Kalzip and 3P: making the impossible possible.
World-leading manufacturers of roof and façade systems rely on 3P plastics technologies.
Kalzip is the world’s leading manufacturer of creative tailored aluminium building shells. To date, it has processed over 80 million square metres around the world, for projects such as the International Tennis Centre in Shanghai and the International Airport in Mumbai, India.
3P comes into play
Initially, the cooperation between 3P and Kalzip was based on a new Energy Saving Ordinance (ESO) which came into force in 2007, with the second stage to be completed by 2009 and which stipulated a reduction in energy consumption for buildings of up to thirty percent.
This meant that the components which led to poor energy results for buildings needed to be optimised to meet the requirements of the new ordinance.
This is where the order to 3P came in: to develop a system holder for Kalzip profile boards which guarantees the mechanical properties of the aluminium holders previously used at the same time as improved energy performance.
Which material – that is the question
New ideas in plastics technology.
While only metals could previously guarantee a secure connection between system components, plastics technology has come on in leaps and bounds in recent years when it comes to material properties, strength and service life.
For example, many metal components in the automotive sector have now been replaced by plastics. Here, the benefit lies in the reduced weight.
The real question for the engineers at 3P and Kalzip at this stage was whether plastics technology could be applied in the construction sector.
Numerous experiments were carried out into what requirements the material would need to fulfil: On the one hand, the new Kalzip system fastener would need to withstand temperature fluctuations of -30° to +50° Centigrade, on the other it would need to guarantee a firm hold on Kalzip profile boards even under windy and stormy conditions.
3P’s idea: to use a compound material made from steel and plastic, known as a hybrid. The galvanised sheet steel core stabilises the material. The plastic sleeve ensures the energy property requirements are fulfilled.
All the engineers involved were highly sceptical that it could be achieved, as were our clients.
Know-how at its best
Despite all the scepticism, we did know that our engineers were extraordinarily skilled and we gave them the go-ahead. The first phase, which lasted several months, was a development phase involving numerous prototypes and a series of tests. Our engineers pored over the statics. They constantly made calculations for new shapes. They optimised the individual components from one series of tests to the next. Until one day they got it: the final clip geometry for the new system hybrid fastener for Kalzip profile boards was born. The champagne corks popped.
But we couldn’t give up yet
There was still a problem to overcome: the series production of our product could not cost more than the aluminium clips previously used. A new clip would only stand a chance in the market if it was at least at a similar price to the conventional product. In comparison, the production of a compound clip is complicated – there are many more production processes involved than for an aluminium fastener.
Our enthusiasm seemed to vanish into thin air. We seemed to be facing an insurmountable problem.
When ambition strikes the pros
But our engineers were struck by ambition. They got back to calculating, tweaking and testing. They automated the production process down to the very last detail. One year and numerous series of tests later: success!
We presented our client with a perfect product with fantastic production costs. It created a real stir in the industry around the world.
(Today, we are the sole manufacturer of the Kalzip hybrid system fastener.)
Comment from the project manager responsible at Kalzip:
The aim of developing the e-clip further was to improve the technical properties of the product at the same time as minimising production costs.
In 3P and the technical team at Mikropakk, we found two partners who were willing to tackle such a difficult project with us. Despite the contradictory requirements, we put in a great deal of innovation and tweaks and made a huge number of prototypes and after two years successfully produced a solution which was ideal in terms of both technology and price. Without the innovation of these two companies, we would never have managed it. The product is currently in the process of being launched onto the market.