Large Format Porcelain

Introduction

With the latest manufacturing technology, porcelain has now become one of the most exciting products for commercial building cladding. With exceptional aesthetics, combined with its mechanical properties, porcelain offers many benefits and exceptionally low maintenance. Traditionally, porcelain has been limited in panel size (typically max size 1200 x 1200mm) which combined with a fairly brittle nature, has limited it’s use in active seismic zones. Latest production techniques have radically changed this.

Fire Rating

Porcelain is fired at 1200 - 1250°C during production and is non-combustible; plain porcelain will not support combustion or produce toxic fumes/smoke. The new multi-layer, large panel format is typically 2 thinner sheets, robotically laminated with a high-quality, polyurethane adhesive and fiberglass fabric reinforcement. The adhesive is completely encapsulated between the two non-combustible layers, as such a small level of smoke and fumes are produced in the event of fire (yet significantly less than most other cladding materials), and will not openly support combustion. In some classes of building it is important to consider potential implications of this with the project fire engineer. Insite Facades have experience with this and fire-test data, to support robust engineering and ensure NZBC code compliance.

Manufacturing

Insite Facades have a unique position in the NZ market, in that we have processing machinery and handling equipment including vacuum glass-lifters in-house to enable safe and efficient handling of large-format porcelain, eliminating damage.

Aesthetics

Large-format porcelain provides unmatched aesthetics to create stunning facades. With the advent of large-scale digital printing techniques, utilising coloured silica sand and specialist oxides, large format porcelain offers the ability to create any desired aesthetic including;

  • Solid colours
  • Wood grains
  • Concrete: fair finish & off-form
  • Limestone, basalt and terrazzo
  • Marble, calacatta, carrerra, statuario: book-match / end-match
  • Metals: grey iron, corten steel, copper, brass and titanium

Construction Details/ Carrier System / Structural & Seismic

Large format porcelain has a wide range of applications and construction methods, these include:

  • Back-ventilated, drained Rainscreen systems
  • Overlay / cladding onto existing concrete block/precast concrete
  • Incorporating into unitised curtain-wall systems
  • Interior cladding
  • Column & beam cladding/surrounds

Insite have proprietary brackets and carrier systems for all the above situations, to ensure site-specific engineering demands are met in accordance with NZBC structural and seismic requirements. Panels can be attached with either visible or discrete adhesive and/or mechanical fixings.

Typical Properties Consideration Test Standard

Consideration Result Test Standard
Fire Non-Combustible EN ISO 1182
Dimensional & Surface Quality Very Low Tolerance EN ISO 10545-2
Water Absorption < 0.1% EN ISO 10545-3
Flexural Strength > 45 N/mm2 EN ISO 10545-4
Linear Coefficient of Expansion 6 x 10⁻⁶ EN ISO 10545-8
Acid & Alkali Resistance No Damage (exc. Hydrofluoric Acid) EN ISO 10545-13
Stain Resistance Guaranteed EN ISO 10545-14
Colour Resistance to UV Exposure No Change DIN 51094
     

Durability

When installed on a suitably durable carrier system, large format porcelain can provide a robust, low maintenance façade solution to last in excess of 50 years.