Warringtonfire enhances fire safety testing with new SBI equipment

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New SBI testing equipment installed at Warringtonfire

Warringtonfire has invested in new equipment to increase capacity for single-burning item (SBI) testing of construction products at its Holmesfield Road laboratory in Warrington.

As reported by Warringtonfire, SBI testing is a key method for assessing a product’s reaction to fire performance.

This includes measuring lateral flame spread, rate of heat release, propensity for the production of flaming droplets, and the rate and amount of smoke production.

The new equipment, commissioned in June, will be used to test various construction products, including wall and ceiling coverings and linear pipe insulation, in line with BS EN 13823.

Details of the SBI testing process

The SBI test utilises a 30kW propane-powered sandbox burner to simulate a wastepaper basket or small chair fire.

The test specimens are mounted on two vertically oriented walls arranged to form a 90° open corner.

Warringtonfire’s Holmesfield Road laboratory is one of a few UKAS-accredited sites in the UK offering SBI testing.

This new equipment is the latest in a series of major investments by parent company Element Materials Technology in Warrington.

Future developments in Warringtonfire facilities

The investment follows the announcement of a new $30 million fire resistance facility at Birchwood Park, set to open in January 2025.

This 101k sq. ft laboratory will triple the current testing capacity in Warrington.

Upon the opening of the Birchwood Park facility, the Holmesfield Road laboratory will become a centre of excellence for reaction to fire testing.

It will continue to operate small-scale testing for flame spread and heat release.

Leigh Hill, Director at Warringtonfire, said: “Single-burning item testing is a critical stage in bringing a new construction product to market in a safe and responsible way.

“It can help stakeholders make informed decisions on fire safety and material selection, safe in the knowledge that the product in question will perform as expected if a fire does occur.”

Hill added: “The additional SBI testing facility at our Holmesfield Road laboratory will provide much-needed UKAS-accredited capacity for the manufacturers of construction products, while also proving a key milestone in our long-term plan to transform the site into a centre of excellence for reaction to fire testing in the UK.”

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