Follow-up: Innovation with Research & Development

Wells continues to invest time and resources in research and development to proactively assure our products meet and exceed the required testing standards necessary for today’s construction industry.  As a follow-up to our Winter 2019 Newsletter, we are proud to share results from some of our product testing that we have completed to date:

  • NFPA 285 Fire Test – This is a test of a two story section of our light weight wall panels to verify that our system does not contribute to any vertical flame spread on the exterior of the building. The testing reports will be done on our actual systems so that judgement letters will not be needed. Testing to be done at the UL Labs in Chicago where we will produce the panels, assemble and then test. 

    UPDATE: Fire tests were completed this summer and initial results were very favorable. The test panels performed extremely well and initial review of the data indicates no issues meeting or exceeding testing criteria.  Final test reports are due in September 2019.
  • E119 / UL263 Fire Resistance – This test provides the 1 HR or 2 HR fire resistance labels needed for typical construction. We are working with specialty enclosure engineers as our consultant and another precast partner. We are working with a sealant manufacturer using a high performance joint detailing with their Illmod 600 backer rod, as well as Spectrum #1 sealant to create a dual line of sealants in our lightweight panel system joints. Testing to be done at UL Lab in Chicago to provide rated assembly testing data of lightweight exterior cladding panels.

    UPDATE: Now that the NFPA 285 tests have been completed, Wells will focus on using that test data on the E119/UL263 testing to be completed this fall.

  • ASTM C1521 Caulking Pull Testing – This standard practice for evaluating adhesion of installed weatherproofing sealant joints pulls the sealant from a specimen in order to see how well it adheres to the substrate.

    UPDATE: Wells is working with industry professionals at their testing facilities for this procedure, we will submit samples this fall to do adhesion tests on various types of panels and finishes – including pre-installed windows.

  • ASTM D5385 Permeability Testing –The goal for this test is to prove that the precast exterior shell can be used as an air, water, and vapor barrier, and is therefore superior over other exterior building finishes. This test method measures the hydrostatic pressure resistance of a material under controlled laboratory conditions to determine the permeability of that material.

    UPDATE: Testing has been completed by an independent testing agency and results show that Wells’ precast test samples easily passed the ASTM D5385 criteria showing that the precast was impermeable to water for a full hour of pressurization.

  • ASTM D6123 Insulation Pull Testing – This is a spray foam test on our Integrated Enclosure System (IES) and SlenderWall systems to verify the bonding of the spray foam insulation to the precast. Testing will measure bonding capacity and moisture content in concrete as sprayfoam is applied. Samples will be taken at hourly intervals to observe changes as concrete and insulation cure.

    UPDATE: Testing has been completed in conjunction with a spray foam manufacturer and results were very positive.  Data shows that the adhesion of the spay foam consistently exceeds the base line force outlined in ASTM D1623.  Testing data will also be used to improve spray foam application process and installation methods.

  • Energy Model Report – This test was specifically created for the lightweight wall system’s thermal performance. We tested four different types of building enclosure systems and our IES system surpassed any other wall system for its thermal capabilities.

    UPDATE: Additional energy modeling is underway comparing our light weight cladding systems to standard construction methods.  Data will be compiled on various building types with multiple window/wall rations in four different climate zones.  Report will analyze building enclosure efficiency and energy usage of the various construction types.

  • Fiber Testing – Wells has been working with various fibers that reduce shrinkage cracking, increase impact resistance, and act as structural reinforcing.

    UPDATE: Testing is ongoing – both internal testing and with product manufactures.

  • Hollowcore Shear Testing – Wells is contributing to university research on shear capacity of grouted hollowcore sections.  Also, we’ve been adding hollowcore cross section options that provide more shear capacity and testing these in house.

    UPDATE: Testing is ongoing – working with both internal and external resources.

  • Thermal / Hot Box Test – This test will verify the thermal performance of our insulated architectural panels. The goal is to determine the actual R-value of our panels vs the calculated R-value that most manufactures use. The testing lab is currently being set up and we hope to run the test soon. Multiple panel configurations will be tested to verify and illustrate the best preforming assembly. 

    UPDATE: Eight insulated architectural test panels have been poured, these panels contain multiple panel configurations and wythe connectors and will start being tested in September 2019.

If you are interested in learning more about these testing results, contact any one of our Product Development Team or attend our Dig In Open House presentation on September 5, “Light Wall Panels & New Testing Results” from 9:15 am – 10:15 am, presented by Ed Muehlberg and Dan Stenzel.

We have been spending time with our clients, listening to their questions and concerns regarding the use of wall systems. In addition, we are developing solutions and answers in the form of testing and various innovative efforts to improve overall building enclosure systems.  We continue to develop solutions and answers in the form of testing and various innovative efforts to improve overall building enclosure systems.