Increase in manufacturing activities along with improvements and repairs of existing floorings in the manufacturing units, is raising demand for better and more superior materials and solutions for the construction of industrial flooring. This, in turn, is boosting the demand for coatings, sealants, polymers, caulks, cement and asphalt additives and other construction chemicals used in floorings that are long lasting, cost-effective, and high performing. Government policies are further promoting and incentivizing use of energy saving and eco-friendly products. This will open up fresh opportunities for flooring material manufacturers, consultants, and installers to offer innovative flooring solutions that will also bring added benefits of energy conservation and sustainability.
By Seema Gupta, with inputs by Ar. Babika Goel
“The Indian Industrial Flooring industry has moved beyond preconceived notions. Ask any Industrial Flooring solution provider about the right flooring for a particular industry and he will respond that today it is all about the requirement. The modern connotation of a good industrial floor encompasses aesthetics, quick install-ability, longevity, economy, slip resistance, quality, functionality, durability, eco-friendliness, and moisture resistance,” comments Parmeet Bhalla, Managing Director – BGSB Concrete Solutions (P) Ltd.
According to him, the new trends will be polished concrete which scores over all other competing products like acid proof tiles, epoxy and polyurethane, PVC vinyl, and floor paints. The concern for eco-friendly products and durability with these flooring options will definitely create a lot of demand for polishing systems. A new trend of using polished concrete on simple grey concrete is gaining popularity. Polished concrete floor/overlay bring facility floors back to their top condition and former beauty. They revive the floors from physical and chemical damages inflicted by daily operations and traffic. Hence, for any type of flooring criteria, polished concrete scores over any other flooring system.
“I think the opportunity is immense; one needs to create a good awareness of this system, application and workmanship should be excellent. Features like durability, high abrasive strength, good light reflectivity, and anti-skid properties score over other competing products like epoxy or vinyl flooring. Major competition will come from epoxy type floors used widely in India. But once awareness increases, there would be a lot of takers for this flooring. We are very optimistic about this system. We are only looking at colour polished concrete/over lay system as a niche market product now. The path of innovation is a continuing one and best for a booming industry, such as that in India,“ avers Parmeet.
The modern connotation of a good industrial floor encompasses aesthetics, quick install-ability, longevity, economy, slip resistance, durability, eco-friendliness, and moisture resistance
Parmeet Bhalla, MD, BGSB Concrete Solutions
According to Ketan Trivedi, Sr.General Manager, Marketing at Johnson Endura, the Industrial Flooring Industry has boosted a rapid growth in India since the last two decades for various product lines like epoxy, PU, seamless floor toppings, etc. With the advent of newer technologies and specialized applications, the industry is expected to grow from 15% to 25% by 2025.
With the advent of newer technologies and specialized applications, the industrial flooring industry of India is expected to grow from 15% to 25% by 2025.
Ketan Trivedi, Sr. GM, Marketing, Johnson Endura
“The Industry has been demanding in meeting its functional requirements along with aesthetic preference in the past, however, it is more receptive now towards changing with newer and better technology versus the earlier traditional flooring preferences. The shift was quite evident as today, for instance, trendy diverse size AR tiles are being preferred over traditional and conventional acid resistant bricks. We have also witnessed a paradigm shift in the automotive workshop segment, which is shifting to heavy-duty tiles from epoxy flooring, just to avoid repetitive maintenance, idling the facility during annual repair / maintenance, and shut down costs,” says Trivedi.
Shailesh Kumar, Business Director - Flooring & Coating at Sika India, observes that the industry has witnessed an increased level of awareness and adoption of new technologies to meet demands such as speed of construction, long service life, and need for flatter floors, especially in the warehousing sector. “In addition, we are seeing increasing use of jointless floors over traditional jointed solutions for lower maintenance, reduced downtime and ease of operations. Specific sectors like F&B, FMCG and Pharma are showing increased penetration of cementitious and pure polyurethane systems, although it is recommended to go with a combination system depending on loading and exposure conditions to realize the complete value. Few high-end residential and commercial developers have also adopted resin-based overlay systems for car parks, and the penetration of new technologies will only enhance in the years to come,” he says.
Advanced Flooring Solutions
Adds Shailesh Kumar at Sika India, “Sika is the global leader in industrial flooring. In fact, we are one of the very few companies to offer the complete range of flooring products locally under one umbrella right from dry shake hardeners, liquid densification and curing products, rigid and flexible wall and floor protective finishing products, joint treatment products, high performance anti-static conductive and dissipative solutions, flexible car deck systems, etc.”
