Kaye Alexander takes a look around SAS International’s chilled panels factory
Factory location Bridgend, Wales
Telephone 0118 929 0900
If SAS had a slogan it would be ‘If you want something done, do it yourself’. A programme of continuous improvement to systems plus huge machinery investment means the company’s plant in Bridgend, South Wales, is almost entirely free from third-party processing, so lead times on bespoke panels can be just two weeks.
Chilled panels look like ordinary metal ceiling panels, but the cold water flowing in a network of copper pipes fixed behind them provides 45-60W/m2 of radiant and convective cooling – without the noise associated with standard air conditioning. Both clients and architects are driving their specification, as the recyclable steel tiles help to achieve BREEAM Excellent standards. Water passes through the pipes at 14-17ºC, as opposed to the refrigerant-dependent 6ºC of air conditioning. According to SAS, chilled ceilings have the lowest life-cycle cost of all cooling systems.
The perforations in the panel provide acoustic absorption or attenuation with additional insulation possible within the thickness of the tile. Integration of luminaires and air diffusion is achieved through preformed apertures. The resultant shallow 100mm ceiling void means they can be installed in new-build and refurbishment projects.
SAS is a privately owned business and celebrates its 40th birthday this year. The Bridgend factory also produces standard and bespoke metal ceiling systems, modular tiles, radiant panels and a new venture – prefabricated corridor service units. Containing all service ducts and wiring within a steel frame and insulated plasterboard unit, is the first is being installed in the Royal London Hospital. The Bridgend plant, with the company’s outposts in Oldbury in the West Midlands and Maybole in Scotland, has 45,000m2 of manufacturing facilities. Operating round the clock, the Bridgend factory produces up to 40,000 m2 of tiles per week – enough to tile two Gherkins.