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In China, recent fires in Jilin, Inner Mongolia and Hunan killed hundreds of people, because of the materials with poor fire resistance used in the construction of buildings and because of sub-standard fire safety practices. These tragedieshave prompted the authorities to enforce strict controls on the materials used in the construction industry. Phenolic foam’s non-combustibility and low smoke intensity make it the best candidate for complying with the new rules.
(Published on August-September 2005 – JEC Magazine #19)
Cannon, who has been very active in the discontinuous panels market over the past years, recently invested in the development of continuous laminators. Amid fierce competition from other equipment suppliers, the company secured the first order from a Chinese company to supply a complete continuous phenolic foam plant to produce panels for the construction industry.
The line will manufacture insulated sandwich panels for air conditioning systems. The laminator has been designed with close tolerances in the machining of the laminator slats in order to achieve various panel thicknesses (10-50mm). Basically, the maximum production speed allowed is 10m/min., although it depends on the thickness applied. Panel width will be 1,200mm.
A highly integrated line
The line is characterised by the high degree of integration among the different processing units: foaming unit, unwinding group, automatic handling of finished panels, quality control, testing and continuous evaluation of the production. Furthermore, all the equipment in contact with phenolic material has been designed to suit the corrosive nature of the chemical.
The wet side is composed of a lowpressure metering machine connected to an automatic premixing system that prepares a mixture of phenolic resins, selected mineral fillers and additives. For protection in the event of contact with an ignition source and in order to improve and ensure flame-retardant properties, phenolic systems can be designed to meet the requirements of specific flammability ratings. These values may be enhanced by the selective use of inorganic fillers and reinforcements.
Once foaming is performed, the aluminiumfilm facings and phenolic sandwich enter a double belt conveyor for the polymerisation phase. Cannon has developed a special, patented “endless screws driving system” that guarantees a much more constant movement of the conveyor slats, especially at low speeds. Afterwards, the continuous insulated panel comes into the cutting unit, which has a special trimming system to finish the panel sides. Scraps are immediately ground and collected on-line as waste.