Last year we were approached by a customer in crisis. This young company’s main service is laying indoor and outdoor stone carpets, which are an excellent alternative ground covering in living and office areas as well as around pools and for courtyards and patios. Demand for this innovative flooring option was high, but due to global supply restrictions, the critical synthetic resin needed to bond the small, coloured stones became unavailable.
The synthetic resin in critical demand are polyurethane resins, which are widely used for manufacturing flexible and rigid foams, fibres, and coatings with a wide range of applications, including the automotive industry. In the coatings and construction industry polyurethane resins are mostly used to protect metal substrates, concrete flooring, and wood.
The pandemic has disrupted many businesses in 2021, and the coatings and construction market is no exception. The supply chain was suffering from high costs and shortages in the freight industry and force majeures and high demand restricted the availability of raw materials. Polyurethane resins were among the raw materials affected.
To help our customer, we needed to find a substitute using alternative resins or raw materials not affected by global shortages.
Valuable partnerships and expertise
We contacted our principal suppliers for help. They suggested utilising cutting edge polyaspartic resin technology as a possible avenue we could pursue. At our laboratory in Lyon we tested a range of possible formulations until we found a solution with comparable mechanical and ageing properties that was just as strong.
After extensive testing, it transpired that our new formulation was even better than the original.
Processing is easier as it is less viscous, it works well at low temperatures and has a shorter curing time, which means it can be applied in a broader range on weather conditions. The new solution is also solvent free, making it easier to work with and more environmentally friendly.
Innovation fosters continuity
“The availability of the product for these technologies remains difficult. But we managed to deliver and ensure the business future of our customer.” Claude Delabeye Coatings & Construction, Textile, Paper Business Unit Manager
The new formulation we developed for our customer has ensured the continuity of its business. Indeed, due to the productivity improvements and environmental benefits achieved, it offers opportunities for the customer's business to expand further.
The global raw material shortage, widely seen as constraining, created the perfect opportunity to develop new and innovative formulations for the construction industry. This supply crisis has also strengthened our partnerships with both customers and suppliers.