10.11.2022 by Aileen Sammler

60 Years of NETZSCH-Gerätebau: Fire Testing and Thermal Conductivity Product Range

The merger of TAURUS Instruments AG in Weimar, Germany and NETZSCH Analyzing & Testing in 2020 resulted in the NETZSCH TAURUS Instruments GmbH of today. Learn about the comprehensive product portfolio for fire testing,  Conduttività TermicaThermal conductivity (λ with the unit W/(m•K)) describes the transport of energy – in the form of heat – through a body of mass as the result of a temperature gradient (see fig. 1). According to the second law of thermodynamics, heat always flows in the direction of the lower temperature.thermal conductivity and thermal transmittance testing. 


In order to further grow and to be able to serve international markets, the Managing Director at that time, Stephan Heise, was looking for an investor and finally found what he was looking for:

In January 2020, NETZSCH-Gerätebau GmbH announced the acquisition of TAURUS Instruments AG in Weimar with all its employees. The merger of TAURUS Instruments AG, now NETZSCH TAURUS Instruments GmbH, in Weimar, with the Analyzing & Testing Business Unit of the NETZSCH Group was the result of a long-standing business relationship between the two companies.

This allowed NETZSCH to expand its product portfolio for testing thermal conductivity and thermal transmittance and to additionally supplement it with a comprehensive product range in the field of fire testing, which is employed in both materials testing and quality control.

Figure: Overview of the fire testing systems available today, their properties, application fields and associated standards


Along with different guarded hot plate systems, NETZSCH TAURUS today also offers large, standard-compliant test chambers capable of accommodating compact and complex components such as facade elements and masonry for determination of the thermal conductivity as well as fire behavior. Hot box systems (TDW) allow for measurement of thermal transmission coefficients (U values) of larger and more complex building components (doors, windows, facades, etc.).

In the field of thermal conductivity, three additional devices (GHPs) are offered. Another new addition to the product portfolio was an instrument with a protected heating tube for the measurement of pipe insulations, the TLR.

The newly added products for fire testing covered the entire spectrum required to set up a Eurolab* for testing plastics, building materials, textiles, etc., in accordance with European standards. These fire testing instruments are based on European classification systems for fire behavior and fire resistance.

The experience and technological know-how from Weimar in conjunction with NETZSCH’s worldwide distribution network were the perfect combination for taking a leading role in this market.

EUROLAB*: Organization for fire testing and certification

The NETZSCH TAURUS Products – How Do These Actually Work?

For testing a material’s thermal conductivity, one or two plate-shaped specimens are placed between two plates with a defined temperature difference between them.

Different fire scenarios are simulated during the fire tests. Each instrument operates according to standards under various conditions, ensuring comparability of the measurements. Here, TAURUS offers various possibilities:

KBK:       simulates a match flame on a sample

HBK:       simulates a match flame on a horizontal specimen

SBI:         simulates such situations as a trash fire in a corner of a room

TBB:       simulates radiant heat on floor coverings and burning droplets at the end of the floor

KBT:       simulates burning cables in a cable duct

TCC:       Measurement setup for determination of the combustion behavior of samples on a laboratory scale; determination of the mass loss, heat release and the smoke density development

Along with research & development facilities, the customer base also includes universities, materials research and testing institutes, and companies from the automotive, construction and plastics sectors employing the devices in materials testing and production.

André Lindemann reports on his impression:

“It’s a particular pleasure for me to say after three years now that the implementation of the initial idea of expanding the product portfolio and opening up new markets by integrating TAURUS AG into the NETZSCH Group has fully paid off. NETZSCH TAURUS Instruments GmbH, and in particular our customers, can now benefit from the worldwide sales and service network of NETZSCH-Gerätebau GmbH. This helps us to provide worldwide blanket coverage access to our products and to be able to offer excellent service. The first large instruments for fire testing (KBT, SBI, TCC) are already running at customers in China; a hot box system (TDW 4240) for walls, windows and doors is ready to be shipped to Korea. Along with projects in Europe, we are also increasingly picking up speed in Australia and the US.”

Photo: Dr. André Lindemann, today’s Managing Director of NETZSCH TAURUS

After his studies and doctorate with a focus on numerical temperature field simulation of thermotechnical processes at the Institute of Fluid Engineering and Thermodynamics at the Technical University of Magdeburg, Dr. André Lindemann joined NETZSCH-Gerätebau in 2003. Here, he was responsible for the thermophysical properties area in the applications laboratory. 

The focal points of his work were contract testing and demo measurements for customers, sales, and the continued development of the laser flash, ThermoreflectanceThermoreflectance is a method for determining the thermal diffusivity and thermal conductivity of thin films with thicknesses in the nanometer range.thermoreflectance and Seebeck methods. With the acquisition of TAURUS in 2020, he was appointed Managing Director of the new NETZSCH site in Weimar together with Ingo-Ludwig Hammer.

