We talk about metal a lot, but when it comes to grating, it's not the only high-quality, high-strength material that can be used. Fibre reinforced plastic (FRP) is also a fantastic grating material. It features many properties that make it a good alternative to metal. Here, you'll find everything you need to know about FRP.
What is FRP and what is it used for?
"FRP is made of composite plastics and reinforced with fibres."
Fibre reinforced plastics aren't particularly hard to understand. The name refers to a combination of composite material, namely plastic, reinforced with fibres. In this case the material used for reinforcement isn't steel, aluminium or other traditional materials you might associate with high strength and durability, but glass fibre.
This material has a remarkably wide variety of applications. It's commonly used in industries ranging from aerospace and automotive to consumer goods, where FRP is frequently seen in sporting equipment. Industrial flooring is a common application, too, as builders, designers and other stakeholders have recognized the unique combination of benefits it offers.
Other materials, such as carbon and aramid, are used occasionally for reinforcement, but this depends primarily on the application. Fibre reinforced plastic was developed in the 1930s — partly by dedicated research into a strong, mouldable material for aviation, and partly due to serendipitous discoveries by scientists. Large scale FRP manufacturing began in the 1950s. While the manufacturing process has been tweaked and updated since then, FRP has grown into a huge industry and contributed significantly to many others.
How is FRP made?
Plastic as a composite is produced by combining materials with the desired structural properties. The resulting product is referred to as the matrix (no, not that Matrix), It is typically very hard, but not necessarily strong. The combination of hardness, strength and elasticity comes from a matrix reinforced by fibre — in this instance, glass fibre. These fibres are laid out, and the resin, a thermosetting plastic, is added before being shaped by the mould. The mixture is then hardened by heat and pressure, and the result is FRP.
The ability to incorporate different types of composite plastics and reinforcing fibres is an important advantage when it comes to FRP. Products are designed with the best possible combination of composite plastic and fibre for the intended application of the product. That means a purpose-built solution of fibre reinforced polymers for addressing a variety of needs, whether it's making parts for an aircraft that can stand up to the extreme stresses it faces when operated or providing a safe, supportive and generally high-quality industrial gratings.
Keep in mind, this is a highly simplified account. The process varies greatly depending on base materials and application.
FRP grating from Webforge is built to last, which can greatly improve your company's experience when using it as industrial grating.
How strong is FRP?
FRP is commonly thought of as an exceptionally durable material. It wouldn't be used in critical applications by the aerospace and marine industries, among many others, if it lacked a high degree of strength and reliability. Despite its low weight — another distinct benefit that has encouraged widespread use of FRP — this material offers consistent performance. The combination of plastic and fibre also has a considerably long lifespan, making it an effective selection for long-term industrial use.
Webforge produces fibre reinforced plastic in a profile designed to evenly distribute the constantly varying, and often considerable, load of staff and equipment moving across it. This means it's an ideal grating material. We incorporated extra care into our design process, which leverages the square stock panels to transfer part of the load to adjoining bars. The result is less stress on a single area of the grating and the overall support structure, which can increase longevity.
What are the other benefits of FRP?
Outside of its superior strength and low weight, FRP has a number of other advantages.
Perhaps one of the most useful properties is corrosion resistance. It can stand up under prolonged exposure to corrosive chemicals, harsh weather and temperature fluctuations. The plastics used in FRP simply don't possess the same vulnerabilities as many other options for industrial flooring. While all grating allows for liquids and solids to flow through the openings, FRP won't wear down over time, as some metals and other materials may.
Supplied as whole panels with stock or custom sizing, FRP is easy to install. This is a small benefit in the grand scheme of things, but an especially important one when opening a new facility or renovating an existing one. The simplicity of putting FRP into place means one less possible cause of delays or complications at a crucial time. And, once FRP is installed, it requires little maintenance. Staff have enough tasks to handle each day — taking care of industrial flooring shouldn't have to be added to the list.
Generally speaking, the greater the ratio of resin to glass, the greater corrosion resistance. Webforge produces our FRP with a high ratio, making it a material that is extremely resistant to corrosion.
The combination of high strength, corrosion resistance and low cost make FRP the ultimate grating material for flooring or walkways subject to high stress. Get in touch with Webforge to find out more about improving your experience with industrial flooring through FRP.
Modular barrier solutions: balancing compliance, cost and project complexity
Specifying the right barrier and handrail system for your project leads to a powerful set of benefits. Selecting a carefully designed and reliably produced barrier up front can pre-address challenges relating to compliance, cost and project complexity. Whether the intended application is a bridge, lookout, car park, shopping centre or something else entirely, making the right choice can definitely pay off.
Webforge developed the Monowills Link — AS5100 Barrier specifically to support the needs of specifiers, project managers and other stakeholders in ventures where modular barriers are needed in high load public applications. Let's take a closer look at each of the three benefits that come along with specifying the Monowills Link – AS5100 Barrier.