Does Your Facility Need Flame-Rated Industrial Curtain Walls?

By: Mark Deutsch
If your facility is using industrial curtains to separate different areas or workspaces, it’s important to know whether they are flame-rated. Likewise, if you’re considering implementing a curtain wall system in your location, you’ll want to research the options available to you as well as your specific use for them, in order to determine whether you’ll need flame-rated curtains or not.

Dividing Workspace Using Curtains Vs. Permanent Walls

Curtain walls are an economical solution to creating different areas within a larger facility for different projects, and can be a flexible and durable option. They’re a less-expensive way to create different work enclosures in a building, and since they can be retracted or moved easily, they’re a more versatile option as well. One valuable feature is that they are flame-rated, much the same as interior walls are. Installation is quick and easy, and these curtains can contain loud noises, debris and dust, when fabricated for that application.

What Industries Can Benefit from Flame-rated Curtains?

It would be a disservice to list only a few industries that would benefit from fireproof curtains, as a fire can happen in virtually any location, and in the event of an emergency, flame-rating a section is better than a situation that is left completely unprotected. That being said, there are a few industries where fire may be more likely than others, and therefore flame-resistance should be seen as more of a necessity rather than an option when choosing industrial curtains. Industries like the auto industry or other businesses that perform a lot of welding or soldering—anything where sparks can fly or have flammable materials on location—should consider only using flame-rated curtains as opposed to curtains that are not flame-resistant. In the event of an emergency, this forethought can be the difference between property damage and property being destroyed.

Flame-rated curtains are especially useful when it comes to employee safety, as they can shield workers from welding arc, flash burns and sparks. If your business works with metal fabrication, durable goods manufacturing, or metal cutting and welding, consider installing flame-rated curtains to help protect your employees and improve their work environment and conditions.

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What Renders These Curtains Flame-rated?

Some of the fabrics used for creating high temperature – flame resistant curtains include silicone-coated fiberglass, slag shed fiberglass, vermiculite-coated fiberglass, and fire-proof or flame-resistant vinyl. At AmCraft, we use 18oz. fire retardant vinyl polyester, mesh and fabric coated flame-rated materials. We also offer lighter weight materials for applications that do not need as much fire resistance.

The reason that the above listed materials can be classified as flame-rated is that they do not support flame. There are different degrees of flame rating. On the lighter, less stringent end of the specter, a material will burn when an independent source of flame is applied and self-extinguish when that independent source of flame is removed.

On the other side of the flame-rating spectrum, some material will not ignite even with an independent source of flame directly applied. The authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) reviewing your situation is your best source of an accurate assessment and recommendation of the flame rating you will need for compliance.

When you’re debating using industrial curtains, be sure to consider the benefits that flame-rating options offer—keeping your employees safe is a concern, but so is protecting your property and facility in the event of an emergency. When something is as easy as choosing a curtain that’s been manufactured for safety, why not select that option?