-C comes pre-applied with a robust UV resistant and washable silver covering and meets the highest hazard level 3 requirements. Armaflex Rail ZH provides a non-halogen solution and is also available with the durable silver look covering (Armaflex Rail ZH-C).
A great advantage of the Armaflex Rail family of synthetic rubber products, which becomes particularly apparent in the tight installation situations involved in rail vehicle construction, is the highly flexible nature of the material. The homogenous, three-dimensionally linked structure of elastomeric insulation allows the sheets to be cut neatly without the release of dust or fibre particles which could pose a health threat if breathed in. The high flexibility of the material also allows simple installation even on complex-shaped HVAC fittings and equipment. Application times can be further reduced by using self-adhesive sheets.