Why Data Centers Are Replacing Steel And Concrete Construction With Fiber-Reinforced Polymer (FRP)
Fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) has long been a material of choice for aerospace applications. Now it’s becoming essential to efficient data center design.
FRP is a composite fiber that offers the strength of steel and concrete yet weighs as much as 80% lighter allowing for rapid installation with a fraction of the labor costs.
“Essentially it’s less people and less gear for installation,” said Brian Stamper, who is the Chief Revenue Officer of Advantic. “You might utilize a crane if the structure is going on a rooftop, but otherwise installation can almost always be done by hand.”
Steel structures typically require a much higher level of technical skill to install as they often need specialized welding and rely on licensed and trained heavy equipment operators to get them in place.
These high-skill workforce requirements are eliminated with the much lighter and simpler to install FRP structures.
“A typical generator platform can take about four days for installation in steel,” said Stamper. “With FRP it can be done in a day.”
The reduction in weight provides advantages on so many levels. According to Stamper it reduces shipping costs by about 60%.
Examples of structures within a data center that are being replaced by FRP include: guardrails, grating, staircases, access platforms, acoustical walls and so much more. The applications are expanding rapidly.
This is a revolutionary approach to data center design and engineering and it’s being eagerly embraced.
“We’ve had a good adoption rate by the data center space as a whole,” said Stamper. “We’re not completely saturated, but what we love about the data center industry is how quickly it evolves and welcomes new technology.”
Although FRP may not replace all the applications of steel, there are many ways in which it’s a superior option. Not the least of these are its resistance to wear and tear.
“One of the things steel does, is it corrodes,” said Stamper. “FRP doesn’t corrode. It doesn’t rust. It won’t degrade.”
In fact, one of the initial challenges with FRP was its relative invincibility. Once built, it could essentially last forever without breaking down. This is excellent for construction purposes, but created an issue for sustainability measures.
If it never breaks down, how do you eventually dispose of it? This is a problem being solved by new innovations.
“Recently in Europe, they are coming up with ways to recycle the fiberglass in their own systems,” said Stamper, “which is a huge advancement for FRP.”
“This technology is on the way to the United States and by the time the products we’re installing are ready to be taken out, they’ll be able to be recycled as well.”
Instor partners with Advantic to assist with the implementation of their Fiber-Reinforced Polymer (FRP) technology from design to deployment. If you have any questions and want to learn more about these Advantic offerings, make sure to contact us today.
“This is a revolutionary approach to data center design and engineering and it’s being eagerly embraced.”
“A typical generator platform can take about four days for installation in steel. With FRP it can be done in a day.”
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INSTOR SOLUTIONS: Founded in 1996, Instor is a global leader in data center design, build, management, structured cabling, power infrastructure, data center moves & migration, specialized containment, and cooling solutions. Instor has designed and installed infrastructure solutions for high-growth startups to Fortune 100 companies and public institutions. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Instor operates throughout the U.S. and in the European Union and has offices in Ashburn, Virginia, Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, Hillsboro, Oregon, and a European branch in Dublin, Ireland. Additional information can be found at https://www.instor.com.
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