Published 26th Oct 2018

Remember, Remember: Print Media Fire Ratings Explained

    As bonfire night approaches, awash with safety messages designed to keep us out of harm’s way while we enjoy ourselves at bonfires and firework displays, it’s important to remember that fire safety is a key consideration for printing clients across a broad range of industries all year round, and the fire ratings that govern the materials’ fire safety levels.

    Introduction

    It is essential to recognise the year-round importance of fire safety, especially in public spaces that attract large crowds. From the structural integrity of buildings to interior finishes and promotional materials like banners and boards, every element must uphold stringent fire safety standards. This article delves into the critical fire certifications for digital print materials, shedding light on various classifications and their implications on safety.

    European Fire Classifications

    In Europe, materials used in commercial buildings undergo rigourous testing through the ‘Single Burning Item’ (SBI) test, resulting in a fire rating according to the EN 13501-1 standard. This standard categorises materials into six Euroclasses, ranging from A to F. Class A designates non-combustible materials, typically reserved for structural elements, while Class F signifies highly combustible materials.

    S and D Ratings

    Within each Euroclass, materials receive additional S (smoke production) and D (flaming droplets/particles) ratings. For instance, an s1 rating indicates minimal smoke production, while an s3 rating implies significant smoke generation during combustion. Similarly, a d0 rating denotes that a material does not break down into flaming droplets or particles, while a d2 rating suggests that it readily disintegrates into smaller pieces, potentially spreading the fire.

    National Equivalences

    European fire classifications correlate with national standards in various countries. For composite materials, Euroclass B holds the highest relevance. This classification is equivalent to Germany’s DIN4102 B1 rating, France’s NFP 92-501 M1 rating, and the UK’s BS476 Class 0 rating. Therefore, key fire ratings for products and materials across Europe include EN13501 B-s1 d0, B1, M1, and M2.

    Impact of Inks and Lamination

    Once inks are applied to materials, their fire rating may be affected. So it’s crucial to choose inks that are compatible with the fire certification of the base material to maintain its intended fire resistance.

    Lamination, commonly used to enhance durability and aesthetics, can also influence the fire rating of a material. Depending on the type of lamination and its composition, the fire resistance may be enhanced or potentially compromised. So it’s advisable to consult with experts and choose laminates that are compatible with the intended fire safety standards.

    Innotech’s Commitment to Safety

    We offer a range of products compliant with various fire certifications. This allows customers to confidently assure their clients of the safety and performance of Innotech’s banner materials. The Vertex, Envirotech and Vistaflex ranges, for example boasts one or both of the EN13501 and B1 ratings.

    Conclusion

    So when it comes to digital print materials, fire safety certifications are paramount, specially in spaces that house large gatherings of people. Understanding the nuances of fire classifications, the impact of inks, and the role of lamination is crucial for ensuring the safety and compliance of printed materials. Innotech’s dedication to providing materials that meet stringent fire standards underscores our commitment to both quality and safety. For further information or specific project inquiries, reach out to the Innotech team today.

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