Going green with flooring adhesives
With worldwide ecological and environmental issues bearing down hard on the flooring industry, all aspects of flooring materials in terms of manufacture, supply and installation now come under close scrutiny by architects, designers, contractors and end-users as they seek to ‘go green’. Perhaps the biggest challenge in installing carpet and resilient floor coverings has been in providing environmentally-friendly adhesives which have traditionally used alcohol, glycol, methanol, ammonia (with their associated hazardous vapours) in their manufacture. This problem has now been solved by virtue of Smoothedge’s introduction of its Earthbond range, comprising a revolutionary solvent-free acrylic bond adhesive that contains only very low levels of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and none of the aforementioned substances; and Earthtac PSA – a pressure-sensitive adhesive with the same beneficial qualities. Earthbond offers a total solution to the potential hazards commonly associated with traditional floorcovering adhesives in that it does not contribute to “sick building syndrome” and is suitable for hospitals, retirement homes, hotels, office blocks and restaurants where hazardous vapours may present potential health risks. With other carpet and resilient flooring adhesives containing anything up to 60 grams per litre of VOC content, Earthbound is even more compliant with less than 10 grams per litre in its final form. (Local adhesives are solvent-based and contain high quantities of Volatile organic compounds). Earthbond is the only water-based adhesive for carpet and vinyl installations in South Africa. Use of this adhesive improves air quality, causes fewer (if any) health problems and emits little odour during installation (becoming odourless when dry). As a water-based acrylic adhesive, the product is solvent-free and provides outstanding adhesion to the substrate. Smoothedge is a member and keen supporter of the Green Building Association. Testimony to its success in this area is the fact that a number of leading banks aiming to achieve ‘Green Building’ status specify the use of the environmentally-friendly adhesive, Earthbond. The company’s second “green” adhesive, Earthtac PSA, has been developed as a pressure-sensitive adhesive with low VOC content. Manufactured to the highest quality standards, it is used widely by the likes of banks, furniture stores and exhibitions centres. It can be brushed or rolled on and remains permanently tacky after flash-off, whilst providing an excellent hold. Providing a broad range of customers with solutions for all their fitting needs is one of the primary aims of Smoothedge as a company, and its commitment to the greening of its products and environment enhance its reputation amongst its client base.
Smoothedge now has its own environmentally-friendly powder coating plant.
Recently-comissioned by Smoothedge is a fully-automated and non-chromate cleaning system – one of the first in the world. Powder coating is the world’s fastest-growing finishing technology, applying decorative and protective finishes to a wide range of metal parts. The powder used in this process is a mixture of finely ground particles of pigment and resin which is sprayed with a special spray gun that electrostatically charges the powder. The charged powder adheres to the electrically-grounded parts and is heated and fused into a smooth coating in a curing oven. The result? A uniform, high-quality smooth and attractive finish that is highly durable, scratch and chip resistant. Thanks to the powder coating plant, Smoothedge now has the ability to powder coat in a variety of colours, glosses, textures and base resins for a broad selection of coating properties. Providing a non-polluting and high-quality finish for industrial and consumer products, Smoothedge’s powder delivery system was designed in-house by its mechanical engineer and is a fully-automated system designed and built to ensure maximum coverage on all profiles.
Now one of the only finishes in the world to offer a non-toxic aluminum conversion coating
Giving substance to its status of being a pioneer and leader in its field is Smoothedge’s new ability to provide a truly effective, non-chromate process for the cleaning and pre-treating of aluminum, magnesium and zinc alloys prior to powder coat and painting. In addition to being extremely effective, it’s an environmentally-safe and hazard-free process compared to traditional chromate conversion systems – cleaning and conditioning the substrate of the alloy through a non-toxic method resulting in quality finishing, adhesion and long-term resistance to corrosion. Unlike chromate treatments (which tend to dry and crack at temperatures above 65.5°C), non-chromate conversion coating remains hydrated in temperatures of up to 350°C. What’s more, it provides a visual indication of the successful coating of one’s product and identifies areas that may require additional attention. The result is a superior quality end-product. The process is fully-compliant with the American Society for Testing and Materials specifications for non-hexavalent chromium conversion coatings.