Title: Parts of the sum

Pages: 32-37


Author: Richard Carr

Text: Parts of the sum

A quick guide to new systems and components on show at Olympia during this month's Building Exhibition. We include both outdoor and indoor products but the emphasis is on heating methods to help you avoid the worst of winter. Compiled by Richard Carr

PVC drainage

Yorkshire Imperial Plastics - a subsidiary of ICI - have recently introduced Polydrain PVC underground drainage as their latest development in the use of plastics for foul and storm water drainage following successful PVC soil stack installations, and pumped and gravity sewerage mains. The system consists of accurately extruded PVC drainage pipes and injection moulded and fabricated PVC fittings The pipes are extremely light- a 10ft length of 4in Polydrain pipe weighs 11 lb (5kg) as compared with 851b (38.5kg) for the same length of clayware pipe: can be cut to whatever length is required by a saw: and can be laid in the most adverse weather conditions. Similarly, since the pipes are available in lengths of up to 20ft, dramatically fewer joints are required than in a clayware system, and the joints themselves, of integral rubber ring seals, can be fitted in seconds. Both pipes and joints are flexible, so that they can accommodate chances in gradient and ground movement after installation: have good impact strength: and are unaffected by the majority of chemical effluents and aggressive soils They also allow high flow rates as a result of the smooth, friction-free core of the pips, and the swept-entry characteristics of the rest of the fittings.

PVC is also used for the Marscar system of access to underground drain lines using an access bowl designed and developed by Marscar Ltd at or near to ground level. The bowl is set into a din concrete surround, giving protection and acting as a support for a conventional cast iron manhole cover. and is then connected to the main drain by Polydrain pipes. This brings savings on excavation, materials, bricklaying and pipework and the vertical outlet of the bowl, together with the low friction losses of the PVC surfaces, substantially reduces the likelihood of blockage. Up to six connectors can be jointed to the bowl at any angle.

Tenon partitioning

Tenon Contract's Econowall Series 2 is a new, high performance internal partitioning system developed from the original Econowall system (introduced h1 1968) with exceptional f re resistance and sound proofing properties A basic version has a Class O spread of flame resistance properties aid down in BS 2750. and a sound proofing performance of 42.7 dB at a speech range of 500/2500 Hz: a 30 minutes fire resistance version gives a sound proofing performance of 47.6 dB over the same speech range: and a 60 minutes fire resistance version which gives a sound proofing performance of 48.4dB.

Construction uses a simple rolled section of galvanised steel for vertical supports with the base and head channels on a 1200mm module giving approximately 4ft centres, intermediate posts for additional strength and a horizontal transome for partitions over 3000mm high. The steel framework, which can be built up to 20ft without loss of strength, supports two 12.7mm plasterboard panels on each face, using galvanised clamping strips, and additional fire proofing properties are achieved by suspending a wire reinforced mineral wool quilt between the two panels. This space is also used to accommodate electrical and PO services, with power outlets on the panels themselves The system is completed by black laminated skirting boards, Georgian wired glass glazing set in self-adhesive pvc foam jackets retained by steel angle beads, 2040mm x 826mm x 54mm Cardboard faced doors on an impregnated softwood frame and Showells door furniture Both the doors and Cardboard panels are prepared for decoration Tenon now claim to have so developed in-fills that a two hour fire resistant version could now be marketed.

Armitage/Shanks plumbing

Armitage/Shanks' integrated plumbing services are designed to meet the growing demand for factory assembled units, and particularly for sub-units and systems complementary to industrialised building systems. The advantages of these units over more conventional components is that they make it easier to guarantee quality and price over a long period, and speed up erection and assembly.

