Outstanding heat-insulating properties alongside resistance, high elasticity and flexibility make Expanded Polypropylene or EPP a hugely versatile, widely recognised, and extraordinarily functional material: used in construction, packaging, the manufacturing of numerous parts in the automobile industry, the manufacturing of household appliances… the list is endless and constantly expanding.
In this article we discuss a new and innovative use of EPP, which is growing rapidly due to the excellent results it delivers: as a material for manufacturing heat recovery system components. Expanded Polypropylene also offers another significant advantage: it is a highly versatile and workable material, which enables metallic components to be replaced by new EPP technical parts in existing machinery already in operation. Accordingly, machinery can be retained and does not have to be fully replaced.
What is a heat recovery system and what benefits does it offer?
A heat recovery system, also known as heat recovery ventilation, is one of the most highly rated HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) units at present, as it is an environmentally friendly solution that satisfies energy efficiency and sustainable development criteria.
The main advantage of a heat recovery system is that it reuses most (up to 90%) of the energy from the stale air inside a room using a mechanical ventilat
ion system. A heat exchanger is used to stream the internal and external air without mixing them.
This air conditioning system provides fantastic and efficient results: it recovers up to 60% of the heat (which would be lost in a mechanical ventilation system) and reduces energy consumption by HVAC units by approximately 40%.
Expanded Polypropylene properties are perfect for HVAC heat recovery systems
The main characteristics and properties of Expanded Polypropylene or EPP are its expanded form which grants high thermal resistance, the closed and sealed cells that provide excellent insulation in electrical devices, the material itself prevents mould and rust forming, and, additionally, EPP technical parts are 100% recyclable.
A quick look at these properties of EPP leads us to the very obvious conclusion that it is a highly valuable industrial product for the HVAC sector, also known as HVACR, as it remains stable across a very wide temperature range, as well as providing excellent insulation in electronic devices. Expanded Polypropylene is also an environmentally friendly material, as it can be used repeatedly without harming the environment.
Further applications and benefits of EPP in HVAC units
With the increasing move towards sustainable development in the HVAC sector, Expanded Polypropylene has become the leading manufacturing component for this type of air handling unit, both for the external framework and the internal structure of heat recovery systems.
The reasons for the widespread uptake of EPP in heat recovery system manufacturing include, in addition to the thermal and electrical insulation and green qualities mentioned previously, other factors that add significant value to the HVAC sector: more silent and vibration-free running and the versatility of the material itself. This last property ensures it can be used for manufacturing most internal heat recovery system parts, as well as ventilation ducts.
Yet, we can find even more added value in the use of EPP technical parts in heat recovery systems. For example, unit frames can be produced in exactly the desired shape, nullifying the effect of thermal bridges. Additionally, using EPP allows heat recovery system manufacturers to optimise productivity and installers to optimise processes and assembly time. A further benefit is the reduction in device weight by at least 30% compared to units built using metallic parts.
We can clearly see that EPP application in heat recovery ventilation brings these units enhanced insulation and ergonomic properties, improved performance, and greater environmental benefits, as they are fully recyclable and deliver significant energy savings.
This raft of benefits is turning the replacement of metallic components in heat recovery systems with lighter EPP versions into a widespread and recognised practice in the HVAC and HVACR sector as it is a more efficient, simple, and environmentally friendly solution.
At Knauf Industries we provide the best EPP solutions for the HVAC sector
As experts in insulation solutions and HVAC and HVACR components, at Knauf Industries we analyse and study trends in this constantly and dynamically growing industrial sector. Our analysis is showing us a very clear trend: businesses are increasingly switching from metallic components to offering their clients air handling units built largely from EPP. At Knauf Industries we have the capability, experience, and knowledge to help companies capitalise on this welcome development in industrial air conditioning system manufacturing.
It is important to note that at Knauf Industries we do not solely manufacture Expanded Polypropylene technical parts for HVAC, we offer a much broader, end-to-end service, including the replacement of existing components and the design, in close cooperation with our clients, of the best insulation solutions for this market.