Pushing Boundaries For The Environment
The pressures for more environmentally-friendly products to meet even higher specification requirements from architects and designers means the flooring industry must push the boundaries. Dale Banton of Sherwin-Williams Protective & Marine Coatings EMEAI examines the emerging issues for flooring technology serving fast-moving markets.
The flooring industry faces increasing pressures from the regulatory authorities and the government for environmentally-friendly products throughout the supply chain.
At the same time, the rise in complex building designs, new materials and tougher specification, brings increased expectations from architects and specifiers who want to know they can meet these new levels of compliance without compromising design and safety.
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.
The priorities of the high-tech manufacturing and industrial processing sectors are increasingly focusing on improving quality, hygiene and safety, with emphasis on creating stringently clean production environments.
When it comes to applying new or refurbished flooring or wall coatings, the requirement is to create a safer workplace for employees, reduce risk of odour or tainting in the production process while at the same time keep any disruption to working operations to a minimum.
For the food and drink industries particularly - or those sectors producing goods which rely on the highest hygiene standards - this has become a pre-requisite rather than desirable.
Each and every project presents its own specific requirements and should be considered on its own merits against a series of criteria.
These will include a full understanding of the site, the specific environment it will be applied in and what is being produced in that facility. Only then can the resin flooring solution be chosen to ensure it meets all performance needs.
Resin flooring products are by nature hard-wearing, created by mixing together a combination of materials to start a fast, controlled reaction, resulting in effective protection in heavy commercial and industrial environments.
However, in using solvents which give them their good wetting properties, there is also a presence to a greater or lesser degree of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), which have also been linked to side-effects for people working in these environments.
A breakthrough using science
In listening to our customers through our own research to understand their needs, our advances in science and technology have enabled us at Sherwin-Williams 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
We have developed a product which reduces the levels of VOCs with rapid curing and reduces turnaround times to hours rather than days. Customers also benefit from its UV stability which means no discolouring and its non-tainting properties with no lingering unwanted odours.
Sherwin-Williams is also working towards meeting Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) assessment for the range, providing a certified score of environmental sustainability while demonstrating compliance to best practice requirements.
Comprehensive and rigorous trials
For the manufacturing and industrial markets particularly the food and drink, health and pharmaceuticals industries – where hygiene must be of the highest level – this breakthrough in technology is a significant leap forward.
Comprehensive and rigorous trials of this range of products provide evidence that it is possible to meet the most challenging requirements in hygiene and durability while offering safe, easy use of handling and application of the coating.
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.
With the increasing demands for a sustainable flooring industry, and with the changing requirements of architects and designers, we must continue to find new solutions for these challenging environments.
For more information contact Sherwin-Williams, tel: +44 (0)1204 521 771 or visit http://sherwin-williams.com/protectiveEMEA