Armitage/Shanks have joined forces with Formica to produce an extensive range of pre-plumbed panels, using Formica's Beautyboard for the facing panel and Armitage/ Shanks sanitary fixtures and ancillary fittings for either single assemblies, or for interrelated assemblies forming complete wall systems. Variety is provided by the choice of colours available for the panels and the way in which the units can be designed to fit into any particular site, incorporating both plumbing and electrical services where necessary

The system was originally designed for use in hospitals, where the services offered include a range of pre-plumbed basins, wcs and wall hung urinals There is also a cubicle for the wcs, using standard Formica panels with Formica laminates on all the sides and edges, and a square extruded aluminium tubing with a softwood core for the supporting framework. System 7 - as it is called, because it offers seven main sizes of panels as the basis of the range - can be used with most of the company's basins, wcs and wall hung urinals, which are offered in a series of specified permutations at a basic cost, although they can also be made available at an additional on-cost. It can also be sold to domestic or contract buyers.

Minkstone tiles

Linkmaster 200, a new addition to the Minkstone range of cladding systems, consists of seven patterned profile tiles made in lightweight concrete to a 200mm (8in) square module, each of which can be used separately or in combination with any other of the tiles, or with a number of other tiles made by Minkstone The patterned profiles include chevrons, rectangles, diamonds, circles, waves and bars, used either horizontally or vertically. The diamonds and rectangles in the range can also be varied in size to break the module.

All the designs were first moulded in high density polyurethane to give crisp, clean outlines to the profiles, and all internal angles have been radiused to prevent surface crazing. Plaster cast master moulds were then taken from the polyurethane moulds by the vacuum-latex process, and flexible moulds are made from the master moulds and are replaced as soon as shrinkage or any other distortion in the shape occurs.

The tiles are made in ivory white, pewter black, pink, Westmorland green and parchment, and have a surface that can be sponged clean or waxed. Alternatively, they can be glazed in other colours or sprayed with metallic colours like gold, silver, bronze and copper, and flock spraying avoids blurring the basic pattern by the addition of another texture. Different patterns can be isolated by using plain high or low relief tiles The tiles are normally fixed by gal-Flex adhesive to chipboard, blackboard, plywood etc. and by gal-Mix adhesive to brickwork etc. They have an 80001b strength at 28 days and cost 3.75 per square metre (25 tiles) in natural finish, and 5 per square metre in sprayed metallic finish.

Bloc concrete modules

Four different products from Bloc Products Landsculpture Ltd form a complete range of outdoor furniture, screens and decorative walling using concrete modules in four related profile sizes

In the case of the furniture, one single L shaped concrete module, or two modules in a U shape, are used for the base of a variable range of stools tables, benches and seats. The stools, for example, which have Iroko timbered tops, can be linked to form clusters: the tables can have round, square or rectangular tops: and the benches which have grp seats, can be supplied as single or multiple units. Benches in Oft lengths with gaily coloured seats have also been specially designed for use in primary schools

Bloc's screen. based on the U shaped module, can be used to provide pierced screens, purdah screens allowing air to circulate between the blocks but cut-off vision, or solid walls. The screen may be used with or without reinforcing piers or, alternatively, concealed vertical reinforcing is provided if necessary, and twice weathered pier caps and copings are also available.

The decorative walling, or landsculpture, takes the use of the U shaped concrete module still further to create three dimensional structures rather than a two dimensional screen. These can form walls or be used as freestanding concrete sculptures. The module can be interlocked, linked with either a vertical or a horizontal axis, built up into thick blocks with different surface characteristics, or filled in to form steps. It can also be used to provide litter bins.

Wilson Walton signs

Wilson Walton International (Signs) have, in less than four years, revolutionised the manufacture of signs, established a service for designers, and grown to an annual turnover of more than 3 millions. Set up in 1968 by Wilson Walton International, specialists in anticorrosion systems using aluminium, glass-fibre, zinc and electronics, the sign company set out to apply the same materials and design approach to signs.