“One of the pain areas of many industrial floors is the expansion joints as it results in production loss due to regular maintenance and therefore revenues, damage to forklifts, etc. The Sika FloorJoint is a unique solution based on carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer composite prefabricated panel. This can be used for building new and for refurbishing existing floor joints, and can be grinded to match the flatness of the existing concrete floor or overlay. Also, Sika is known for the invention of EpoCem technology, which revolutionized the flooring industry globally. This moisture barrier technology for avoiding de-lamination of resin flooring, still remains the most proven technology against this perennial problem,” he adds.
Why polished concrete?
“Unfortunately, the concept of polished concrete in India is somehow stretched beyond its original strict definitions, and now covers a very wide range of applications, many of which don’t even include any grinding at all, and are limited to purely chemical impregnation of the surface by different substances to provide a temporary glossy shine rather than functional durability of the floor. That’s why contemporary Indian flooring market is urged to carefully compare all such alternatives for their technical and quality aspects as well as the life cycle economy involved in each case – you certainly get what you pay for, and a solution that seems to be cheap in the short term may come to cost extremely much more in the long run!,” he add
A solution that seems to be cheap in the short term may come to cost extremely much more in the long run,
Joakim Karlsson, Export Area Manager - Oceania & Asia, at HTC, Sweden
The company’s HTC Superfloor™ is a complete concept for polishing concrete. The method is to mechanically refine the concrete surface by removing the weaker top cement paste and expose the underlying stronger concrete, which is then polished to the desired gloss. The process is purely physical and chemicals are only used for dust-proofing and filling of pores/cracks in the slab – as opposed to some alternative methods where gloss is achieved by different substances, resulting in lower durability.
It is possible to install HTC Superfloor™ on both newly casted slabs and old existing concrete floors by grinding and polishing with HTC’s effective planetary machines and advanced diamond tools. The result is a floor with a completely flat surface, with high qualities both functional and aesthetical. For instance, on traditional industrial floors in warehouses, forklifts leave a lot of tyre marks. This new type of floor installation reduces the rubber on the floor close to zero, resulting in cleaner environment and cleaner products on the shelves.
“Depending on the combination of the level of aggregate exposure (deeper grinding exposes larger aggregate) and the intensity of final gloss (more polishing gives more shine), there are four basic versions of HTC Superfloor™: Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze. These different versions are more or less suitable for different types of facilities based on the functional aspects such as expected traffic and work load etc, as well as for the desired durability, aesthetics, finances and so on. HTC Superfloor™ is ideal for industrial environments but it is just as suitable for residential and commercial use. This floor is easy to clean, sustainable and has aesthetic qualities that reflect new architectural expressions,” adds Joakim.
The flooring is eco-friendly as the concrete consists of natural material only, has a low LCC-cost (life cycle cost), less vibrations and noise from equipment because of the flat surface, is fire proof, and has excellent electrostatic discharge properties. According to Joakim, the installation cost is similar or lower than traditional floor solutions. The need for periodic repair is very low so the life cycle cost for the floor owner is a fraction compared to other solutions. Furthermore, it also complies with international standards that are required for friction/slipperiness, wear resistance/durability, equipment vibration, flatness/levelness, fire safety and ESD (electric static discharge), etc. With the correct cleaning method, HTC Superfloor™ has an eternal life span, and when compared with traditional methods for concrete floors, or for example, epoxy and other polymers, it offers an unbeatable durability.
BGSB is one of the leading applicators of concrete flooring in India and East Africa, offering various Industrial and warehousing concrete floors and floor hardening treatment options, including high tolerance super flat concrete floors for VNA warehouses, stamped concrete flooring, polished concrete and micro topping solutions. According to the company, its Prep To Polish signature concrete polishing system developed by Substrate Technology Inc. (USA), and in India since 2010, is best suited for industrial units, retail outlets and warehousing facilities, and offers an outstanding warranty of 10 years. The polished concrete system eliminates the need for continuously replacing the floor coverings, thus making it a value for money proposition. This flooring is also becoming the preferred choice for end-users looking for no-wax / epoxy flooring options.
“Concrete floors may wear out due to multiple reasons like water logging damages, surface pressure, de-lamination, improper curing, etc., but regardless of the age, the concrete slab can be polished using the signature process,” informs Parmeet.
