SIG International have supplied not only materials, products and systems to projects all over the world, but have also provided expertise and technical support.
The following case studies represent only a fraction of the total number of projects to which we have contributed. Whatever the project and whatever stage it’s at in its development, SIG International will almost certainly have the necessary materials but will also be able to act as a partner, assisting you in bringing your project to a successful conclusion.
Whether it’s in commercial or residential construction, or in the oil, gas, HVAC, marine, rail infrastructure or engineering or manufacturing industries, we can help.
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Fire Protection Case Study
Effective High-Rise Residential Fire Protection
Occupying the former site of the City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court, The Courthouse SW1 is a remarkable collection of 129 prestigious apartments. Developed by Barratt London, the building design is a modern take on Edwardian splendour; a fusion of Portuguese limestone, Brazilian granite and bronzed aluminium, carefully crafted to both contrast and complement its surroundings.
As a nine storey development constructed with the utmost attention to detail, Barratt London strived to set a new benchmark for quality by demanding the highest levels of finish and performance.
With the Portuguese limestone exterior constructed as an external façade, Barratt’s exacting standards therefore also required a superior approach to fire protection – leading to the specification of the AIM Ventilated Rainscreen Barrier.
The AIM Ventilated Rainscreen Barrier is a mineral wool and intumescent based solution for rainscreen systems which provides an effective cavity fire barrier whilst allowing ventilation and drainage of the cavity under service conditions. As an intumescent faced barrier, the VRB range will expand when exposed to fire conditions, closing the ventilation cavity to prevent the passage of fire.
At The Courthouse, the cavity was insulated and utilised AIM fire barriers on both vertical and horizontal elevations.
Supplied by SIG Insulation, Barking and installed by stone masonry specialists, Szerelmey Ltd, AIM provided extensive technical support which included the delivery of a fire barrier CPD presentation to the senior project team at Szerelmey – enabling them to effectively coordinate an efficient installation and ensure the very best quality standards.
Moreover, regular inspections and rigorous assessments by the NHBC verified that the AIM Ventilated Rainscreen Barrier was installed in accordance with extremely stringent standards.
John Guest, Senior Project Manager for Szerelmey Ltd, discusses his experience of working with AIM and using the AIM Ventilated Rainscreen Barrier on-site: “Effective fire protection on an external façade, particularly on a high rise residential development – is critical. We recognise that getting the installation spot-on is crucial to ensuring this protection and products which come backed by extensive test data and robust installation procedures ultimately help reduce the risk of human error on-site.
“For The Courthouse project, we were particularly impressed by the responsiveness of the AIM technical team. They not only identified the right ventilated rainscreen barrier specification for our requirements, but also worked with us to design an efficient installation process which fitted the unique site conditions.”
“As standard the AIM VRB Lite comes with additional pig tail screws, which immediately made it easier for the installation teams to place the product speedily and accurately into position. Easy to cut, easy to install and easy to work with – overall the AIM specification made everyone’s lives a lot easier on this flagship project.”
Anti-Vibration Case Study
Vibration Isolation for a Cement Mill in Abu Dhabi
A laboratory-tested, granular rubber antivibration material was specified as a foundation isolation solution at Abu Dhabi Cement Mills – a turnkey grinding plant in the United Arab Emirates.
The Cement Mills was constructed for a capacity of 115 tonnes/h (grinding of OPC with a fineness of 3300 Blaine). It also has to produce cement of an even higher fineness (up to 4800 Blaine) or slag of a very fine grain size (4400 Blaine).
Appropriate anti vibration materials were needed to prevent structural damage, nuisance noise and poor quality grinding. These factors are caused by powerful internal machine forces producing severe vibration and shock when grinding cement. According to the modal analysis, CEMTEC was required to meet a natural frequency of 11 Hz.
The granular rubber antivibration material was incorporated into the design of the cement mills to isolate the foundations of the grinding plant, measuring 22.3m x 14.3m x 4.5m. To achieve greater deflection and a lower natural frequency, the material was installed in four laminated layers, with each layer running 90° to the other.
