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2nd HAVERKAMP symposium concerning protection from explosive attacks

It was not an easy decision, the task that Dr. John Wyatt issued to the ‘security teams’. “Decide for yourselves, the danger you want to be exposed to”, was the message given to the participants by the renowned British expert for the prevention of bomb at-tacks, whilst the group divided itself up into smaller groups and set themselves the task. At the international symposium “Explosions – consequences and protection” run by HAVERKAMP, the German security systems company, the path that the participants tread follows real-world conditions.

How a conference hotel prepares itself for spontaneous presidents:


2nd HAVERKAMP symposium concerning protection from explosive attacks

The task set for those responsible for security in large international companies, for specialists at the State Criminal Investigation Department offices as well as the Federal Criminal Investigation Department (BKA), security consultants and specialist journalists: To secure the Arosa hotel resort in the Brandenburg town of Bad Saarow quickly and efficiently so that, on a spontaneous visit, the president of the USA is protected against possible 100 kg ANFO car bomb, as well as against 10 kg of RDX plastic explosive in a backpack left in front of the conference hotel. And although it is only a hypothetical situation, the 100 symposium participants were focused in such a way on the safe distance calculations communicated earlier by Dr. John Wyatt, that in the planning of subsequent building shell security checks, car blockade calculations and the allocation of the security forces, it was as if the president were actually going to be standing in their conference hotel within a few hours.

Issuing his assessment on the security situation in Ger-many within a few hours after completion of this practice exercise within the scope of the HAVERKAMP symposium, the president of the Federal Criminal Investigation Department (BKA) Jörg Ziercke, said “International terrorism is the largest overall challenge for the security au-thorities”. Germany is in no way excluded from the threat, stressed Ziercke, since the year 2000 alone, the detection authorities in Germany have been able to prevent seven concrete attacks. The BKA chief was able to give the participants of the HAVERKAMP symposium a deep insight into the current situation in which “more and more prevention and education” is demanded: “The traditional distinction between internal and external security is blurred.”

“Explosion - consequences and protection” - another real life practice module: The symposium participants gazed silently and reverently at a wooden cone, standing a good one metre high and 40 centimetres in diameter, on the former military airfield at Sperenberg in Brandenburg’s “no man's land”. Its contents: 100 kg of TNT, which HAVERKAMP GmbH shall ignite, overseen by the Federal Office for Material Testing, who operates the explosives area as a test site.
At a distance of only 25 metres from the explosives, the company from the Westphalian city of Munster set up the first of three experimental shelters - a container with three windows: The special explosion-resistant BLASTWIN® window made of aluminium, which withstands pressure waves both when open and closed. When open, the window is closed by the pressure wave and does not allow the dangerous excess pressure into the room.
In addition to this, the wooden window which is resistant to explosive effects is categorized in the WK3 resistance class. This means that the shock wave is completely absorbed and its window pane, a special explosive-resistant ISO glass, does not allow any departing glass fragments to enter the room.
Likewise at this 25-metre distance: The specially assembled supplementary-attached frame inside the room is made from the extremely shock proof and pressure wave resistant PROSECURAL ® ANTIBLAST plastic. PROSE-CURAL ® ANTIBLAST captures both completely the shock wave and the dangerous glass fragments. The frame itself is made of metal and is screwed onto the original framework using rivets and bolts.

