Using ventilated façades, Ultra is "Ultra" even for these technological envelopes: the system can be used to cover any kind of building, whether modular and here the repetition of the modules is its speciality (a winning feature for the use of "full" sizes, e.g. 300x150-120-100 cm), and nonmodular systems, requiring multiple elements in different shapes and sizes.
Slabs are applied to ventilated façades using an assembly technology comprising the covering slabs and aluminium load-bearing structural joints produced in the factory, based on a strict, meticulous procedure.
The pre-design study, adaptation of the system standards to each building project, and the systematic checking of the materials and structural joint gripping surfaces, all help to fully exploit the complementary properties of Ultra and the aluminium frame, as well as eliminating all site operations apart from simple mechanical anchoring: Ultra for covering systems is therefore ready to be "simply" hooked and tightened to the existing wall on site, with the guarantee of assembly in the controlled atmosphere of the production site.
The system was designed specifically to offer excellent flexibility for designers using two sub-families of systems, which share the frame-slab assembly using a structural joint, but which differ in the type of frame used to anchor Ultra to the wall of the building:
- Ultra Frame, which uses a load-bearing perimeter frame designed to be hung directly on modular brackets anchored to the wall;
- Ultra Light, which on the other hand uses vertical shaped profiles fixed to a traditional grid of uprights and cross-beams fixed to the wall.
VENTILATED FAÇADE USE
The dry assembled ventilated façade can be used in both new builds and renovations.
The layered composition allows it to be installed in ventilated cavity walls with an insulating layer, also optimising the energy performance of the envelope and reducing dispersion through the walls, so it can also be used in projects that require the heat insulation of the building envelope in order to achieve certain transmittance values of the vertical envelope components and meet the building's energy requirements.
The choice of the most appropriate of the two systems for the building works in hand depending on several parameters:
- Size of the project
- Modularity of the façade
- Size of the modules
- Repetition of the modules
- Building height
- Size and number of windows
- Presence of protrusions and balconies
- Number of special elements
- Site organisation and logistics
The two systems are in any case able to meet the needs of any building, also maintaining high resistance to wind loads, in line with the values achieved by the best traditional ventilated covering systems using ceramic slabs.
In the Ultra Ventilated systems, the slabs continue to have a merely "supported" function, while the aluminium frame supports the loads, limiting the bending of the elements and transferring the loads to the wall below: the positioning of the aluminium elements and structural joints is designed specifically for each project, in order to dissipate any excessive loads on the slab and guarantee integrity and durability. The choice between the two systems is based on a careful preliminary analysis of the building to measure the above-described parameters, to maximise technical performance and cost-effectiveness, identifying the most suitable and/or most easily applicable system. The preliminary design of the covering must consider that the idea of "stitching a skin onto the building" will generate cuts and (in this case ceramic) waste, and such offcuts must be calculated in the cost of the works.
Identifying the complementarity between the size of the Ultra module and that of the building to be covered consequently optimises the design: in a new build, this can be done at design stage, but when renovating an existing building we have to adapt to the existing sizes and architectural features, which could make the sue of Ultra Frame more costly, while advantages lay in the greater flexibility of Ultra Light.
Ultra Frame and Ultra Light are of course compatible: depending on the building or the design, both systems can be used, differentiating their use in uniform areas: obviously, Frame in areas with constant modules, Light for sub-multiples and special elements. The size of the gaps between the Ultra slabs must be carefully calculated in order to ensure the thermal expansion of the elements and prevent them from creating excessive loads for the ceramic slabs. Heat expansion is a natural phenomenon, typical of any material, and depends on the length of the element considered: the longer the element, the greater the expansion in absolute terms.
Although with different costs, both systems can be fitted with:
- Safety mesh to limit the fall of fragments from crushed slabs following abnormal impacts;
- Continuous, two-sided or specific mechanical retainers;
- Closed gaps between the slabs (Frame) to create a water barrier to limit the amount of water inside the ventilated cavity wall.