Vector Folitec : Lightweight, Sustainable, and Elegant Solutions

Lucy Pilgrim
Lucy Pilgrim - Senior Editor
Highlights
  • Positioned at the forefront of the cladding sector for 40 years, Vector Foiltec invented and pioneered the use of the Texlon® ETFE system.
  • “With transparent roofs and façades made of Texlon® ETFE foil, our company has set new standards in recent architecture projects,” says Matthew Penrose, Executive Vice President, Vector Foiltec.

Bringing construction creativity to Singapore and beyond, Vector Foiltec is pioneering the lightweight cladding sector. Matthew Penrose, Executive Vice President, highlights some of the company’s latest landmark projects.

LIGHTWEIGHT, SUSTAINABLE, AND ELEGANT SOLUTIONS

An essential ingredient of the global construction industry, ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) cladding has historically been used as a lightweight and long-span alternative to the performance glazing used in roofs, façades, atriums, and canopies.   

Positioned at the forefront of the cladding sector for 40 years, Vector Foiltec invented and pioneered the use of the Texlon® ETFE system and is the only company in the world whose core business activities centre around ETFE cladding.  

The Texlon® printed ETFE two-layer cushions replicate the same thermal performance as double glazing but with over 90 percent less deadweight, as well as larger surface areas, lower carbon footprint and maintenance, and greater light transmission and support of lightweight steel structure options for complex geometries.   

“With transparent roofs and façades made of Texlon® ETFE foil, our company has set new standards in recent architecture projects,” opens Matthew Penrose, Executive Vice President.  

Vector Foiltec’s architectural foil technology can be processed either as a single-layer or multi-layer system and can be used for stadiums, atriums, shopping centres, zoos, garden parks, public buildings, swimming pools, schools, and universities all over the world. 

Moreover, Texlon® ETFE is used for high-performance building envelopes with an outstanding eco-balance.  

“Our team of experts has been responsible for many major technological innovations in the field. Through extensive investment in R&D and a commitment to superior quality and performance, we continue to be the global market leader,” Penrose highlights. 

LOCAL KNOWLEDGE, GLOBAL EXPERTISE

With a remarkable impact on the industry, Vector Foiltec has amassed an impressive international footprint. Totalling 18 branches and two production sites, the company is represented in countries such as Singapore, Australia, China, Germany, the US, and the UK, combining local knowledge with global expertise.  

In each region, Vector Foiltec familiarises itself with the local supply chain and integrates it into the client’s design, contracting, and quality control processes.  

That way, the company achieves shorter delivery times and economical solutions while avoiding shipping tax and duty issues. 

“Our international team has a strong sense of community, which is a key factor for efficient workflows,” expresses Penrose.  

“Ultimately, our staff work extremely hard for our clients, and we want them to succeed as it ensures our growth and longevity. This sincerity, backed with our expertise and proven track record, has made us the global leader in ETFE systems.”   

Vector Foiltec’s enviable status is bolstered by its unmatched ability to solve complex challenges and immediately identify possible hurdles when working on ETFE projects over the last four decades.  

Furthermore, the team is unique in its ability to design, engineer, supply, fabricate, install, test, and maintain operations in-house with full-time staff.  

This means that the company’s employees are consistently learning and providing feedback to various departments on how Vector Foiltec can refine and improve.  

“Moreover, with everything handled in-house, our customers only need to make one call and know we will solve everything for them,” Penrose adds.  

“Ultimately, our staff work extremely hard for our clients, and we want them to succeed as it ensures our growth and longevity”

Matthew Penrose, Executive Vice President, Vector Foiltec

CLIENT-FOCUSED SOLUTIONS

Working closely with clients is a core part of Vector Foiltec’s business, as each project is unique.  

As such, the company draws upon its previous construction experience in other parts of the world to inform and adapt its bespoke solutions in each new development.  

“We are happy to advise our clients with our specialist knowledge and make their visions come true!”  

A further market differentiator is the support Vector Foiltec provides for developers, consultants, and main contractors, from project conception through to the tender and construction stage, ultimately maintaining ETFE systems decades after completion.  

This guarantees that clients receive the best possible solutions with the assurance that the team can provide ample support.  

