Cladding is the process of pressing layers of material together under pressure to create a sandwich so that each layer’s properties are used optimally. Aluminum composite cladded panels are a sandwich construction, with either Styrofoam insulation or plywood core pressed between aluminum skin and bonded to form a sturdy structural panel. The panels are strong enough to span large areas with the maximum panel size being 5 m. by 1.5 m. at any thickness. The panels are stable and pressure-bonded. Vulcan Cladding Systems manufactures two types of composite aluminum cladding, insulated and non-insulated which can be covered with either GRP, Plastisol, Trespa, or Aluminum. The aluminum cladding takes advantage of the metal’s properties of being lightweight and weather resistant and environmentally friendly.
Types of aluminum cladding
The line of non-insulated aluminum cladding, which has a plywood core, is called VulcaBoardTM.
This type of architectural cladding is an aluminum sandwich construction with a plywood center. A newer product is called VulcaLapTM, which uses a powder-coated aluminum (wood finished) that is used for exterior planking.
Styrofoam core insulated panels are called VulcaThermicTM. The Styrofoam core of the insulated panels is also sandwiched in aluminum, and have excellent compressive strength, a thermal conductivity K-value of .027 W/mK, low water absorption of only 0.2%, self-extinguishing properties in accordance with BS-3837: Part A, and also hot wire cut to the thickness required +/-0.5mm.
Both of these have a colored gel coat that is excellent for chemical and weather resistance. The strength is enhanced by polyester resin and special fiberglass reinforcement. The gel coating is available in many colors and even in a wood grain finish. The aluminum cladding weighs only 1.8kg/sq. mm. of thickness, making it an excellent covering material. Both products have a 10-year warranty and require no special maintenance other than cleaning with soap and water.
Most common uses of aluminum panel cladding
If you think of the exterior of a building or its facade as its skin, then the exterior cladding gives the building its unique look and personality. It is what makes a building aesthetically pleasing. But at the same time, the facade must be functional, enhancing its appeal while protecting it at the same time. Aluminum is popular for modern architecture because it fits into many design concepts and is visually appealing while providing excellent protection from the environment. This is why you’re seeing it appear more and more often in large-scale building projects. The fact that aluminum clad panels are so versatile with many colors and finishes makes them very popular with architects and builders alike. The market for aluminum composite panels was estimated to be more than $5 billion in 2018 and expected to grow by 6.4% by 2025 because of the increase in the scope of its applications.
With its lightness and range of colors, architectural aluminum cladding has numerous applications. It is commonly used for external building cladding (VulcaThermicTM), balconies, rain screens, and curved panel applications. The panels are matched with trims and accessories necessary to give the installation a polished professional look. With face sizes of 5000 x 1500mm face sizes (single or double-sided), Vulcan Cladding Systems’ panels are sturdy, yet flexible, allowing them to fit a variety of uses.
Advantages of aluminum composite panels
One of the biggest advantages is cost because aluminum is a relatively inexpensive metal. Also, even though aluminum is lightweight, it’s still sturdy and durable, resists staining, and can withstand harsh climates. Aluminum panels are even severe storm- and hurricane-resistant. Aluminum composite panels are highly impervious to dust, sand, coastal atmospheres and harmful ultraviolet radiation. Because of its flexibility and lightweight properties, the installation process is easier and faster. Also, most of the aluminum composite panels include enhanced fire resistance.