Enamelled steel panels provide high traffic durability

Vitrex supplied Vitraclad panels, as specified, for the new Rhodesfield Station on the East Rand.South Africa’s leading producer of vitreous enamelled steel products for architectural applications, Vitrex, supplied Vitraclad panels for the recently completed Rhodesfield Station, near OR Tambo International Airport.

Cristian Cottino, sales and marketing director at Vitrex, says about 300m² of heavy gauge cladding panels were specified by Martinez Architects, for both functional and aesthetic elements in this project. The panels have been used in three main areas: to form the barriers which separate the commuter areas on the first floor from the tracks below; to create a feature wall, adding colour to the junction between the two commuter passages; and to clad the walls of the ticket hall, providing durable protection.

The cladding was installed by Vitrex as a subcontractor to main contractor, Rainbow Construction.

“The Vitraclad elements are important in the overall design, providing colour and surface protection in high traffic areas,” says Cottino. He explains that the commuter barriers consist of a freestanding, integrated system which combines a mild steel support structure and the Vitraclad panels.

The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa’s (PRASA) Rhodesfield Station has been developed as a rail commuter node adjacent to the Gautrain Rhodesfield Station. The project forms part of PRASA’s programme of upgrading the metropolitan commuter rail networks across the country and was also part of the FIFA 2010 Soccer World Cup transport infrastructure programme.

“Martinez Architects have specified Vitraclad on a number of previous projects and have a long-standing working relationship with Vitrex,” Cottino adds.

Vitraclad panels are produced by fusing an inorganic coating of glass, oxides and various minerals to sheet steel at temperatures of over 800ºC. The finished vitreous enamelled – or ‘porcelain’ – steel cladding is corrosion-proof and weatherproof, resistant to ultraviolet light, hail, salty sea air and industrial pollutants. It is a durable, hard-wearing, low maintenance material. It has a high resistance to thermal shock and specific requirements in terms of thermal and acoustic insulation can be addressed at the design stage. Vitraclad panels are non-combustible and fully recyclable.

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