The improvements in science and technology are enabling new breakthroughs for the fastmoving markets in resin floorings. Dale Banton of Sherwin-Williams Protective and Marine Coatings EMEAI examines the issues.
With the rapid changes in complex building design, new materials and tougher specification, we must continue to push the boundaries to meet these challenges. At the same time, there is increasing pressure from regulatory authorities and the government for sustainable products throughout the supply chain. Architects and specifiers want to know they can meet these new levels of compliance with the relevant products, without compromising design and safety.
For the flooring industry, the use of epoxy and polyurethane resins for industrial and commercial premises makes concrete exceptionally durable and offers robust protection, especially for food and beverage and pharma environments.
Of the diverse range and types of resin floorings, the nature and chemistry of most of these products makes them amongst the easiest and most reliable resin flooring materials to mix and apply on site, providing a durable industrial flooring system that can last for many years.
However, in using solvents which give them good wetting properties, there is also a presence to a greater or lesser degree of VOCs, which have also been linked to ‘sick building syndrome’ where there are known to be side-effects for people working in these environments.
In essence, VOCs can be natural or man-made chemicals which vaporise at low temperatures – a process known as volatility – and evaporate into the air in an enclosed area where they can cause a range of symptoms to people working in them.
There has been much debate about how damaging to a person’s health VOCs can be. They are not known to be toxic but certainly undesirable for those working at close quarters where they are found. Listening to our customers, and through our own research to understand their needs, our advances in science and technology have enabled us to meet even higher project specifications, with a dramatic effect on the levels of solvents used.
The result is the Elladur range, which represents a breakthrough for the industry, and our customers. Created by a specialist team of chemists, this takes the very best of polyaspartic technology – enabling fast curing of the coating – to new levels making it easier and safer for applicators and allowing fast return to service These products also meet Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) assessment, providing a certified score of environmental sustainability while demonstrating compliance to best practice requirements.
For the first time in the flooring industry, a product has been developed which reduces the levels of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) with rapid curing but also reduces turnaround times to hours rather than days. Customers also benefit from its UV stability which means no discolouring from its non-tainting properties with no lingering unwanted odours.
BREAKTHROUGH IN TECHNOLOGY
Using our own testing laboratory on-site, we have pushed these products through the most stringent technical and mechanical requirements. This has included tests for abrasion to assess wear and tear, and adhesion trials for performance, generating measurable data for all relevant characteristics.
For the manufacturing and industrial markets – those sectors producing goods which rely on the highest hygiene standards including food and beverage and pharma – this breakthrough in technology represents a significant leap forward.
Comprehensive and rigorous trials of this range of products provide evidence that it is possible to innovate and meet the most challenging requirements of design and specification, without compromising hygiene and durability with safe handling and application of the coating.