Finnester Coatings of Finland has launched a new composite coating product that combines fire resistance with aesthetics and weatherproofing.
Described as a ground-breaking innovation in the composite industry, HybridRED is especially designed for infrastructure applications like the energy industry, bridges and facades.
“Never before has a composite product combined fire resistance with decorative and weatherproofing properties, says a senior official of the company.
“This is a ground-breaking solution for composite applications where fire resistance, hard mechanical strength and weatherability are needed. It’s also the only decorative coating of its kind in the market,” says Ari Hokkanen, CEO at Finnester Coatings.
HybridRED’s unique technology is the result of five years of research and development and is based on ceramifying polymers. The coating can be applied like paint, but when exposed to fire it forms a ceramic shield that protects the composite from burning, he explains.
It slows down the ignition of the composite and prevents the fire from spreading, he adds.
“Due to the ceramifying technology, the coating is non-toxic and eco-friendly, unlike all other fire-resistant coating products in the field,” Hokkanen says. “For the first time ever, a composite application can be fire-resistant, weatherproof and decorative at the same time.
“It also protects the composite from corrosion, ultraviolet rays, weather conditions and vandalism. As a decorative solution, it offers a smooth and gloss finish.”
Composites, in general, have many advantages; they are lightweight, strong, and require little maintenance. They are also easy to process into various shapes in different colours. However, their biggest weakness is that they have zero tolerance against fire and therefore burn easily, he points out.
“Although fire protection can be added into composites, it means that the other key properties are lost. HybridRED coating solves this problem,” Hokkanen says. “There is a clear demand for fire-resistant composite applications that are safe, aesthetic and maintenance free.”
HybridRED, which has been launched in the European market, is now being introduced worldwide.
Finnester Coatings, a Finnish family-run business developing high-quality coatings in different fields of industries, is already working on two bridge worksites at Ormskirk in northwest England – where steel footbridges were replaced with new fibre-reinforced plastic (FRP) ones – and some power lines in Norway using HybridRED.
In the UK project, FRP was chosen as material because of its lightweight, low maintenance and good weather resistance. Both footbridges span over a railway and therefore, the tender documentation set requirements for protection against surface spread of flame to BS476 Part 7: Class 1.
“HybridRED was the only solution found to meet this requirement in an external environment with the additional benefits of good performance for smoke and toxicity”, says Martin Halpin, innovation and development manager from APB Group, the contractor working on the project.