3M Factory Extension, Newton Aycliffe


The 3M Company has operations in 70 countries around the world and sells more than 55,000 products including: adhesives, abrasives, laminates, passive fire protection, dental and orthodontic products, electronic materials, medical products, car-care products, electronic circuits, and optical films. The Newton Aycliffe facility in County Durham in the North-East of England is 3M‘s flagship site for personal protection and safety mask production. The site recently underwent a programme of investment in new production lines that included a 4,000 sq m extension to the current facility.

Insulation of the extension‘s air handling and HVAC system was undertaken by local contractor Tees Group, who in collaboration with the mechanical services engineers, specified Armacell‘s ArmaFlex Duct product. The low thermal conductivity value of ArmaFlex flexible nitrile rubber (0.036) ensures the HVAC system is well insulated against heat losses on the warm air supply, and the closed cell structure of the material provides an integral vapour barrier for protection against condensation on the cold air supply (water vapour diffusion resistance μ factor of 7,000). ArmaFlex Duct is available in black, or with a foil covering to provide an aesthetic finish. The sheets are available in 1 or 1.5m widths to suit a range of duct sizes.

For the extension project 12m long x 19mm thick sheets were used to insulate approximately 1,000 linear metres of spiral and 250 metres of rectangular ductwork, with the 19mm option calculated to provide a good balance between material cost, energy saving and condensation control. ArmaFlex is fibre free and the self-adhesive backed version installed for the extension project is easy to install in-situ. The sheets are simply cut to size and positioned in place before the protective backing is removed and pressure applied to adhere the sheets in place. The two ends of the sheet on spiral ducts are sealed together using ArmaFlex 520 adhesive (non-drip RS850 gel adhesive also suitable) and the adjoining seams between sheets are sealed under compression with the adhesive and covered with silver tape for a neat finish.  Application training for ductwork installations is available at our Oldham training school.