The company has installed the new test furnace at its Actionair factory in Whitstable, Kent where it has been developing fire safety products including a full range of fire, volume control and smoke dampers for more than 40 years.
Having a test furnace on site is in line with the company ethos of providing products that are well adapted to the local market and developing fully tested, tailored solutions to specifically suit UK and Ireland customers.
The need for a test furnace had become more urgent following the Grenfell Tower disaster, which led to unprecedented demand for certification testing and put huge strain on existing capacity across the sector. This had the knock-on effect of making it difficult for manufacturers to find facilities able to carry out the crucial preliminary tests needed to help develop new products.
With that in mind, Smoke and Fire Director Andrew Collard said “we feel it now is the time for the company to have its own fire test furnace in-house; designed to our specifications. This will help us keep up with plans to serve our customers with improved installation methods, well adapted for our local needs.”
The furnace at Whitstable will allow Actionair to speed up development testing in line with the appropriate industry technical standards. It will also make it possible to quickly develop, test and refine different installation methods to make life easier for its customers on site.
“The industry has been held back by lack of availability of test facilities for too long. This has lengthened lead times and delayed innovation in this vital market,” said Swegon UK&I Managing Director Robin Vollert.
“We decided to tackle this problem head-on and this significant investment will allow us to accelerate our innovation and deliver fully tested products to market more rapidly. It will also ensure that our products continue to be robust, dependable and backed up by extensive test data.
“It is another part of our wider strategy as a leading indoor environment quality supplier to provide safe and healthy buildings with the lowest lifecycle costs” he added.