Their first project was the new Co-op symbol designed by Lippincott and Margulies, where a moulded Perspex panel was used for the logo. Here, the exercise involved little more than using a comparatively new material, but the chance to develop more sophisticated techniques followed when the company was called in by John Player and Sons. The brief was for an adaptable, illuminated, weatherproof sign to be either wall hung or cantilevered, containing two 29in x 20in easily changed panels. Wilson Walton developed a sign using a folded mild steel bracket to support an extruded aluminium frame into which is inserted the two panels, whose legend is carried by transparencies printed onto pvc. The panels are then sealed by a rubber gasket and are illuminated by a lighting rig clipped into place between them. The whole assembly is light, easy to maintain and change, and weatherproof. A similar sign was developed for Barclays Bank, except that in this case cold cathode tubes replaced hot cathode tubes for lighting.

Subsequent projects included a fascia for Timothy Whites, also using a housestyle designed by Lippincott and Margulies, in which different lengths of fascia board were provided by a modular system of Perspex panels, and fascia boards for Babyboots in which fluorescent lighting was used on the edge of the lettering. There was also a series of signs in stainless steel for Spectra. These were followed by a request from Crosby/Fletcher/Forbes for three dimensional numbers for the entrance to the ad agency of Boase Massimi Pollitt in Bishopsbridge Road, London, and the chrome plated copper numbers developed, above have angled and curved faces With Unimark's signs for Truman Breweries injection moulding techniques were introduced for producing crisp serifs, which were then snapped into moulded Perspex panels. The moulded letters avoided expensive hand finishing and enabled the widths of the panel to be reduced from 1/4 to 1/8 in.

The work for Crosby/Fletcher/Forbes encouraged other designers to approach Wilson Walton with their problems - the most recent project has been Henrion's new logo for the London Electricity Board - and as a result the company now offers a service to designers without obligation which includes advice on new techniques. This service is regarded by John Wood, the company's managing director, as essential if a dialogue is to be established, just as development work on new materials and techniques is essential to keep the company ahead of its competitors

Smiths Centroller

Centroller 60 is part of a new range of central heating and hot water controls developed by Smiths Industries in the belief that there is a growing market for time and environmental controls. Easily linked to the electric control box on a gas oil or solid fuel boiler, the 60 provides a choice of six programmes to cover all year round use of hot water heating, as well as an override for manual settings. Installation requires no more than fitting the box on to a mounting template and undoing the two screws which secure the terminal cover. The box is then wired to the boiler control box, valves and cylinder and room thermostats as appropriate

Besides the 60 the new range also includes the Centroller 40, for the timed control of electric immersion heaters, also provided with an override device, arid the Centroller 40 Plus, for use with gas centric heating systems and able to give priority to either water or heating.

Finally, there are two Control or thermostats called R and C for controlling room temperature and hot water cylinders respectively, and an autoset - a timer that can be plugged into a power point and used to turn on electric lights, heaters, blankets, kettles or radios for example, at a predetermined time The autoset has a choice of either one or two on/off periods a day and is portable, so that it can be used with different appliances and in different parts of the house. The 60 costs 8.60, the 40 and 40 Plus 5.75 and 6.50 respectively: the R thermostat costs 3.25, the C thermostat 2.75, and the autoset 6.25

Autotherm console

Autotherm is a domestic control system designed to take the complications out of whole-house control of central heating based on radiators, and to provide a high degree of sensitivity which takes into account subtle changes in the weather.

At the heart of the system is a comprehensive console, designed to fit into any room in the house, which can be programmed to control hot water and central heating, separately or in a number of different combinations, including switching on the central heating for specific periods and setting it to a precise temperature level which can be varied according to whether the temperature outside the house is mild or cold. Control of central heating is then achieved by linking the console to two solid state temperature sensors known as thermistors, one of which senses the outdoor temperature while the other checks the heat supply to the radiators. The thermistors are linked to a motorised mixing valve, easily inserted into existing pipework, and this is used to recirculate water returning from the radiators and to top it up automatically with limited amounts of hot water from the boiler when the circulating water falls below the set temperature. In this way, the radiators are kept at a constant temperature, reacting immediately to changes both inside and outside the house, while the topping up system avoids using a lot of fuel to cope with the usual situation, when radiators adjust far more slowly to changes in the temperature. Autotherm can also be used with additional thermostats to control the hot water cylinder, provide automatic accelerated warm-up and give extra frost protection.

