“We punch well above our weight for innovation”: Fireproof building wrap ignites growth for South Australian business


South Australian manufacturer Ametalin is preparing for boosted growth, after launching its fireproof and waterproof building wrap designed for high-rise buildings and homes in bushfire zones.

Ametalin launched its CeaseFire barrier in June, which it says is the only product of its kind in the world that is waterproof and fireproof while still allowing vapour to pass through.

The company, which is based in Adelaide, already exports its insulation products to Japan and has also established an office in Singapore this year to boost sales into Asia.

The new CeaseFire product is made from a fibreglass weave material impregnated with a fireproof polymer.

The company’s technical team was inspired to develop the product following the devastating Grenfell Towers apartment fire in London in 2017 and a series of bad bushfire seasons in Australia.

Ametalin CEO Stephen McIntyre says the company has already been “inundated with inquiries” from around Australia and as far afield as Japan, Vietnam, Myanmar and India since launching CeaseFire.

“Material of this type that can withstand really high heat stress is used in some other high-end applications. But what we’ve cracked the code on is how to make it and apply it into buildings,” McIntyre says.

“We think we have stimulated a discussion in the marketplace in Australia about the level of performance of fireproof systems for buildings, and by us providing this product it’s a real step-up in that area to improve options and performance in buildings.”

Ametalin has about 60 staff in Australia, with about 40 working from its Adelaide headquarters, where it also does some manufacturing.

The bulk of the company’s manufacturing is done at its plant in Malaysia, but McIntyre says the business is looking at options to produce CeaseFire in Adelaide.

“We think over time this will be our flagship high-end product that’s used for buildings in high-risk zones or in multi-storey buildings where you need to make sure you can stop a fire moving from zone to zone,” he explains.

“It’s an exciting time for us because it’s a product that will do a lot of good and we’re really hopeful it will give us an opportunity to grow the jobs here, which, in a manufacturing environment, is often difficult.

“But at the moment we are seeing the demand, and if there is a sensible way for us to work through that, then we would very much like to do it.”

Ametalin started out in Sydney in 1999 and relocated to South Australia after acquiring Adelaide-based laminating company SA Toyo in 2008.

Its other products include a range of thermal barriers, insulations and building membranes.

McIntyre says the CeaseFire product could also be retrofitted to homes with tiled roofs in bushfire zones

“They’ll be able to seal their roof cavity with this material and then lay the tiles back on, which means the roof will still breathe, but you don’t need to have ventilation shafts. And it also stops ember attacks, which are one of the main causes of houses catching fire during bushfires,” he explains.

“In addition, they will also prevent damage in climates where you get hail smashing tiles. No water or hail will get through, so it’s a game-changing product … there’s no product with this combination of attributes in the market globally.

“We’re a little company, but we punch well above our weight for innovation, technology and the know-how we bring to the industry, and this is a really good example of the sort of things we can do,” he adds.

This article was first published by The Lead.

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