The world's toughest floor – the story so far.
Some 50 years ago, in the late 1960's, in Huddersfield, England, the plant engineers at ICI's chemical and dyeworks were facing a major headache. The aggressive chemicals they were using were destroying their concrete floor within months. Several potential solutions had been tried without success. So, finally, the chemists at ICI took matters into their own hands and developed a new, revolutionary, polyurethane concrete floor system, Ucrete. The world's toughest floor was born.
Having proven its success in the harshest of the environments in their own plant, ICI, first patented the technology, and then commercially launched this unique flooring system as the problem-solving solution for chemical, impact and heat resistant, hygienic flooring for the food and beverage manufacturing industries, industrial and commercial kitchens and food preparation areas, pharmaceutical, and chemical production plants.
From these humble beginnings, Ucrete has become a global success story. A pivotal part of BASF's Master Builders Solutions' Performance Flooring product offer since 1997, Ucrete is now manufactured in the UK, USA, S.E. Asia, Middle East and China. It has become the product of choice, with clients as diverse as tobacco processors and cigarette producers in Indonesia, India & China, soft drink plants & breweries in Africa & Europe, dairy, poultry and food producers across the Middle East. Many of the installations have proven continuous service of greater than 20 years.
New product systems, all based on the original, unique polyurethane concrete, "U-Crete" concept, have been introduced to offer end user clients a wide range of additional properties including: defined slip resistance, anti-static / static dissipation, aesthetic appeal, and fast return to service. Special grades for vertical application for coves, gullies, drains and renders are available, while the latest formulation offer applicators improved, easier, time serving installation.
So what makes Ucrete the world's toughest, and most admired floor?
- The unique, dense, cross linked structure of the cured resin system imparts the exceptional chemical and high temperature resistance of Ucrete. Unlike cold cured epoxy systems which typically exhibit a heat distortion temperature in the mid-60's °C. Ucrete UD 200 at 9mm can, for example, withstand thermal shock and temperatures to 140°C – essential in many food procession and chemical industries.
- The high mechanical strength, bond strength, and yet, relatively, low E modulus of the installed Ucrete floors provide unmatched abrasion, impact and crack resistance and shatter proof properties, significantly better than epoxy, pmma and many tiled floor systems. (Click here to watch Ucrete Destruction Challenge Video).
- Unlike many inferior copies, Ucrete uses no plasticisers or solvents, to create a cured floor with very low emissions, confirming to international standards such as AgBB in Germany, AFSSET in France (A+ for emissions) and MI in Finland. In fact, Ucrete is one of the very, very few systems that has been rated non-tainting for foodstuffs directly from the end of the site mixing process. Many alternatives systems require the removal of foodstuffs and sensitive ingredients during installation and for up to 7 days after completion – a significant downtime cost in refurbishment projects!
- The temperature resistance, chemical resistance and impermeability of the cured Ucrete floor systems allow the use of the steam wand and CIC cleaning systems. Independent testing has proven that Ucrete can be cleaned to the same hygiene level as stainless steel making it the obvious choice in the areas where hygiene is of paramount importance. Ucrete was one of the earliest receivers of the renowned HACCP International Food Safety Certification Program.
- Finally, being applied as a liquid material, the final, cured floor topping is completely seamless and an integral part of the structural floor, totally eliminating the problems of dirt collection and in tile joints and under debonded, or broken tiles.
From the outset, the special physical properties of the mixed material, meant that only trained and approved applicators were allowed to install these systems. This continues to be the case today, providing clients with total confidence, that their investment in their vital production facilities is sound.
So, there you have it, the Ucrete story; 50 years and still going strong, with a track record, fully supporting our claim, that when performance really matters, the world's smartest engineers and developers, choose UCRETE floor systems from BASF.
Marketing Manager, Middle East: GCC and Saudi Arabia