Fire safety has always been important, but flame retardant materials have become an expectation or a requirement in a wide range of settings.

Tragic events over recent years have led to lessons being learnt and lives being saved by new technologies and improved focuses within tighter regulations. The combustibility of materials in buildings has been an important focus in this conversation.

Flame retardant building materials can be crucial, but it’s also important that printed materials don’t exacerbate a fire.

While flammable materials help to spread fire, flame retardant materials are designed to prevent or slow the growth of fire. Various materials, including inks and plastics on printed products can also emit harmful fumes when exposed to fire and so it’s important that both of these risks are mitigated when it comes to print.

Photo of a flame retardant fire panel being printed

We are seeing more industries using flame retardant materials for print, and a wider variety of applications for them as fire safety has become a vital consideration for designers.

At Bex, we are constantly on the lookout for the very best quality materials so that we can provide the outstanding level of products and services that our customers expect. That’s why we’ve teamed up with Cadillac Plastic Limited to offer state of the art Lexan flame retardant materials.

An essential safety standard

All of the Lexan materials that we offer carry the UL94 V-0 fire safety rating. In industries such as rail, automotive and aerospace, where public safety is of the utmost importance, UL94 V-0 is an essential safety standard. 

To achieve this rating, materials are put through the UL94 standard test for flammability of plastic materials for parts in devices and appliances. 

The test measures the self-extinguishing time of materials, and to receive the highest V-0 rating the material must extinguish in less than 10 seconds with no dripping.

The rating means that in the event of a fire the material would help to resist flames, and not contribute to the spread of a fire. 

Highly effective flame retardant material

The Lexan materials are all velvet flame retardant polycarbonate films, meaning they are an ideal solution for a range of industries. 

Alongside its flame retardant properties, polycarbonate is lightweight (roughly half the weight of glass), durable and easily mouldable. 

It may seem too good to be true that such a material stands up to a fire so well. But sheets of polycarbonate minimally contribute to fire spread. That means that once a fire reaches the polycarbonate, the rate of spread will be very slow, particularly when compared to combustible materials.

What’s more, polycarbonate produces very little smoke in the presence of fire. 

Wide range of applications

So, we’ve established that the Lexan materials are highly fire retardant, but what can they be used for? 

The UL94 V-0 rating means that they can be used for a number of purposes in both electronics and transportation. 

Along with being resistant to flames, the films offer ease of thermoforming, hydroforming, embossing, die-cutting, folding and bending. 

This makes them suitable for applications in electronics such as printed circuit boards and TV and monitor insulation, along with a wide range of uses such as panels and displays in buildings and transportation such as trains, aircraft and electric cars.

If you’d like to find out more, or discover how we can help you print a range of fire proof products, don’t hesitate to get in touch

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