FAQs: Fire Curtains, Smoke Curtains and Fire Shutters

burning wood

This month we want to share some common questions we get asked around fire curtains, smoke curtains and fire shutters. Read through the questions and answers below and get in touch with our team if you have any further questions.

Q: What is a fire curtain and what does it do?

A fire curtain is a specially developed and engineered screen that drops from the ceiling and literally cuts off the path of a fire between two open areas. Very much like a traditional fire door.

Discrete and lightweight, fire curtains provide you with an alternative to fire shutters and fire doors while being equally as effective.

Q: Why use our fire curtain system?

Choosing from our range of Ultimate Fire Curtains has number of benefits, including:

  • Slim and lightweight fire curtains for minimum footprint and disruption to your building
  • Unlimited width fire curtains with a drop of up to 8 metres
  • Insulated and uninsulated designs available
  • All driven by 24V and 240V-operated motors (will work during the event of loss of mains power)
  • Easy installation
  • Delivery will take between 2 to 5 working days

Q: What is a smoke curtain and what does it do?

A smoke curtain is very similar to a fire curtain but it is designed to channel toxic fumes to a safe exit point in a building. However, unlike a fire curtain, a smoke curtain does not need side guides and doesn’t always need to drop to floor level. With the added advantage of our Twin Skin™ technology, we can design and build smoke curtains with a theoretical unlimited width.

firefighters fighting fire

Q: What is a fire shutter and what does it actually do?

Fire shutters can be seen on most commercial buildings today. They are mostly used for added security to create a versatile, visible and very strong steel wall to stop unwanted visitors entering property. The Rhino FPS™ system offers all the values of a traditional shutter but with added fire protection.

Q: Why use our Rhino FPS™ fire shutter systems?

Choosing from our range of Rhino FPS™ fire shutters has number of benefits, includi

  • Our Rhino FPST fire shutter is certified to offer four hours protection
  • We can design and build up to 7m wide and 7m high to meet your specifications
  • Choose the way it can be operated to suit you and your business
  • Rhino FPST fire shutters are stronger and can be exposed to climate conditions making them perfect for external use


Q: What is the difference between a fire curtain and an insulated fire curtain?

An insulated fire curtain has been designed to ensure it reduces the ability for heat to pass through it. An insulated curtain has undergone additional testing to ensure compliance and this is the type of curtain that councils often specify as required.

Q: Will I be able to see the fire curtain or a fire shutter once it’s installed?

Fire curtain systems are much smaller than fire shutters. If there is a void above the location where you want the fire curtain to be fixed then we will often be able to hide the head box inside that void. The side guides can be either packed up or recessed into the side walls so all you’ll see will be a vertical 5mm gap where the curtain will run up and down, from floor to ceiling.The bottom rail can be recessed into the ceiling too.

Fire shutters are a little more obtrusive by nature. These systems are much bigger and a little more difficult to hide. This doesn’t mean we cannot make them less obvious though.

Where a fire curtain head box for a single curtain is 200mm square, a fire shutter head box usually starts at 350mm square with the motor end being 550mm x 350mm. So as you can imagine, trying to hide such a large system is a little more difficult but not unachievable.

Q: Are fire curtains, smoke curtains and fire shutters expensive?

Smoke curtains are usually the cheapest to manufacture as they take less time, less steel and less man hours to manufacture and install.

Non-insulated fire curtains start to become more complicated in their manufacture. The higher the integrity, the more expensive the fire curtain material becomes so by default, the fire curtain units increase in price.

Insulated fire curtains tend to be the most expensive. On average, insulated fire curtain material is 3 times more expensive to buy than non-insulated fire curtain material. These core costs will reduce over time as more companies start to produce more of this type of material but, for now, there are very few companies worldwide that manufacture insulated curtain material.

Fire shutters are at the top end along with insulated fire curtains when it comes to price. These systems are very complicated, contain substantially more steel and require high skill levels to manufacture. By the nature of the product and its weight, installation takes roughly twice as long as a fire curtain. More equipment and trained personnel are needed too so the overall cost increases accordingly.

Q: Do fire curtains, smoke curtains and fire shutters need to be inspected on a regular basis?

The answer to this depends on how active your protection system is. If you perform a fire est every week then you really should have them inspected every quarter. Less active systems usually only need a yearly inspection to check the internal rechargeable batteries and to make sure that your system has no critical wear and tear.

However, if a system has been damaged in some way then it’s very important that your system is checked immediately.

Q: If I order a smoke curtain, fire curtain or fire shutter from K&D Systems today, how long would it take to manufacture and install?

We offer quite remarkable manufacture and installation lead times. Unlike many of our competitors, our lead times for manufacture really do start at just 3 days. Installation time depends on how many units are to be installed but it can start from as little as 4 hours. 

Q: Do K&D Systems supply your products and services outside of the UK?

In short, yes.

We regularly manufacture and supply all products to different destinations across Europe and the world. We offer full onsite training support with K&D and all product technical documentation can be found online.

We endeavor to respond to any emergency within 1 hour, night or day, 24/7 and for technical questions posed, within 5 hours, night or day, 24/7.

You will be very hard pushed to find any other manufacturer or supplier who has the same level of dedication, which is why K&D are leading the way with this new life saving technology.

Q: Do I need to supply project drawings?

If you can supply CAD drawings to us, then we will be able to quote more accurately and you might not need a site survey. This alone will save you money on the overall costs of your unit. Please note that rough drawings will only enable us to give rough prices, for an exact quotation a site survey will be required.

Don’t worry if you can’t supply CAD drawings, our in-house qualified CAD professionals will be able to cater for all your drawing requirements.

Q: What product guarantees do you offer?

All our products and services come with a full 12 month guarantee. Terms and conditions are applicable here though as for example, your unit will not be covered for accidental damage caused by a third party.

Get a free quote today

K&D Systems are experts in this field, if you require further information, advice or a free quotation please don’t hesitate to get in touch, call us today on +44 (0)191 534 3906.

6 reasons to trust K & D Systems

  1. We’re amazing value for money: all our manufacturing takes place within our plant in Sunderland.
  2. We have a team there to respond to all quotes within 24 hours.
  3. Our installation team have over 30 years’ fitting experience.
  4. We offer controlled descent and gravity fail safe systems.
  5. We are continually investing in research and development.
  6. We offer a 3 day turnaround time* on production.

*3 day turnaround time subject to certain restrictions; please ask us.

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