THE WINNING FORMULA OF SWISSPEARL FIBER CEMENT PANELS
Natural raw materials and consistent ingenuity are the basis of the winning formula for a product that is more than 100 years old but has never become outdated—architecture can no longer imagine a time without it. In hand, fiber cement reveals its homogeneous materiality and a high surface quality. To look at it, its unique character, natural texture and varied coloration in harmony with the material are what strike the eye.
Production of the Swisspearl
fiber cement panels
With expertise, precision and craftsmanship, these elements come together to create unique panels. Cement, wood pulp and reinforcing fibers are blended along with water to form a raw mixture. The product has been scrupulously monitored for quality through the processes of winding, pressing, cutting, drying and coloring.
The binding agent used in Swisspearl products is Swiss Portland cement. This ingredient, sintered from limestone and marl clay, is by proportion the most important base material. It is produced through firing of limestone together with marl. It is the binding of the lime with the silicic acid contained in the marl that gives the fiber cement its outstanding compressive strength. Additives such as powdered limestone improve certain characteristics of the cement and help produce a uniform product quality.
Synthetic and organic polyvinyl alcohol fibers are used as reinforcement. These fibers also find use in the textiles industry, in clothing, protective linings, non-woven fabrics as well as in medical suturing thread.
Processing fibers are made from cellulose wood fibers, similar to what is used in the paper industry. Sometimes recycled waste paper is also used. These wood-based fibers prevent separation of the cement-water mixture during the production process. A few of the fiber cement products contain polyethylene (PE) fibers as an additive. The cellulose pulp that is useful only during the manufacturing stage dissolves over time. The resulting hollow spaces are filled in with the crystalline hydration products of the cement that form. This produces the durable increase in strength in the final product.
The water that remains after the product has solidified ensures further reinforcement throughout the product’s lifetime. Only a negligible quantity of water remains in the hardened fiber cement, which helps in the hardening (hydration) process of the cement stone.
Air is present in the form of microscopic pores. These serve as space for expansion of water when it freezes and prevent distortions due to frost. Similar to modern textile fabrics, the micropore system produces a regulating, breathable and watertight building material. The processing fibers are supplied in the form of cardboard and added to a pulper, an enormous mixing device, together with water which dissolves the pulp into individual fibers; the mix is then further refined in a refining machine. Until they are used, they remain in huge wooden vats and are stirred constantly. In the meantime, the reinforcement fibers are delivered in bales that are then mechanically loosened and thoroughly mixed in with the cement and water. Finally, all ingredients are added to a large mixer and combined thoroughly. The mixture, with cement as the paste, is now ready for production of the wide range of fiber cement products.
In order to produce the large-format panels, the mixture is then conveyed to the plating machine; analogous to what happens in the manufacturing of paper, it is then wound in several layers on format rolls to reach the desired thickness. The next step moves the preformed panels to the stamping machine, where the exact size is punched out. The product then continues to the pressing machining, where both excess water is squeezed out and the desired thickness is achieved. In order to be able to use the panel, it first must be allowed to air dry for approximately 4 weeks. As a final step after the drying is complete, an appropriate coating is applied. From a liquid mix containing a number of different ingredients comes the durable, esthetically-pleasing and high quality Swisspearl fiber cement panels; thanks to the many advantages, these can continue to be admired for years to come on façades everywhere.
NICE TO KNOW:
The Swisspearl brand consists of a merging of two words:
We guarantee Swiss quality and reliability
Our cement panels are like pearls – a blend of many different materials layered together.
A SWISS PEARL FOR THE WORLD!
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