ARD, ZDF and C&A – or also – LOI, SBI and TCC

Due to stricter safety regulations, the demand for fire tests, particularly in the automotive sector as well as in the production of building materials, cables and plastics, has increased sharply worldwide in recent years. 

For this reason, we are today presenting four products in detail that have already established themselves as long-term favorites:

The TCC 918 Cone Calorimeter:

The Cone Calorimeter is one of the newest and most important fire testing instruments. It determines the heat release rate, the mass loss and the dynamic smoke development of a product; it is based on the principle that the amount of heat released by the burning sample is directly related to the amount of oxygen consumed during forced combustion. The TCC 918-testing device takes into consideration the development of fire from the ignition to the complete combustion of an organic material. The ability to predict a material’s fire behavior on a real scale contributes to the safe evacuation of buildings, airplanes, cars and boats in case of emergency.

Read also:

Why the Cone Calorimeter in Accordance with ISO 5660-1 Is a Lifesaver - NETZSCH Analyzing & Testing

How to Avoid Fire and Toxic Smoke in Electronic Components - NETZSCH Analyzing & Testing

Oxygen Index Analyzer LOI 901:

The fire behavior of technical plastics varies widely. The requirements for these polymers are described in the respective standards for electrically operated devices and equipment.

While the height of the Melting Temperatures and EnthalpiesThe enthalpy of fusion of a substance, also known as latent heat, is a measure of the energy input, typically heat, which is necessary to convert a substance from solid to liquid state. The melting point of a substance is the temperature at which it changes state from solid (crystalline) to liquid (isotropic melt).melting point does not provide any such information, the Low Oxygen Index (LOI) yields information on the oxygen content necessary in the air for the material to no longer burn.

By means of the LOI 901 fire test (LOI = Lowest Oxygen Index), the burning behavior of polymers is determined through the oxygen index. These test systems are employed by plastics manufacturers and testing institutes as well as in research and development.

GHP 500 – the Standard Instrument for Thermal Conductivity

Environmental protection, energy savings and preservation of natural resources are currently of greater concern to us than ever before. A key contribution to environmental protection is made by the use of insulation and building materials featuring a low thermal conductivity value. These materials significantly lower the heat flow through the building envelope. As a result, the energy required to heat or cool building interiors at low or high outdoor temperatures is significantly reduced.

With the GHP 500 Thermal Conductivity Tester, special specimens with higher installation thickness can be measured.

SBI 915 – Single Burning Item

Knowledge about the fire behavior of building products is becoming increasingly important. For assessment of the fire behavior of building products, the SBI 915 simulates the start and further course of a fire. The results of the SBI test are used to classify (Euroclass) the building product.

The SBI 915 is used for measurement on building products according to the CPR (Construction Products Regulation) with the exception of some product groups such as floor coverings and cables (to this end, we offer the TBB 913 and KBT 916 devices).

Read also: 

Advent, Advent, the Christmas Tree’s on Fire – NETZSCH Can Help Prevent This! - NETZSCH Analyzing & Testing

Taurus fire testing systems, such as a TDW or the SBI 915 with an impressive width of 2.50 m, usually have very large wall elements. Many of the devices are therefore only finally assembled at the customer’s site and adjusted to the general conditions there, with top priority given to quality and service.

Watch our video showing the installation of a TDW:

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Installation of a TDW 4140

SERVICE With a Capital S

Almost all instruments in the NETZSCH TAURUS product portfolio were developed upon customers’ requests and individually tailored to them in compliance with the standard specifications. Whether it’s thanks to a special hood for the SBI, adaptation to the customer’s individual building conditions during installation and commissioning on site, or various plate sizes and specimen adaptations for the GHP Thermal Conductivity Tester, customers have been benefiting from Weimar quality, service and customized solutions for decades.

Many of our employees witnessed the company’s birth in the 1990s and know the products inside out. With new access to the worldwide NETZSCH service agencies thanks to the merger, we it was also possible to improve our service offerings. Trained service employees are now available almost around the clock across the globe.


“The acquisition by NETZSCH shaped the base for the security of my professional future. I was able to continue what I had been involved in all my working life. Likewise, it secured the cooperation with our existing customers. This means a lot to me since our customers were part of the reason TAURUS came into existence. For me personally, the friendly collaboration with my colleagues in Selb as well as with our agencies all over the world has been very pleasurable. I feel like an employee of the NETZSCH Group with all trimmings,” explains TAURUS veteran Holger Ackermann. 

This engineer for electrical and precision engineering completed his internship at TAURUS in 1994, joined the company in 1995 and – after various positions in design, assembly and sales – has now assumed responsibility for customer service and technical purchasing.

Learn more about the use of NETZSCH TAURUS fire testing systems next week.