Given than ACP is widely used in interior and exterior spaces that require the usage of fire retardant, wind-resistant materials, it is very important that the purchased panels are of good quality. Unfortunately, due to the rising popularity of ACP sheets, many companies are procuring Chinese products that are sold saying they have manufactured products at cheap or equivalent rates in the market. It is very important that customers stay wary of fakes in the market for the sake of safety and quality. The below checklist allows you to easily identify between fake and good-quality ACP sheets:
- According to international requirements, the inner panel of ACP must be 3mm, the outer wall panel must be 4mm or more, and the thickness of the aluminium must be 0.5 mm in thickness. To check this criterion, measure against the cross-section of samples provided to you, using a Vernier calipers. They can also be tested by a third-party testing laboratory such as Exova and Thomas Bell Wright
ACP sheets must have ripple-free, bubble-free smooth surfaces that don’t scratch or indent easily. Use a key to check the same. Ensure that the surface does not show any obvious defects. Good quality ACP sheets must have a scratch resistance of up to 4H.
Try to fold the corner of the ACP sheet. If the ACP – PE breaks very easily, it is not of good quality and uses non-standard cores. It can also show whether the adhesive used between the PE-core and Aluminium is of good quality or not. If you are going for large quantities, ask for a sample and smash against a table. If it breaks easily, don’t buy it.
Good quality ACP sheets are coloured using the hot-pressing process so that the paint doesn’t peel off easily and the surface is scratch and indent free. Try to rub two ACP sheets against each other along the surface. If the paint comes off easily, the ACP is of inferior quality and uses substandard materials.
To check the paint on the panel, you can also perform a drip test. Butanone exposes the Fluorocarbon coating on the exterior panel and xylene does the same for the inner coating. Wipe the reagent after 5 minutes and see if the bottom is exposed, so that you are sure that good quality paint is being used.
Use a lighter to burn the sheet on one corner. If real PE is used, there will no impurities left behind. If some soot or other materials are left behind after burning, fake or shoddy PE material is being used.
Most important of all, ask your manufacturer questions! ISO certified products are of premium quality and guarantee that you are paying the right price for the product you are purchasing.
For FR certifications, look for tests such as NFPA285, EN-13501, ASTM E119 which assures adherence to nationally and internationally recognized fire standards.
Being an informed customer is extremely important in this day and age. Carry out these simple tests before you pen down your next BOM so that you don’t waste time on subpar materials and manufacturers!