Why does Laminators Incorporated not need a FR (fire rated) core?

Why does Laminators Incorporated use a polypropylene core?

Polypropylene (PP) was discovered by Italian and German scientists in the mid-1950s, and is currently the second leading plastic product produced and used throughout the world.  Today, Polypropylene is surpassed in production volume only by polyethylene (PE), discovered a couple decades earlier.

Polypropylene offers many physical, chemical, thermal and mechanical advantages.  PP is used in a wide variety of commercial and residential applications including packaging, labeling, stationary, textiles (ropes, carpets), plastic parts and reusable containers of various types (disposable bottles, storage boxes, buckets), laboratory equipment, roofing membranes, automotive components (bumpers, batteries), utensils, clothing, etc.

Key features of polypropylene (PP)

  • High melting point compared to many other plastics
  • Chemically resistant—does not react with water, oils, detergents, acids, or bases so it won’t break down easily
  • Thermally stable—able to change in size with temperature
  • Lightweight, yet heavy-duty
  • Moderate to high strength-to-weight ratio
  • Long-lasting—extremely sturdy, durable and tough
  • Resistant to cracking and stress, even when flexed
  • Excellent impact strength
  • Offers good insulation
  • Colorfast (UV stable)—colors will stay bright and resist fading with direct exposure to sunlight
  • 100% recyclable
  • Safe—not considered a health hazard

So, why does Laminators Inc. use a polypropylene (PP), corrugated core? 

Located between low-density polyethylene (LDPE) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) on a scale of crystallinity, polypropylene is tough, flexible, and fatigue resistant.  Like polyethylene (PE), PP is a thermoplastic polymer but is more rigid when compared to PE of similar densities.

Omega-Lite® is manufactured with a high-quality, polypropylene, fluted core to achieve optimal use of the materials, thereby making a rigid, yet lightweight, product to maximize its effectiveness and keep the costs reasonable.

Due to its high melting point, it takes more energy for Polypropylene to burn per unit volume (compared to PE) providing better NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) 285 performance without the need to add fillers and fire retardants.  Since less polymer material (i.e. less fuel) is used in the fluted core, there is a smaller contribution to the spreading of flames and more favorable fire performance.   Utilizing both the fluted geometry and the PP core, Laminators does not need to add fillers to our polymer to achieve NFPA 285 compliance or a class A fire rating for the Omega-Lite™ panel.  Our baseline PP core, with the optimized material use, is full-scale fire compliant in our NFPA 285 assemblies.  Because the core of our standard Omega‐Lite product has passed the rigorous NFPA 285 testing with several of our installation systems, we do not need to offer a separate fire rated (FR) core version of our product.

Unlike other ACM manufacturers with separate FR product lines that are offered at a higher cost, our standard, Omega‐Lite product meets specified fire requirements without adding extra costs.  All solid core ACM panel manufacturers, without exception, must add fire retardants and fillers to reduce the polymer content to make a panel capable of achieving NFPA 285 compliance, which typically adds significant weight and cost to the panel.

About Laminators Incorporated

Laminators offers a wide variety of aluminum composite panels and installation systems to meet specific and unique requirements.  With a multitude of standard colors and finishes to choose from, the design options are endless.  Our standard colors are coil-coated for a consistent, long-lasting finish.  We also offer custom colors to match your exact specifications.

In addition, Laminators offers a variety of cores for our ACM panels. Omega‐Lite has a polypropylene, corrugated core. Thermolite incorporates an insulated foam core sandwiched between the same corrugated core Omega‐Lite utilizes. Omega Foam‐Ply also has an insulated foam core, but it is between hardboard stabilizers. Omega‐Ply has an exterior‐grade plywood core. Our Architectural Systems Technical Guide and our Architectural Selector Tool are available to assist you in selecting the best product for your specific project.