- High performing product with long and maintenance free lifespan
- Cost effective
- Polyurethane (PUR) bound rubber granulate material
- Standard material thickness of 15mm
- Environmentally friendly and fully recyclable
- Supplied in rolls, pads or strips to suit exact installation requirements
- Can withstand loads of up to 25 tonnes/m2
- Minimal creep
Acoustic Case Study
An Acoustic Solution for Dangerous Noise
The noise recorded coming from the dry cooling system at the Severn Power CCGT Power Station at Uskmouth B was 130dB-135dB, a full 50dB above the acceptable levels described in the Noise at Work Regulations.
To make matters worse, the noise generated had a very low-frequency bias. Low-frequency noise is the most difficult to treat from a soundproofing perspective due to the excessive length of the wave cycle.
Solutions for low-frequency noise issues typically involve wrapping the problem in significant quantities of acoustic insulation, with many standard solutions being as deep as 500mm to 700mm. The sheer volume of lagging required for an insulation-based approach to a project like Uskmouth, with a daunting 8,000m2 of ducting to be covered, would be expensive, time-consuming to install and prohibitively disruptive.
What’s more, there were areas around the ducting at Uskmouth which simply wouldn’t have been able to accommodate such an excessive construction height of soundproofing material.
Paul Absolon, Technical Director, responded to the challenge of creating a ‘thinner’ soundproofing system that would meet the necessary Noise at Work Regulations requirements but would be cost-effective and efficient to install.
In order to minimise disruption to Uskmouth, an off-site simulation was created near Burton on Trent, using a large section of identical ducting with a ‘door’ sealing up either end. Within the duct were several very powerful speakers. For testing, highly sensitive microphones were placed in strategic positions along the outside of the duct to measure any ‘leakage’. Acoustic insulation solutions were conceived, implemented and assessed in this controlled environment.
Exploring a wide range of acoustic materials from SIG’s industrial acoustics range, it was clear that a single product was not going to be able to solve the problem on its own, so Paul opted for a combination of products working in concert, layer upon layer.
The first layer consisted of CMS HT1B elastomeric isolation pads, constructed from a polyurethane-bound rubber granulate specifically formulated to dampen and/or isolate noise and vibrations at source and independently tested by the Institute of Structural Dynamics at the Technical University of Dresden.
The 50mm thick pads were bonded to the surface of the duct at a rate of nine per square meter, creating 300mm spacings; so, as well as the dampening effects of the material itself, the construction benefited from large, evenly distributed airspaces in its foundations. Sound waves move less effectively through dead air.
The second layer consisted of 50mm-thick QuietSlab SVX3, a high-performance, mineral-fibre acoustic lagging. MIMA (the Mineral Wool Insulation Manufacturers Association) describe the acoustic insulation properties of mineral wool (and mineral fibres more generally): “Porous materials such as mineral wool work to control and reduce noise by allowing air movement into the fabric of the material. The fluctuations of air molecules – which form sound waves – move into the body of the mineral wool, where friction between the air particles and the material’s narrow airways cause sound energy to be dissipated as heat.”
The third layer comprised CMS WBBKT Acoustic Barrier, a high-density, barium-sulphate-loaded thermoplastic polymer, which is thin, flexible and easy to work with. Whereas the QuietSlab SVX3 layer is designed to absorb and dissipate noise, this dense acoustic barrier is designed to resist the passage of noise and is particularly adept at preventing the passage of low-frequency noise.
The forth layer duplicated the second. The fifth layer duplicated the third. The sixth and final layer consisted of a corrosion-resistant Aluzinc casing.
By alternating between thick noise-absorbent layers and thin-but-dense noise-resistant layers, Paul was able to create a soundproofing solution with a depth of just 170mm – between 66% and 76% thinner than a 500mm to 700mm standard solution. However, the successful reduction of the construction height would mean nothing at all if it failed to deliver the necessary levels of noise reduction. The proof would be in the testing.
Personnel from Siemens attended the test. They were standing in relatively close proximity to the simulated duct whilst technicians from Muller-BBM set up their equipment. As always with these situations, there were delays, so the Siemens team were standing around for quite some time. Naturally, they were a little impatient and asked when the test was going to commence. They were told the test had been running for the last 10 minutes. The speakers within the ducts had been generating noise levels of 130-140dB and no-one had noticed. Only when the lagging protecting the ‘door’ to the duct was removed could the true extent of the racket within be appreciated.
The testing, once complete, revealed that Paul’s solution had reduced the noise generated by 39%, to just 82-83dB(A), under the 85dB required by the Noise at Work Regulations.