Besides the easy installation of the mixing valve, the Autotherm system is simple to wire, having separate terminals and printed circuits. Quick-release circuit connectors allow the whole electronic unit to be removed in a matter of seconds, leaving the programme switches and time clock still operative under manual control.

Basic price for Autotherm, including console, two thermistors and mixing valve, is 54.45.

Tronicair on-peak heating

Central heating systems using electricity make the most of cheap off-peak supplies but, as the hours available for off-peak tariffs are reduced and as a more even use of electricity is required throughout the 24 hovers of a day, the advantages of such systems may be lost. Anticipating this, Tronicair has designed a warm air heating unit aimed at providing the same level of seating as conventional electric systems but by using power at the normal tariff and at no extra cost since it is hyper efficient.

Tronicair, based on a unit no bigger than a tv set, is virtually noiseless in operation, clean to use and requires little maintenance. The unit serves the entire warm air system, feeding air through ducts to room outlets. The unit responds immediately to changes in room temperature - even changes caused by switching on the lights - via a thermostat in the room, while changes in the outlet air temperature are monitored by a highly sensitive electronic amplifier which controls the input via closed loop electronic system that can be adjusted according to the weather, In this way, Tronicair consumes the minimum amount of electricity necessary to keep the temperature at the required setting.

Besides the amplifier. the unit contains a variable power tangential fan for supplying air, filtered by a Davis element to a low temperature heat exchanger. This has heating elements divided into three sections to extend their life and produce optimum heat transfer characteristics, and a booster for bypassing the electronic control and feeding full wave power to the heating elements to raise the heater's rating from 4kW to 6kW for rapid bursts of heat.

Tronicair can be used with a stub duct for serving two or three rooms or comprehensive ducting to serve the whole house Alternatively, it can be used in public places where people congregate and cause temperature levels to fluctuate considerably, sometimes at unexpected times, and in both cases the Tronicair unit can be coupled to existing ducting. The unit has also 6kW, 8kW and 12kW versions. Basic price of the unit varies from 100 - 135.

Flexes ceiling heater

Most heating systems are designed to be put alongside walls or under the floor but Flexel, a new system developed by ICI, goes into the ceiling It consists of a flexible membrane heating element made from grasscloth coated with a conducting silicone rubber which is enclosed in a Melimex envelope. There are no hot wires anywhere and the membrane warms up evenly over its entire surface giving a ceiling temperature not greater than 45 TIC (113 degrees F) for domestic interiors - the maximum safe operating temperature is around 120 degrees C (248 degrees F). The system is quite adequate to maintain a comfortable room temperature, particularly as radiant heat is more effective than heat from a convection system. Flexel also claimed to minimise convection currents, be quite free of carbonised dust particles, and not dehumidify the air.

Installation involves putting thermal insulation above the heating elements, while the elements themselves are made in situ to suit the particular installation and are usually stapled to the underside of joists (or to battens fixed to concrete ceilings) Alternatively, they can be laid between the joists when there is access from above. The elements can be covered by arty material that has good heat transmission, and as the maximum thickness of the element is only 0.015in (0.04mm), it does not occupy any appreciable ceiling space. It is also very light approximately 1 1/2 oz per sq ft - which helps to make installation easy.

