Hempel invests in life-saving fire protection coatings

Global coatings company Hempel is investing in a new research and development centre focused solely on passive fire protection coatings. Located just outside Barcelona in Spain, the centre is due to open towards the end of 2018.

Visualisation of Hempel's new PFP coatings R&D centre. Source: Hempel -

The investment demonstrates Hempel's commitment to further developing its range of life-saving fire protection coatings as well as expanding its unique global R&D network.

Increased importance

Passive fire protection (PFP) coatings are increasingly important in the construction and oil and gas industries. Applied to structural steel in large buildings and industrial oil and gas installations, the coatings expand to form an insulating layer of carbon char when exposed to high temperatures. This enables the steel to maintain its load-bearing capacity for up to four hours longer during a fire, giving people valuable time to escape the building and for fire fighters to put the fire out.

Focus solely on PFP coatings

Hempel is a leading manufacturer of PFP products. Its existing range of PFP coatings for cellulosic fires, “Hempacore”, includes both fast-drying and waterborne versions, and has been used on civil structures around the globe including airports, train stations, logistics centres, sport facilities, warehouses and industrial factories. A new R&D facility focused solely on PFP coatings will enable Hempel to further expand its PFP product range, including developing PFP coatings for hydrocarbon fires, which are encountered in the oil and gas industry.

Accelerating product development

Lars Petersson, Group Executive Vice President & Chief Operational Officer at Hempel, comments. “The new facility will significantly increase our fire testing capabilities, enabling us to accelerate our PFP coatings development.” The new facility will employ 35 experienced technicians and scientists. It will be located in Santa Perpètua de Mogoda near Barcelona, just five kilometres from Hempel's existing Spanish R&D facility and Spanish head office in Polinyà.

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