Fire-resistant glass is an extremely specialised product which requires both technological knowledge and high investment in research and in the certification process – this is not simple. For years, it has been associated with global brands or sector tycoons but now a new brand has entered the market which produces exceptionally light glass of unique parameters using proprietary technology. Enter POLFLAM – Paweł Dziedziak, Export Sales Director at POLFLAM, looks at how they are achieving success.
Can POLFLAM be regarded as a new player since it has been manufacturing fire-resistant glass for more than 10 years now?
It certainly can in the Western European market. In business, we are followers of the good old school which says: first, perfect your product, then succeed on the local market and only then go and conquer the world.
And that is the way we have acted. To this end, we have narrowed our specialisation: we no longer manufacture a large variety of construction glass; just fire-resistant glass. Our priority was to strengthen our technology. We wanted to be sure of our product – the more that what we sell is safety.
This very philosophy made us quickly become a leader in the Polish market. Subsequently, it let us build a strong position in Eastern and Central Europe.
Consequently, we are now entering new markets in Germany, Belgium, Holland, the UK, the Nordic countries and beyond.
POLFLAM® glass holds the CE marking and meets the requirements of the British and NFPA standards. It seems to be really ready to conquer the world.
Fire-resistant glass – does this market have a potential?
I am convinced it does. We hardly ever hear of fire incidents in public facilities in Europe. Every year, several thousands are completed, yet, thanks to the modern safety solutions, a fire never translates into hundreds of victims. This is due to the long-term policy of cooperation between science and business.
I wish that in the future a fire in a multi-storey office building means that once we hear the alarm, we finish sending our emails, pack our current-work documents, pick up our lunch box and quietly leave the building.
Certainly, there are particular technical conditions in every country; this is, however, no hindrance for us. We always look for local partners where we could combine our technology with local construction requirements.
We are open to new ventures wherever synergies are sought. We look at our markets in a long-term perspective where short-term market fluctuation has no impact.
What about testing your glass abroad?
POLFLAM owns an in-house testing facility: a furnace testing resistance to fire in compliance with the technical standard PN-EN 1363-1, similar to the ones used by research institutions and certifying bodies. We have devices to test the resistance of glass to extreme temperatures and to UV radiation. Each batch leaving our factory undergoes extensive quality control.
Having our new solutions tested in certified institutions is not an issue for us, as the tests are preceded with similarly strict tests in our in-house laboratory.
We particularly care about the safety margin, that is why, POLFLAM® glass goes beyond the fire resistance requirements meant for the given class.
Our glass has already been tested in a number of European institutes: in Germany, the UK, France, Italy, and Turkey.
Anyhow, it is the real use that verifies the quality of the product. Our glass has been on the market for over ten years; in facades, windows, doors or glazed interior walls.
Let’s conclude now: what makes it unique?
We should start from the basics. POLFLAM makes glass classified as fire-resistant – from EI 30 to EI 180. On top of these, the glass used in stairs and floor constructions has a relevant load bearing capacity in fire incidents – R, that is, the capacity to bear the required load.
Thereby, we have glass that allows us to make light-weight and transparent fire-proof glass walls in all the fire-resistance classes.The term ‘light-weight’ refers not only to the optical effect.
The weight of the glass made using our technology is really low; the latter being even more evident in the higher classes. The latter is of importance because fire-resistant glass walls normally generate considerable load for the building’s structure which needs strengthening.
POLFLAM® glass boasts exceptional transparency and noise control.
The glass resists to UV radiation and requires no extra PVB film.
Other than that, there are some installation advantages. POLFLAM glass is symmetrical and does not require positioning when mounted which eliminates any risk of error that would otherwise result in a loss of aesthetic and fire-resistance values.
We produce curved glass as well, which provides the opportunity of making non-standard oval-shaped corners for glass walls. Apart from this, we make glass panels of non-standard shapes: arches, polygons, etc. and of uniquely large dimensions, up to 2420mm x 4620mm.
I could go on naming other features, however, of key importance seems to be flexibility of application and multi-functionality of our glass.
All of the glazings in any fire-resistance class may well have an extra function, e.g. we provide it with the required function trough adding an appropriate glass pane.
The safety requirements continue to grow; the trend seems to be irrevocable. Therefore, the future market is the multi-functionality market. We built a production line for this kind of glass in our factory. We own a hardening furnace and a lamination oven. The latter are good examples of our philosophy .
Briefly speaking: “our own and from scratch”. POLFLAM® glass is a pioneering technology solution based on our proprietary-formula fire-resistant gel. POLFLAM is its independent producer – from R&D down through to production.
This independence allows us for a 100% control of the production process and, by that, its quality. Fire-resistant glass is to ensure safety; there is no room for default.
It is said that the fire-resistance sector was born with the great fire of London in 1666 and has, since its beginnings, been based on research and experiment.
We have gone a long way over the past 350 years, from fire hooks and buckets to fire-resistant construction materials. We believe this is not the end of the journey, that is why, we keep searching for better solutions.
For more information, go to www.polflam.com