V.A.V. Group’s self-extinguishing Fire X silicone has passed the most demanding railway transportation safety tests and is now classified as HL3 level profiles according to the EN 45545-2:2020 standard. The Fire X material has passed the tests before, but now we have reached the highest level of fire safety. The renewed Fire X product is known as Fire X 2023.
What is the EN 45545 standard?
EN 45545-2:2020 is a European standard specifying fire behaviour requirements and testing methods for materials, components, and systems used in railway vehicles. This standard is part of a series of European standards (EN 45545) that were developed to improve the safety of railway vehicles concerning fire hazards. It is specifically concerned with the fire safety of railway rolling stock.
EN 45545-2:2020 covers the fire behaviour and fire resistance of materials and products used in railway vehicles. It provides requirements and testing procedures for assessing the reaction to fire of these materials, components, and systems. The standard applies to various materials used in the construction of railway vehicles, including seat covers, flooring materials, insulation, cables, and other interior and exterior elements.
EN 45545-2 categorizes railway vehicles into fire performance categories (HL1, HL2, and HL3) based on the vehicle’s intended use and passenger occupancy. Each category has specific requirements for fire behaviour. The standard outlines specific tests and methods for evaluating fire performance, including flame spread, smoke emission, and toxic gas production tests. These tests are used to determine whether a material or product meets the requirements for its intended use. EN 45545-2:2020 is the latest version of the standard and supersedes the previous version, EN 45545-2:2013. It reflects updates and improvements in fire safety standards for railway vehicles.
All new railway projects should be following the updated 2020 version of the EN 45545 standard, and meet all its requirements in all components.
Why is it important?
Manufacturers of materials, components, and systems used in railway vehicles must ensure that their products comply with the relevant fire safety requirements specified in EN 45545-2:2020. The standard is part of the broader effort to harmonize safety standards for railway systems across Europe. It helps ensure consistent fire safety standards for railway vehicles in European countries.
It’s important to note that the EN 45545 series is part of a larger framework of European standards related to railway safety, and it works in conjunction with other standards that cover different aspects of railway systems and components. Compliance with EN 45545-2:2020 is essential for manufacturers and operators to ensure the fire safety of railway vehicles and to protect passengers and personnel in the event of a fire.
How is it made?
Fire X is a silicone profile enhanced with fire-retardant and halogen-free materials. In short, the seals and profiles (along with other materials used in trains and their interiors) cannot ignite easily, burn aggressively at any point, or emit toxic fumes when predisposed to extreme heat. Fire X profiles are treated so that they will not burn but rather smoulder and char even at the highest temperatures, maintaining their ability to prevent fires from spreading. This is a crucial feature for any profiles used in doors, windows and latches on rolling stock.
Halogen-free profiles enhance the safety of railway passengers, as they will not be exposed to toxic gases, but also the safety of firefighters. Halogen gases are also highly corrosive, which may cause further damage to other components of the vehicle (or building).
We produce Fire X profiles entirely at our manufacturing site in Ii, northern Finland. Using our own recipe and carefully selected raw materials, we can ensure our clients that our Fire X profiles meet the highest standards for fire-retardant profiles.
Other use cases
Because the railway industry demands such high standards for fire safety, the Fire X can be easily used in other environments with less strict requirements. The halogen-free Fire X does not burst into flames at any temperature, nor does it emit toxic fumes, so it is a safe choice for small enclosures as well as large rooms or buildings. For example, the building and automotive industries have their own standards, but Fire X meets them in most cases. Of course, there are other alternatives, such as our silicone or TPV profiles, which can also be treated to enhance their natural heat-resistant properties even further. For example, server rooms are often equipped with automatic fire extinguishers that protect the rest of the building in case of fire in the server room itself, but sealing the doors with a simple solution could enhance fire safety even further.
Fire X and TPV can replace the commonly used EPDM, which can also be treated to withstand extreme temperatures. The advantages of Fire X, compared to EPDM, are a greater variety of hardnesses and colours, along with more manageable and often more reliable joints in angles or round shapes. In our previous article, you can read more about replacing EPDM with TPE/TPV.
Do you want to take fire safety to the next level?
The EN 45545-2:2020 is a specific standard for the railway and rolling stock industry, but our fire-resistant, fire-retardant, halogen-free, and self-extinguishing profiles can be adapted to suit your particular needs in other industries. If you want a modern, safe and versatile profile material, contact our sales so we can find the right solution for you!