The company’s technical sales managers, designers, engineers, and construction specialists work hand in hand to carry out lightweight, sustainable, and elegant solutions.  

Financially, Vector Foiltec also keeps a close eye on project budgets, often saving money for its clients thanks to structural optimisations and a global network of suppliers.  

Whether it’s a new community hub or a swimming pool for the city, each new addition to the construction landscape is carefully considered by builders and architects.  

“Vector Foiltec is a company closely aligned with its client base; we are a business of architects, engineers, project managers, and skilled individuals who have come from all sides of the construction industry.  

“This allows us to understand the needs of our clients and develop targeted solutions for each project as we understand their situations and what support is needed,” reflects Penrose.  

SURBANA JURONG CAMPUS

Vector Foiltec’s most recent projects include the new global headquarters of Surbana Jurong (SJ), the largest Asia-based infrastructure and urban planning consultancy in the world, with over 16,000 employees.  

Set to be home to 4,000 people, SJ Campus was designed by Safdie Architects and embodies Singapore’s character as “the city in the garden”. As such, the design of the campus integrates harmoniously with the surrounding natural landscape.  

The project comprises three courtyards covered with ETFE roofing to create a shared meeting centre, offering a quieter area that is planted in lush nature.  

The three courtyard roofs push technical and aesthetic boundaries by being the first cable-truss supported ETFE skylights in Southeast Asia.  

The structure is made up of an SS cable with a 28-millimetre (mm) diameter top chord, a 32mm diameter bottom chord, and 16mm diameter SS rods between the two, spanning a total of 30 metres (m).  

“All our ETFE skylights can be viewed by the public and it’s an amazing space to visit. We would encourage anyone interested in ETFE systems and advanced structural solutions to come and view SJ Campus; it’s an incredible environment that’s very special and unique,” urges Penrose.

Aerial view of the Singapore National Stadium located next to the Kallang Basin and reservoir

SINGAPORE NATIONAL STADIUM

A major part of the Singapore Sports Hub, the Singapore National Stadium is one of the few venues to have an open roof and was the largest ever public-private-partnership (PPP) project when it was constructed. On top of this, it also possesses the world’s biggest free-span dome, measuring 310m.  

For these reasons, Vector Foiltec was very proud to be one of the first specialist contractors awarded by Arup to support its challenge to design a 55,000-seat stadium bowl for optimised viewing while minimising the footprint of the dome, the form of which was chosen as it is structurally efficient for a project of such a large size.   

Vector Foiltec’s support and expertise helped to greatly reduce the weight of the steel dome, optimise its thermal performance, and illuminate the ETFE system to be Singapore’s largest flag.  

The company’s first challenge was to overcome the difficulties of geometry, which dictates the ETFE design and supporting steelwork.  

Although many different geometries were explored, Vector Foiltec opted for 3m-wide and 45m-long cushions that can self-drain if deflated, with structural flexibility aligned with the moving roof below.  

Next, Vector Foiltec investigated the complex deflections of the stadium, beginning with the runway truss deflection, which provided support to the track that carries the moving roof.  

However, as each runway truss has a different length, the company had to navigate each individual deflection.  

Meanwhile, Vector Foiltec also worked on the rack or skew deflection – since the runway trusses are 48m apart, the moving roof steelwork deflects between the runway trusses as the roof moves, which is an element the company had to consider.  

Finally, Vector Foiltec collated all the deflection, rotation, and movement data to understand the total effect of the moving roof and reconcile this with wind and model study loadings to help develop the moving roof steelwork and ETFE roof system.  

Additionally, the company incorporated 20,000 LED pixels, each illuminating a 1m-by-1m area, to create a giant television screen.  

“The Singapore National Stadium is over a decade old, and our 20,000 square metre ETFE moving roof has worked perfectly. It’s a project I worked on personally from start to finish, that we still maintain today and I am very proud of,” Penrose closes.

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By Lucy Pilgrim Senior Editor
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Lucy Pilgrim is an in-house writer for APAC Outlook Magazine, where she is responsible for interviewing corporate executives and crafting original features for the magazine, corporate brochures, and the digital platform.