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How to prove fire resistance

Advanced testing at the Roxtec fire lab.

How to prove fire resistance

The Roxtec fire laboratory at the headquarters in Karlskrona, Sweden, is perfectly equipped for safe and extensive fire resistance testing. The high-capacity lab enables continuous development of certified safety products as well as testing to specific needs.

“You can develop great solutions, but it’s no use if you can’t verify them. Our customers want proven performance,” says Jenny Filipsen, Test and Certificates Manager at Roxtec.

Thorough testing of key features such as tightness and fire protection has always been important for Roxtec, and the fire lab is the flagship of the company’s testing capabilities. It is crucial for both the product development and the pre-certification process for the seals. It is also used for conducting tests of customized seals or according to specific requirements.

All tests performed at the Roxtec fire test lab are indicative. Full-scale testing resulting in certifications can only be conducted in accredited test laboratories. 

“We follow the test standards, but we can also develop our own special tests. It can be sequential tests or testing of tightness after seismic simulation or after fire,” says Jenny Filipsen.

Roxtec is, for example, able to test according to standards EN 1366-3, UL 1479, ASTM E814, FTP code, IMO standard, EN 45545-3, ISO 20902-1:2018, ISO 834 (cellulosic fire curve) and EN 1363-2 (hydrocarbon fire curve).

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Setting up realistic tests

Roxtec engineers and test technicians in the fire lab reflect extensive experience and competence. They have conducted hundreds of fire tests in this advanced facility, but also set up external tests in renowned official laboratories all over the world.

The engineers prepare all fire resistance tests in the lab according to standards and specifications and make sure every object is tested as an entire system in a realistic environment. The technicians build the test object, with installations in walls, bulkheads, floors or decks in various materials, and attach it to the furnace.

They also attach dozens of thermocouples to the test object. The thermocouples measure the temperature on the side of the test object that is not exposed to fire and allow for detailed monitoring of the possible heat transfer via computers in the control room.

Visitors are welcome

Customers and classification society representatives can be invited to witness tests from the observation room. Through large windows, they have a great view of the furnace hall with the test furnace. They can also watch the tests from anywhere in the world via streaming.

“We constantly test our cable and pipe transits to make sure they meet the safety standards and fulfill customer specific demands. We are happy to show our testing capabilities for customers and authorities,” says Jenny Filipsen.

The tests verify the seals’ fire integrity and temperature insulation capacity in accordance with strict standards. The detailed results, collected from the computers and obtained by thorough investigation of the object after fire, are helpful for both customers and engineers. There is also a small furnace available for quick indicative fire resistance testing.

Sustainability in focus

The Roxtec fire lab is a place for extreme heat and repeated imitation of catastrophe. Therefore, the safety thinking is top of mind. The fire lab provides a very good working environment with pressurized rooms and halls to prevent dust and particles from spreading. It also has a state-of-the-art purification system taking care of the emissions from the test furnace. Actually, it is all just a part of the idea of Roxtec: to increase safety, at all times.