Wacker expands facility for insulation systems

Wacker expands facility for insulation systems
The Munich-based Wacker Group has built a new test facility for certifying modern external thermal insulation composite systems at its Burghausen site. The key features of the facility are two climatic chambers with weathering walls as per EOTA (European Organisation for Technical Approvals) guidelines. They can be used to test exterior insulation systems under a wide variety of climatic conditions. The Group invested around €1 million in the expansion project. Wacker is thus extending its range of services and consulting offering for customers and partners, while meeting the globally rising demand for high-quality exterior insulation systems.

The expansion was made necessary by the growing market for insulation systems and the associated rising customer demand for means of testing their polymer-modified exterior systems. The new test facilities, which belong to Wacker Polymers' applications laborato-ries, now have their own building at the Burghausen site. On an area of approximately 300 m2, the EOTA test center houses two ultramodern climatic chambers with six concrete test walls each, of which two can undergo weathering tests at the same time. The specially designed walls subject external thermal insulation composite systems (ETICS) to the toughest of climatic conditions. Aging and weathering processes are accelerated to ascertain the materials' performance and stability. The climatic chambers can simulate a wide range of conditions – from tropical humidity or rain to permafrost. In addition, tests as per EOTA guidelines can be performed: during a four-week test phase, the wall is subjected to 80 hygrothermal and five frost cycles, which involve temperatures ranging from -20 to +70 °C, variable atmospheric humidity and spraying with water, followed by a detailed inspection (as per test regulation ETAG 004).

"Prior to the expansion, the waiting period for a test wall was around one and a half years – simply too long for our customers, who want to certify their newly developed systems quickly and launch them on the market," says Dr. Christoph Riemer, head of dispersible polymer powder business at Wacker Polymers, explaining the need for the expansion. "Our new, state-of-the-art test center enables us to reliably meet our customers' rising demand for first-class test methods and comprehensive service, now and in the years to come – thus securing our leading global position in dispersible polymer powders for modern construction applications."

In view of rising energy prices, efficient exterior insulation is playing an ever greater role worldwide. After all, the better a building's insulation, the less energy is needed for heating and cooling – significant energy savings are possible. Wacker's Vinnapas dispersible polymer powders ensure that the insulation system's insulating material is securely bonded to the adhesive and embedding mortar, and to the finish coat. As a result, the insulation system offers much greater resistance to weathering and wear, and lasts longer.