TS45545: new LATI grades
The field of railway transport is traditionally among the most attentive to safety. Providing maximum protection to passengers is, in fact, a priority, but also a quite difficult challenge in complex systems such as rail trains.
A very strict and precise regulation was recently introduced in the field of materials in order to define different levels of reliability in case of fire.
The technical TS 45545 standard, which is meant to become European standard in 2013, classifies railway vehicles first of all based on the vehicle category (subways, trains, trams) and area of use, e.g. transport of goods, passengers, etc. At the same time, possible fire risks are evaluated also considering the possibility of intervention.
Within this scheme, parameters allowing the use of a certain material in a given position are defined.
The following points are evaluated:
- fire behavior, through the limit oxygen index (LOI) that provides an indication of flammability degree of materials;
- fume toxicity (CIT), which assesses the risks not directly related to fire, but to gaseous emissions from combustion;
- optical density of smoke (DS), linked to the risks from the impossibility of finding an escape route due to the barrier effect of smoke.
The combination of these three parameters has evolved into three defined risk classes (HL), numbered by increasing order of safety.
Among all materials that can be found on vehicles belonging to this group, plastics in general are generally considered with high concern because of their behavior in case of fire.
Thanks to their intrinsic non flammability, thermosetting resins – as bakelite – have been selected in time as one of the most reliable material for applications in railway sector.
Thermosets in general suffer for a lack of overall performance and a questionable environmental impact, as they can not be recycled in any way.
For this reason LATI – a major producer of thermoplastic engineering compounds - decided to powerfully enter the context of railway safety as a main player, with investments in research and certifications, so as to offer a comprehensive and reliable proposal to companies operating in this sector.
Self-extinguishing materials that were globally evaluated and approved by the certification body as suitable for product manufacturing according to risk classes are the following five:
- LATAMID 6 H2 G/20 V2HF: 20% glass fiber reinforced PA6 based compound, halogen and red phosphorus-free, UL94 V2, maximum risk class HL2;
- LATAMID 6 H2 G/30-V0HF1: 30% glass fiber reinforced PA6 based compound, halogen and red phosphorus-free, UL94 V0, maximum risk class HL2;
- LATAMID 6 H V0: PA6 based compound, UL94 V0, maximum risk class HL3;
- LATAMID 66 H2 G/25-V0HF1: 25% glass fiber reinforced PA66 based compound, halogen and red phosphorus-free, UL94 V0, maximum risk class HL2;
- LATAMID 66 H2 G/25-V0CT4: 25% glass fiber reinforced PA66 based compound, UL94 V0, maximum risk class HL3.
Other materials are being certified and will soon be made available for TS 45545 applications.
LATI offers a wide range of materials featuring the maximum risk class (HL3) in both reinforced version, e.g. for structural elements, switch supports, contact units, and in a more resilient version so as to meet the most various application requirements.
LATI's research continues: the goal is not only to offer more and more efficient, but also cleaner and safer products using formulations that are free from halogens, red phosphorus, antimony, as well as other problematic synergists.
LATI's web site database, salesman and technicians are available for any further development.
16 May 2012
LATI Industria Termoplastici S.p.A.
Via F. Baracca, 7 21040
Vedano Olona (VA) - Italy
Tel. : +390332409111 - Fax: +390332409307