Peter Ullrich, project director at Siemens Energy, commented: “Effectively controlling noise and reducing sound emissions was a top priority for us in the Uskmouth project. Not only was it essential that the dry cooling system satisfied all the legal acoustic obligations and regulations but just as important was that neighbouring properties were not disturbed by additional noise levels.”
Paul Absolon said, “It was a real challenge working on the Uskmouth project, the kind of challenge we relish. We avoid a one-size-fits-all approach, taking a fresh approach to each project. This ethos has seen us apply our knowledge and experience to everything from schools, theatres and churches to oil rigs, refineries and, now, power stations.”
HVAC Case Study
Phenolic Pipe Insulation for Emergency Care Hospital
When it came to selecting phenolic pipe insulation, as with everything about this groundbreaking project, performance was a dominant factor. The Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital is all about performance.
“… designed to be as efficient as possible…”
In the words of James McFetrich, a consultant in emergency medicine at the hospital, “The hospital has been designed specifically to be as efficient as possible when it comes to caring for emergency patients.”
The £95 million hospital is not only dedicated to providing emergency care but will provide it 24/7, with A&E consultants and a wide range of other specialists on hand round the clock. There are 210 acute beds spread across seven specialist wards and an array of state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment designed to significantly close the gap between admission and treatment.
“… optimising patient care.”
When award-winning, multidisciplinary architects Keppie Design created their vision for the hospital, they naturally produced something that was aesthetically striking. The design comprised a series of interconnected circles. The end result looked not unlike a vast, contemporary castle, complete with turrets. However, this design wasn’t purely an aesthetic choice; it also achieved the objective of dramatically reducing travel distances between departments, optimising patient care.
“… built to the highest performance and safety specifications.”
This commitment to efficiency, effectiveness and performance was also a driving factor during the specification process, with NSECH being built to the highest performance and safety specifications. To achieve this over a two year programme, all packages within the build had to ensure the highest quality standards, with the most efficient completion possible.
As pipework insulation was being carried out as a combination of pre-insulated pipework and installation on-site, an insulation product was required that would be suitable for this two-fold approach whilst also satisfying the quality and performance criteria.
“54,000 metres of phenolic pipe insulation…”
Phenolic pipe insulation was specified by the M&E contractor, with SIG’s BetaPlus emerging as the preferred product based on the consistency of product manufacture, performance properties and technical support available from the SIG team.
Whilst a major part of the pipework was completed using BetaPlus in pre-insulated form, over 54,000 linear metres of phenolic pipe insulation had to be installed on-site by Tyne Tees Thermal Limited. Tyne Tees Thermal are highly experienced thermal insulation contractors, having not only worked on hospitals such as the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle but also the extremely challenging task of supplying and installing thermal pipe insulation to the Halley VI British Antarctic Survey Head Quarters in Antarctica, where the average winter temperature is about -49°C and the coldest temperature recorded was -89.6°C at Vostok station in 1983. To put this into perspective, a typical home freezer has an operating temperature of about -15°C. And to put those 54,000 linear metres into perspective, that’s about 121 Empire State Buildings.
“BetaPlus is the only phenolic pipe insulation that has the consistency we require…”
BetaPlus Phenolic Pipe Insulation is supplied with a factory applied Class O aluminium foil vapour barrier and a chemically applied bore coating. It can also be provided in plain or other facings. Each section is cut from a solid block using the latest state of the art machinery ensuring that all circular sections are concentric and precisely matched for thickness.
Commenting on the use of BetaPlus phenolic pipe insulation at NSECH, Chris Morton, Managing Director at Tyne Tees Thermal, said, “As a contractor, various criteria have to met and BetaPlus is the only phenolic pipe insulation that has the consistency we require across a number of factors: bore accuracy, foil facing precision and thickness tolerance.”
“Importantly, the thicknesses are exact on both sides of the bore and at both ends of the section. This doesn’t happen with all products on the market and is actually a critical success factor when it comes to an accurate and robust installation on site.
“There were zero quality issues with BetaPlus at NSECH, which, given the scale of the installation, and the fast turnaround times we were working to, is testament to the unrivalled quality of manufacture.”
We were impressed by the responsiveness of the technical team. They not only identified the right specification for our requirements, but also worked with us to design an efficient installation process which fitted the unique site conditions.John Guest