Fire Curtain Finishes

Updated: May 5

When designing million-pound buildings, clients and architects will work together to ensure they are meeting British Standards for safety, and are considering how to limit environmental pollutants, for example, to reduce sound pollution within rooms.

They will also closely coordinate the aesthetics of the space to ensure the whole building works together and is unified. As such, fire protection measures need to ensure that they adhere to the appropriate fire safety standards, without marring décor or design.

With Active Fire Curtains, side guides, headboxes, and bottom bars can be treated with various coatings and coverings to ensure that they are in keeping with the style of the building, offering the fire protection you need, with the design you desire. What can be Customised? On an Adexon Active Fire Curtain, the following areas can have their finish customised, including, · the headbox, · the side guides, and · the bottom bar, as outlined on the diagram below.

Technical drawing of an Active Fire Curtain with the bottom bar, side guides, and headbox highlighted.

All of which can be achieved with galvanisation, or RAL powder coating. Galvanisation

All Fire Curtain components will be galvanised, as it offers an anti-rust finish. Side guides, bottom bars, and headboxes are made from steel, a ferrous metal that will rust if scratched, creating an unsightly mar on the system. This impacts the aesthetics of the space and can damage the steel, making it dry, flaky, and brittle, making it less likely to save lives if deployed.

An item is galvanised by submerging it in large vats of molten zinc that then cools and hardens, creating a protective layer. Similar to dipping an apple into a vat of caramel to make a toffee apple! Applying zinc to the top of steel is beneficial because:

  • it forms a barrier that prevents corrosive substances from reaching the underlying steel or iron.

  • The zinc serves as a sacrificial anode so that even if the coating is scratched, the exposed steel will still be protected by the remaining zinc.

  • The zinc protects its base metal by corroding before iron.

  • The zinc surface reacts with the atmosphere to form a compact, adherent patina that is insoluble in rainwater.[1]

  • Zinc is also self-healing, so over time will repair itself from scratches and scrapes, without impacting the steel beneath.[2] This means that the finish of the product remains unaffected and that it is structurally unharmed.

A worker in a blue safety suit, visored hard hat, and gloves, galvanises a metal part.

RAL Powder Coating

RAL is a colour matching system used in powder coating to ensure that colours are standardized across different applications, much like the Pantone colour system in printing.[3]

standardising colours, much like when Samuel Johnson standardised the English language for his dictionary in 1755, makes it easier to convey our meaning.

How often have you disagreed with a friend or colleague on the colour of an item of clothing, or equipment?

Who can forget the worldwide debate IN 2017 on the true colour of that dress?[5]

Image of a dress that caused a stir in 2007 as to some it appeared white and gold, while to others it looked blue and black.

As so much of design and aesthetics centres around colour, and colour palettes, if the client or architects’ idea of colour is not understood or communicated correctly, mistakes can be made, sometimes on a very large scale. With costly implications.

As such, the RAL standard was born. Abbreviated from the Reichs-Ausschuß für Lieferbedingungen und Gütesicherung, for ease, the German industrial commission was invented in 1927, starting with a collection of 40 colours.[5] (There are now over 2,500!)

RAL colour charts fanned out

RAL colours are coded with four numbers and each hue starts with the dame integer, for example, all violet colours start with a 4, followed by a unique combination of the next three numbers.

This way, if a client decides they would like, for example, a white colour applied to the side guides, bottom bar, and headbox, you can specify which type of white they want specifically, either 9001, 9003, 9010, or 9016. Removing the possibility of error or misunderstanding.

RAL hues of white and black with their RAL code names.

These RAL colours can be powder coated onto your Adexon Active Fire Curtain system and will either be included as standard or will be an optional extra, depending on the colour that is chosen.

Powder coating is a dry coating process used as a metal finish mostly on industrial equipment. Powder coating is applied as dry powder through an electrostatic process, then cured with heat. It is well known for providing high-quality finishes in terms of both functionality and overall look.[6]

Powder coating allows for the metal parts of the Fire Curtain to be coloured and adds ‘longevity and increased protection, [as they] repel corrosive materials, such as chemicals and water.’[7]

To apply the coating to the metal components, the first step is cleansing and preparing the surface of the metal component parts. This ensures the powder coating will adhere well and will result in a smooth finish.

The next step is to apply the powder coating using an electrostatic paint sprayer, which ‘imparts a positive electric charge on the powder and accelerates it towards the components through an electrostatic charge.’

Finally, you cure the metalwork and paint, to ensure it bonds successfully, by placing the metalwork into a curing oven. This causes the powder and metalwork to become one, imparting strength of adherence.[8]

Worker in white protective suit and mask Powder Coats metal parts in a bright orange colour

If your Fire Curtain is going to be installed near, or on the water, you could also consider a selection of C1-5 rust-proof powder coatings, that can remove the potentially damaging effects of exposure to water, affecting the appearance and function of components. Similarly, if you require a metallic, coloured finish on your metal components, you could consider a non-standard pearlized RAL colour, which has the effect of metal, with the benefit of a colour option.[9]

Pearlised RAL colour option chart on a green background.

No matter the design, layout, or colour scheme of your building, galvanisation and RAL powder coatings can ensure that Fire Curtains remain the least impactful, and most customisable option for Active Fire Protection.

Which do you prefer? Galvanised steel or a RAL colour finish?

Let us know in the comments!

_________________________________________________________________________ [1], ‘Galvanisation,’ <> 07.03.2022

[2] Image of galvanisation, from, ‘HOT DIP GALVANIZING PROCESS,’ <> 07.03.2022

[3]&[4], ‘WHAT DOES RAL MEAN IN POWDER COATING?,’ published 01.05.2018, <,Pantone%20color%20system%20in%20printing.>

[5] It was clearly white and gold! Iconic dress image, taken from Mail online, ‘The mystery behind THAT blue and black dress is finally solved: Scientists reveal why some people see it as white and gold - and it's all to do with what time you wake up,’ published by Tim Collins and Shivali Best, published 07.04.2017, updated 07.04.2017 <> [6]& [7], ‘Everything you should know about powder coating finishes,’ published 03.12.2019 <,both%20functionality%20and%20overall%20look.> [8] Image from, ‘The Benefits of Powder Coating to Your Business,’ <> 07.03.2022

[9] Example of Pearlised RAL colours, image from North Wales Garage, ‘RAL Pearl Effect Finish,’ <> 07.03.2022

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