One of the UK’s leading designers, manufacturers and installers of engineered doors has this week released test results which suggest an ‘industry changing’ fire door could soon be coming to market.
The initial and full-scale tests were carried out on Rhino’s new range of El2 rated, insulated fire doors, achieving significant overruns on both integrity and insulation exposure time targets, with the overrun in particular generating a high degree of optimism that the much more demanding performance required for an El2120 rated product will be met on further tests.
So, what does this mean for specifiers, architects and others who select portal and entry solutions for buildings?
All fire doors must achieve integrity (‘E’) ratings to prevent the passage of flames and hot gases from the fire side to the unexposed ‘fire free’ side of the door. These ratings sit on a graded basis against elapsed time periods; the higher the rating, the longer the door has prevented the passage of flames and hot gases to the unexposed side of the door.
However, there is an additional to threat to life other than fire and smoke: radiated heat.
Radiated heat poses a serious fatality threat. A report by the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (IOGP)[i] found that fatalities will occur when individuals are exposed to radiated heat above 6 kW/m2. As radiated heat and exposure time increase, so does the certainty of fatalities. Exposure to radiated heat at 35 kW/m2 results in instant death.
(The tests demonstrated the superior performance of Rhino’s new insulated fire door compared to the current market leader).
The results of Rhino’s recent tests saw the radiated heat level (measured at 1,000mm), being 50% lower than the results achieved by the current market leading El door.
As a result, when Rhino’s new El rated fire door comes to market, it will offer the best possible protection against radiated heat than any other fire door available.
Commenting on the results of the tests, and the potential industry wide implications, Dr. Chris Norris, Chief Engineer and Director of Rhino Doors, said:
“These tests have delivered very promising results. Our special projects team has been hard at work to develop a door which can deliver industry changing fire safety results. The ability of our door to withstand significant levels of heat radiation will literally have lifesaving results.
“Insulated steel fire doors are best practice; life safety products and our latest product will offer the most protection on the market yet. If you are ever trapped against a steel fire door that is containing a fire, your chances of surviving are significantly improved if it is a Rhino insulated fire door.”
Rhino’s new El rated insulated steel fire door is expected to go into production this summer.