ArcelorMittal polyurethane sandwich panels certified by ACERMI

Olivier LEBLANC - ArcelorMittal Construction France

Interview with Olivier LEBLANC, certification manager at ArcelorMittal Construction France, construction branch of the ArcelorMittal group

ArcelorMittal Construction France, a subsidiary of ArcelorMittal, the largest steelmaker in the world, produces a wide range of wall-cladding and roof panels. In 2014, the company initiated the ACERMI Springboard (Tremplin) certification process for its sandwich panels with polyisocyanurate foam. On February 18, 2015, the first ACERMI Springboard certificate appeared on a sandwich panel. In 2017, the company is ready to move up to the new ACERMI technical specification developed for this type of product.

Which products are ACERMI certified?

Sandwich panels used in wall cladding, roofs, ceilings and partition walls are divided into two main families: industrial panels for dedicated sites and office buildings and cold panels for food-processing and refrigerated buildings, in which the temperatures vary between +/-40 C°.

Why did you undertake the Springboard certification process?

Generally, an ACERMI insulation material is a product designed to be integrated into a building element, whereas at ArcelorMittal we have a finished product that makes up the entire building element through these sandwich panels. And so in 2014, we decided to begin certification through the Springboard Technical Specification. It's a procedure that was developed by ACERMI for new products such as ours, in order to obtain the ACERMI technical specification within three years. It's a real alternative that opens up the way for innovation.

Multipurpose sports center
Multipurpose sports center featuring sandwich panels

What does ACERMI certification bring you?

ArcelorMittal has been making panels for about 40 years. Our polyurethane sandwich panels are now considered conventional. Up until now, they were validated by a Technical Approval (DTA), but under RAGE (the French Environmental Policy Standard Practice), these approvals will be canceled on July 1, 2017. The solution, which makes it possible to demonstrate with certainty the thermal performance of our products, is thus to obtain ACERMI certification. In this way, we will comply with the RAGE technical specification and, regarding the performance levels of the panels, we will benefit from several certifications, including a thermal one: ACERMI. We are working on gaining recognition for ACERMI through the European EPAQ certification, but also on getting other performance aspects included by ACERMI, which are covered by other certifications, such as EVCP1 and EPAQ. Of course, the process takes a lot of time and money. It's a choice we make so that we can offer sandwich panels certified as having the lowest thermal conductivity on the market, setting us apart from the competition.

What are the strengths of this certification?

It ensures that a certified product possesses the characteristics specified on its label. The entitlement to use the ACERMI certificate is reassessed periodically. Our customers know about this regular testing, and it builds their trust. From a commercial standpoint, it proves the quality of our products, as their thermal performance is never questioned, because this certification is recognized in France as being THE thermal standard. Finally, it makes our customers eligible for the environmental tax credit for construction work.

Where do you stand today?

We are working together with ACERMI and the Syndicat Enveloppe Métallique du Bâtiment (Metal Building Envelope Syndicate), pertaining to our business, in order to finalize a regulation specific to sandwich panels, which will be called RP 17, and which will allow us to transition to a conventional ACERMI certification including other characteristics in addition to thermal resistance. The name Springboard certainly fits this example!

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