A unique construction with fast assembly.
We use so called structural insulated panels (SIPs) as a basis for our concept. These are high performance building panels, which can be used in floors, walls, and roofs for residential, light commercial buildings, storage halls or other applications. The panels are made by sandwiching a core of expanded polystyrene (EPS) between two structural boards (see material specification below). Building with this technique allows us to custom design each building solution. The result is a building system that is extremely strong, energy efficient and cost effective.
We have also developed a small scale mobile factory and a unique construction and assembly technique which completes the chain from panel production to delivering a housing system and effective climate shell. The main components of our concept is described here below.
A Harcon house is a prefab concept of smaller or larger units of panels being assembled on-site. Based on a concrete house foundation, Harcon elements are put in place to form the outer walls. Concrete pillars are then poured in preformed voids to form the construction frame. With a supporting beam in place and relevant numbers of rafters the roof panels can be mounted. Putting up this building shell and construction frame takes 2-3 days (given that the housing base is in place).
At this point (beyond what Harcon offers) the preferred roofing material (sheet metal, brick etc), doors, windows, inner wall, electricity, plumbing etc. can be added to complete the house.
- Simple and fast fabrication
- Wide field of application
- Comfortable indoors climate
- Low energy performance
The mobile factory.
We use a mobile easy to operate factory for production of building components (sandwich panels). One factory unit can produce building materials for 8 houses (100 m2 each) a day. The production unit is a small scale factory which is semi-mobile. It includes gluing, sandwich press, cutting and sawing of panels and storage. There are no environmental or workers health and safety risk connected with the production. No odours, fumes or chemical exposure. The production unit only requires electricity and shelter for wind and rain. It can be operated by appr. 10-15 people.
- Flexible production
- Easy to operate
- Minimum of maintenance
- Easy to set-up and start production
- No requirements in advance
Our unique sandwich element.
A unique sandwich panel consisting of a EPS (expanded polystyrene) core, having one layer of surface board on each side of the polystyrene core.
- Outstanding insulation property (for low energy buildings)
- Low raw material costs
- Light weight
- Inorganic materials
- Surface board is fire and water proof
- Mold/ bug and fungus free
- Silica and asbestos free
- Advantages in hurricane and earthquake areas
The Harcon sandwich panels consist of a core (expanded polystyrene, EPS) glued in a sandwich construction with two outer MgO (Magnesium oxide) boards.
We have chosen this board (see description below) for our sandwich solution due to its favourable product characteristics. One of the most important features is however, its high fire protecting abilities for the fire sensitive core material EPS. Using the MgO board as a “skin” combined with EPS as a core material in the sandwich construction, combines the best of to worlds. A core with outstanding thermal insulation properties and a protecting skin with several protecting features as well as strength. The Harcon panel will in this way withstand considerable heat and fire.
Expanded polystyrene (EPS)
EPS- Expanded polystyrene is comprised of 98% air and 2% polystyrene. The styrene used in the creation process of polystyrene is commonly derived from crude oil. However, styrene is present in natural vegetation such as fruits and vegetables, wine and beans. This means that it is technically possible to produce polystyrene from nature, even though it is economically not feasible today.Polystyrene is a thermoplastic substance, which is in solid state at room temperature, but flows if heated above its glass transition temperature, and becomes solid again when it cools off. Complete oxidation of polystyrene produces only carbon dioxide and water vapour.
The raw material is a granular expanded in a foamer and then cast in a mold under steam pressure into a block. After the storage the block is cut to desired dimensions. The expanded and molded product shape is rigid and has a micro-poroues structure. It’s closed cell system provides a low internal convection, low air permeability and low water absorption. The aging resistance is very good and the material completely resistant to root and fungi. EPS foam is resistant to sea water, alcohol, strong and weak acids, and most animal and vegetable oils. It is not affected by micro-organisms or bacteria. The material has no corrosive effect. EPS foam is sensitive to petrol, petrol fumes and some organic solvents and oils.EPS foam has good resistance to aging, but will loose its good properties if exposed to UV – radiation.Since EPS plastic foam has a closed cell structure means that very small amounts of water can be absorbed. According to a standardized test method is the water absorption maximum of 5 vol. % with the EPS foam contained under water in 28 days. The EPS foam is an organic material and therefore combustible. However there must be a heat source and access to oxygen. The air contained inside the EPS-cell resin is not sufficient to enable combustion to continue.The maximum recommended operating temperature is +80 ° C. After it starts EPS cellular plastic soften but retain shape up to about +100 ° C. Harcon only used quality and environmentally certified EPS suppliers.
When producing our sandwich panels we use a glue based on Silan Modified Polymers (SMP). We have introduced a SMP based glue as an environmental alternative to polyurethanes, since it is volatile organic (VOC) solvent free, isocyanate free, silicon free and PVC free. The mechanical characteristics are equivalent or even better than polyurethane glues. The UV, weather and temperature resistance are outperforming current state of the art technologies, such as polyurethane. Our production speed has increased due to lowered clamping time and minimisation of the number of required surface pretreatment steps (e.g. using primer). It also has excellent paintability and cleaning of gluing equipment is simple and fast using turpentine ( a natural oil destilled from resins in trees). Some characteristics of the glue:
- PVC content 0%
- Solvent content 0%
- Isocyanate content 0%
- Temperature resistance -40°C to +90°C
- Application temperature +5°C to +35°C
- UV- and weather resistance: excellent
- Tensile strength 1,6 N/mm2 (ISO 37)
The board is made of a mix of natural materials: Magnesium oxide (MgO), Magnesium Chloride (MgCl2), fiber glass fabric, wood fiber, water, talc and a catalyst. The board contains no organic solvents, no oils, no toxic ingredient, no heavy metal salts, no asbestos. Very little energy is consumed in manufacturing the board. The entire patented process is conducted at room temperature and scraps or drop-offs are reground and used in the production. As a construction material the board has several attractive characteristics. It has very high fire resistance (inflammable) and due to its high alkalinity (pH 11) it is bug resistant, moisture resistant and mold/mildew resistant. The board also is strong and can handle rough treatment, which is favourable when handling the panels on construction sites. The boards are reinforced with fiberglass on two sides for increased stability and strength. The board has high impact resistance, and can tolerate fairly rough treatment at construction sites. The board maintains its shape even when exposed to variations in temperature and damp air. The board is easy to process. It can be slit with a knife and broken as plasterboard or cut with handsaw.
Harcon only use suppliers with product testings using certified standards:
- Fire-Proof (UL 055 and ASTM E119-08a, BS 476)
- Waterproof (Freeze/Thaw-Tested for 36 months)
- Mold/Fungus/Bug Free (Non-nutrient to mold, fungus, insects ASTM G-21)
- Impact-Resistant (ASTM D-5628)
- Silica/Asbestos Free
- Florida Hurricane Tested
Testing the board in accordance with section 5 of BS 476: Part 22: 1987 shows that a 12 mm thick board maintains it insulation properties extremely well. In the test the furnace heating the exposed surface starts at 200°C, after 20 minutes its 800°C, further increasing the temperatur and levelling out at 1000°C. The unexposed surface, which is glued to EPS, reaches 100° C after 93 minutes and it maintains its strucutral integrity (no collapse) during 150 minutes.
Regarding the aspect of fire safety, the above said does not exclude that we can offer our customers different board thicknesses, as this is a matter of estimation of the risque for heat exposure in a given environment, during an estimated time of exposure. This beeing said it is all a matter of evacuation times when a house is set on fire. Feel free to come back to us with questions about this. We are happy to guide you.