ICI claim that Flexel is quick to heat up, responsive to changes in temperature, and cheap to run in three bedroom maisonettes built by a local authority, for example, the cost to a four adult family averaged 1.20 per week, while that for a family with two adults and two children was less than 50p per week To cover a living room, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom with an area of 400sq ft costs about 100, and for a living/dining room, kitchen, three bedrooms and bathroom. covering 820sq ft, about 185 This is offset by the substantial saving in the building costs involved for installing more conventional heating systems, since no chimneys, ducts, fuel storage or special construction techniques are required. The system has been approved by the ANT Committee of the IKE.

Centralec heating

Centralec central heating brings together for the first time the best features of off peak electricity and small bore radiator systems The heart of the system, the Centralec Unit, can be placed almost anywhere in the house since it needs no air supply or flue. It could, for example, be used as a straight replacement for ar1 existing boiler. Or be located he a cupboard, under the stairs or in a cellar.

The unit can supply Up to eight standard radiators in a small bore system, and will comfortably handle a loss of 45 000 Btu/hr with a maximum output of 65 000 Btu/hr. During the night, a time switch in the unit ensures that the thermal storage core is heated with cheap off-peak electricity, and during the day the heat is drawn out by circulating air through channels in the storage tore The heated air is used, in turn, to heat the water in the radiator circuit via an air-to-water heat exchanger.

Output is linked manually or automatically to a simple timer, and house temperatures are controlled by a thermostatically operated pump in the unit. A temperature sensing circuit in the heat exchanger controls the speed and operation of the fan which drives the air through the storage core, and this automatically supplies heat from the core when the pump is operating. The system is suitable for continuous or intermittent use, and an override is provided so that in very cold weather the user can draw on electricity to heat the storage core during the day.

Although designed and tested by the Electricity Council. and in many ways being a development of the Electricaire system which uses an air-to-water heat exchanger originally developed by the Yorkshire Electricity Board, Centralec is manufactured under licence by, for example, Heatstore Ltd in the form of the Heatstore Model 6502 Centralec Unit. This version has an enamelled steel cabinet divided into two sections so that the base can be installed before fitting the storage core itself. This is housed h1 the top half of the cabinet and consists of 88 Feolite blocks with thermal insulation from a high temperature calcium silicate inner layer and a high density slab formed mineral wool outer layer. and Incoloy-sheathed elements which can be individually replaced. The working unit removes as a complete assembly, all connections are placed behind the front panel, and there is easy access to controls, fan and motor unit - so Model 6502 should be easy to service and repair. It costs 145.

Cannon boiler

Cannon's C52 gas central heating boiler powers heating systems for an average-sized four bedroom house, whether they are pumped small bore, vented or sealed systems. The C52's particular attraction is that spice it weighs only 781b with casing it can be installed by one man It can also be hung from a kitchen wall. fitted inside a sink unit or put in the garage or under the stairs, using a programmer placed remotely from the boiler if necessary. The only condition is that the boiler must be against an outside wall, so that there is an outlet for the telescopic fan assisted balanced flue.

The C52 can be used in a simple form - which includes the thermostat, flame failure device and solenoid valve - and with either a spark igniter or a pilot light, or with a number of options. These include using the thermostat to control the temperature of the whole heating system: using a diverter valve controlled by a room thermostat and a cylinder thermostat: or using zone valves with room and cylinder thermostats, depending upon the degree of control required in different parts of the house.

An Integron spiral heat exchanger is spun out of thick walled copper and forms a single unit. Its construction makes the exchanger self-venting and avoids the possibility of steam locks: the boiler can in fact be stripped down to the exchanger (controlled by a single on/off switch) in less than 10 minutes without breaking flue, water or gas connections. Around the exchanger, the combustion chamber has an outer skin of steel, an inner skin of aluminium faced on the combustion side with a heat resistant material, and an air space between the two skins helps to reduce the temperature of the outer skin. This can then be left exposed or covered by an outer casing in two tone grey enamel according to the location of the boiler.

Cannon claim that the C52 has one of the fastest recovery rates of any fan-assisted balanced flue boiler on the market: it costs 103 in its basic, uncased form, and won an Ideal Home Award this year.



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