A Summary Of Fire Ratings For Graphics Media

Fire Ratings for graphics media is a complex business, due to national differences and different standards for different locations of the tested product.

As products are constantly being re-engineered and re-tested for fire ratings we have generally only included the “standard” the product has been tested against.
General Fire Certificate PDF’s are found in the downloads area on each of our website product pages where a Fire Rating is applicable.
For the classification and a copy of the actual fire rating document please contact our Sales Offices, or if you have any questions / to request more information: 01753 696977 or 01709 829800.

This summary is our view of the current situation.

In the UK, BS476 classification is the main standard used.

This is a building regulation standard and it is achieved through two tests:

  • Part 7 measures the flame surface spread.
    A Class 1 is then achieved through testing to Part 7, where the flame must not spread more than 165mm during the test
  • To achieve Class 0 you need to then test to Part 6 which measures fire propagation (how much energy is contributed to a fire when product is heated).

These tests are done (normally) laminated to an aluminium substrate or a calcium silicate board (products with much higher resistance or are non-flammable) so that you are only measuring the contribution of the test media to a fire.
The test is interested in the first 10 minutes of the fire.

Due to national differences we have also seen German fire ratings such as B1 and French fire ratings such as M1.

In an attempt to harmonise testing throughout Europe we now have the Euroclass test EN13501 -1.

For our type of materials this typically gives us a classification between B, C or D.

Classifications B and C are preferred.

Fire classification EN13501 -1 also classifies the reaction to fire in a more detailed way.

Products are reported in a 3 part system, so a product such as Avery Dennison’s 700 Premium Film has a classification of Bs1,d0 (for reference: see 700PF Fire Certificate PDF here, this info is on page 6 of 7) – where:

A to F is the main classification for contribution to fire.
A is the best and F the worst.
B is broadly similar to Class 0, B1 and M1 (refer to table below).

s1 to s3: classifies smoke production.
s1 is the best and s3 the worst, as per the following:

  • s1: More stringent criteria than s2 are satisfied
  • s2: The total smoke production as well as the ratio of increase in smoke production are limited
  • s3: No limitation of smoke production required

d0 to d2 is a measure of droplet formation.
d0 is the best and d2 the worst, as per the following:

  • d0: No flaming droplets/particles are allowed
  • d1: No flaming droplets/particles persisting longer than a given time allowed
  • d2: No limitation

From this classification and using the table below we can see that 700 Premium Film is broadly similar to Class 0, B1 and M1, it rates very well on smoke production and has no flaming droplets.
This is practically as good as it gets for a self-adhesive material.
All the test is interested in is first 10 minutes of the fire, and testing is normally carried out on an inert, non-reactive substrate like aluminium or calcium silicate board.

National classifications for reaction to fire do not automatically equate across countries as national tests differ from harmonised European tests.
You cannot assume a Euroclass rating unless testing has been carried out using the European testing standard.

Euroclass harmonised EN13501-1 UK BS476 Germany DIN 4102 France NF P92-501
A1 Non-combustible A1 Non-combustible
A2 Limited combustiblity A2 M0 or M1
B Class 0 B1 M1
C Class 1 B1 M2
D Class 3 B2 M3
E B2 M4
F B3

 

 

 

 

1. Class 0 products are either:

  1. Composed throughout of limited combustibility, or
  2. Products with Class 1 performance for surface spread of flame when tested in accordance with BS476-7 which, when tested with BS476-6, also have a fire propagation index of not more than 12 and a sub-index of not more than 6.

2. Class 1 or Class 3 is achieved when a product meets specific criteria for lateral spread of flame in accordance with BS476-7.

Other fire tests sometimes quoted include ISO 3795.
This standard specifies a method for determining the horizontal burning rate of materials used in the occupant compartment of vehicles, after exposure to a small flame.

Using a highly rated self-adhesive material will not fire proof the substrate it is fixed to.

If you are applying the self-adhesive material to a wooden surface such as a door with no fire retardant properties, the wood will still burn, it just means that the self-adhesive material will not add to the fire.

It currently costs around £2,500 to put one product on one substrate through the EN13501-1 test, so there will be a mix of standards from different manufacturers.
In addition some end users will still insist on their own national tests.

Do you have any additional questions about the Fire Ratings of our products?

General Fire Certificates are usually found in the downloads area on each of our website product pages where a Fire Rating is applicable, but please call our Sales Offices if you have any questions, or to request more information: 01753 696977 or 01709 829800, or email: sales@allprint.co.uk