A few meters behind, at a distance of only 40 metres from the source of the explosion, another specially equipped HAVERKAMP window is fitted as an experimental setup in a second container: Two windows are equipped with the four-layer PROFILON ® ER1, but with different bondings to the frame - in one case an explosive-resistant silicone, and in the other an additional fastening bar. Both solutions attain GSA Level 2. The shock wave has been impeded. No glass fragments find their way into the room.
With a brand new inhouse development, HAVERKAMP coated a liquid fragment protection paint onto the other window in this experimental setup. OPALFILM® liquid film with integrated glass fibres, also GSA Level 2, is used in those fields where no security film can be used, e.g. in explosion-exposed machine halls in which textured window glass is used.
In order to demonstrate what doesn’t work, for the detonation, the next window in the experimental setup was equipped only with a 115 μ thick protective layer against the glass fragments, bonded to the frame with an addi-tional fastening bar in order to avoid the film getting off.
What will happen is clear from the start: This film will not withstand the experiment and will be completely destroyed by the shock wave. There is no protective effect. Dangerous glass fragments reach far into the interior space and would lead to serious injuries for the people in the area. Even an optimum bonding to the frame does not prevent the shock wave from penetrating into the interior space, as the film does not have enough strength, nor does it have sufficient elasticity that can only be gener-ated through a multilayer laminate such as PROFILON® ER1 or AXA1.

Another experimental setup was carried out on this day. Also at a distance of only 25 metres from the 100 kg of TNT, HAVERKAMP set up a special concrete container which has been developed as an observation and safe container and which is resistant both to the effects of ex-losion and to penetration. On this container, the supplementary-attached glass BLASTSHIELD®, which is resistant both to the effects of explosion and to penetration (up to BR6 and sniper) is attached in front of the window on elastically mounted buffers. The blast wave does not destroy the pane, which in turn protects the underlying window. Neither glass fragments nor the pressure wave reach the room. This solution also attains GSA Level 2.

On this sunny morning, the chief explosions officer’s request to keep a safe distance of at least 300 metres has been followed by the 100 tense symposium participants without hesitation. 300 meters; still close enough to the chest to clearly feel the pressure wave of the detonation. Glittering bright red, a fire ball stretching approx. 50 metres rose from where the wooden cone formerly stood. A deep breath - but not for long. Until the explosive specialists from the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing had completely secured the area around the detonation, Dr. John Wyatt captivated the audience’s attention. As an Officer in the British armed forces, at the end of the 80’s he investigated the Lockerbie attack among other things. On the explosion site today, he demonstrated the effect of quite small explosive devices, including letter bombs, to the amazement and astonishment of the onlookers. Live and direct, so that in front of their own eyes, the conference participants are once again vividly guided by the speaker’s comments.

Among others, HAVERKAMP had invited the graduate engineer, Caroline Kranzer from the Fraunhofer Institute
for High-Speed Dynamics, Ernst-Mach-Institut. On the first day of the conference, she explained how explosions can be simulated in the socalled shock tube, as well as the calculation formulae and norms that result. The other specialist speaker, Security Consultant Steve Holland gave a presentation on protecting vehicles against explo-sive attacks and staged concrete real-life examples. Prof. Dr. Norbert Gebbeken, professor for structural building at the Bundeswehr University in Munich, dealt with the secu-rity and securing of buildings at the HAVERKAMP symposium. He illustrated that, although the pressure wave of a detonation could exceed concrete load capacity by up to 7000 times over, there are physical ways to protect buildings.
Marieluise Henneberg, sales director of the security technology division of HAVERKAMP, provided the symposium participants with solutions - particularly solutions for the sustainable structural security of buildings against the consequences of explosions, attacks and unwanted intru-sions. Henneberg: “Our PROFILON® ER1 is the only explosion-resistant security film which has been success-fully tested in accordance with the European standard DIN EN 13541 NS. Even the tests that we carry out here during the symposium, correspond to the American / English GSA Level 2: No departing glass fragments, no pressure in the room.”

Two days of intensive dealing with explosions, their consequences and protection against them. After the symposium, Bernhard Haverkamp, a member of the Manage-ment Board of HAVERKAMP GmbH, Bernward Altmeppen and Ulrich Weynell, Managing Directors of HAVERKAMP and Marieluise Henneberg were very happy about the development of the second HAVERKAMP symposium dealing with this topic. This is not only because the special HAVERKAMP products withstood the 100 kg of TNT in the real-life practical test. “There are more reasons to be satisfied,” smiled Marieluise Henneberg: “After all, in case of a potential visit of the American President he would have been optimally protected.”

Writer: Silke Gärtner | Matthias Cieslak