Fire door manufacturer’s £730k investment pays dividends

Posted by on 4 Mar 2021

Image: Fire door manufacturer’s £730k investment pays dividends

The boss of a Rochdale fire door manufacturer says a £730,000 investment into fire testing equipment and new machinery is paying dividends.

Tim Fairley, CEO of Littleborough-based PDS, was speaking after the company’s stringent EN1634 tests on their latest range of composite, GRP faced doors found they performed significantly better than required to pass the 30 minute standard requirement.

In one of the fire tests, a GRP faced, heavy duty timber core door lasted for 69 minutes – more than twice as long as the 30 minute minimum specified.

Fairley said: “Fire safety is paramount in any building and that’s why we’ve invested such a significant amount in fire testing and new machinery.

“When it comes to product development and testing around fire doors we understand the importance of having the best product available and the need for continual improvement and ongoing R&D.”

PDS is a specialist in the manufacture of FD30 and FD60 security fire doors, with the number indicating the minimum minutes of protection the doors must offer against fires.

Fairley explained: “We took a decision at PDS to move away from foam-filled fire doors going forward and decided to concentrate on a GRP skin door with a solid timber core instead as it is so much safer.”

Fairley said: “Although they are now back in the marketplace and performing well, we still feel the GRP faced, timber core door we have tested is a really good option for specifiers still showing some reluctance to buy a foam-filled product.

“During a composite 30 minute fire door test, the required time overrun for a pass is expected to be as high as 20 per cent. In simple terms this would mean a 30 minute door would be expected to last for at least 36 minutes before failure.

“We carried out stringent EN 1634, dual directional fire resistance and smoke control tests on six doors and they all exceeded 40 minutes with some passing 60 minutes. In the event of a fire those extra minutes could be crucial.

“There was also no compromise on security so we know the product is more than capable of performing when fitted in people’s homes.

“We also tested a hardwood doorframe which is generally more robust and potentially gives off less toxins than a traditional UPVC frame in the event of a fire.”

PDS has grown its workforce to 112 as it approaches its second anniversary after it was rescued from possible closure.
The fire door manufacturer had seen staff numbers fall to 60 and turnover dwindle to £7m when former co-founder Fairley headed up a 14-strong consortium and bought it back in March 2019.

The company has since recruited 52 new members of staff to take the workforce to 112 and grown turnover to £10m – despite being locked down at the start of Covid-19.

Fairley said he hoped the excellent results on the recent fire door tests would open up new markets for the company.

“There is still a desire in the social housing sector to have a composite faced fire door, because they are inherently perceived as a lower maintenance product so we now have an excellent solution available to satisfy this demand,” he said.

“A fire door, play their part along with all the other fire prevention and safety measures in ensuring that the building is the best equipped it can be to deal with another fire should it have to.”

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