Polished concrete is concrete that has been treated with a chemical densifier and ground with progressively finer grinding tools. The grinding tools are progressive grits of graded diamonds and diamond polishing pads. Typically, concrete is not considered polished before 400 grit has been applied, and it is normally finished to either an 800, 1500, or 3000 grit level. The process of polishing concrete with a concrete floor grinder is similar to refinishing wood with a floor sander. Concrete grinders are used to gradually grind down the concrete surface using a combination of metal bond diamond abrasives followed by resin bond diamonds to achieve the desired shine and smoothness.
Vacuum Dewatered Flooring (VDY)
K.I. Bahadur, Structural Consultant, Kumar & Associates, suggests VDF Flooring for high abrasion and heavy-traffic movement.” He writes: VDF flooring is a flooring technique to achieve high strength, longer life, better finish and faster completion of work. In this system, the key is dewatering of concrete by vacuum process wherein surplus water from the concrete is removed immediately after placing and vibration, thereby reducing the water - cement ratio to the desired level.
After this, a system of lower mats and top mat is laid on the green concrete and attached to a vacuum pump to draw out surplus water, if any, and the concrete is left to stiffen. When the base concrete has stiffened to the point when light foot traffic leaves an imprint of about 3-6 mm, a floor hardener is applied at an even application rate of between 3-5 kg/sqmt. Any bleed water should now have evaporated, but the concrete should have a wet sheen. The concrete is then further compacted and levelled using power floater followed by finishing using a power trowel. The benefits of VDF flooring are increased compressive strength, increased tensile strength, increased abrasion resistance, minimum shrinkage and floor wraps, and decreased cement consumption. Typical application areas are warehouses, roads, sports courts, cellars, parking areas, production areas, pharmaceutical companies, and as the base floor for epoxy and PU floorings. The cost is `4-5 per sq.ft. for covering an area of more than 10,000 sqft.
Vacuum dewatered concrete should be cured like any quality concrete in order to achieve a good final result. Use curing compounds, plastic sheets or wet burlap, and all process equipment required, size of vacuum mats, length of vacuum hoses, arrangement of rails, screeds, etc, should be approved by the engineer, and the area to be concreted should be thoroughly cleaned, reinforced, checked and approved.
“The contractor has the responsibility for achieving the quality of concrete specified by controlling the concrete mixes, placing, vacuum process, finishing and curing. The concrete technician in charge must be present at the site when work is in progress. The contractor is also responsible for mix adjustments, performing necessary tests, correcting deficiencies and trouble shooting in general. He must also maintain control charts showing individual test results for aggregate graduation, slump, air content and compressive strength,” advises Bahadur.
The contractor is also responsible for mix adjustments, performing necessary tests, correcting deficiencies and trouble shooting in general. He must also maintain control charts showing individual test results for aggregate graduation, slump, air content and compressive strength
K. I. Bahadur, Structural Consultant, Kumar & Associates
All industrial floors should be protected with a coating to avoid corrosion. It is necessary to have a moisture barrier in industrial floorings. Resin based floorings should be applied after checking the moisture content of the concrete floor.
According to a report by Zion Research, global demand for concrete floor coating, valued at USD 800 million in 2014, is expected to reach around USD 1,200 million in 2020, growing at a CAGR of around 7%.
Concrete floor coating is a major aspect of construction industry and is mainly applied for the protection of concrete floors as they are not capable of taking consistent exploitation. Coatings prevent concrete floors from degradation, contamination, and provide them with good chemical resistance, besides enhancing ease of maintenance, aesthetics, durability and performance.
There is rising awareness among end-users on the benefits of applying concrete floor coatings. Epoxy, polyaspartics, including polyurethane, acrylic, etc, are key product segments of concrete floor coatings. Concrete floor coatings manufacturers have a significant impact on the value chain through a higher degree of forward integration. These companies manufacture raw materials as well as the final product for use in indoor and outdoor areas.
Flooring For Car Parks
“A car park apart from being one of the most frequented areas is also the first point of contact for the customer and the place where he forms his first impression. This holds true especially in the case of malls, hotels offices, shopping centres, apartments and commercial complexes. It thus becomes very important for the car park to look good and continue to look good for a long time to come,“ says Ashok Narayan Kate, Managing Director, Apurva India Pvt. Ltd.
He informs that in any car park, constant traffic movement creates structural movement and long-term substrate deterioration. Left uncoated, the substrate concrete will be worn smooth, creating a skid hazard. This is often exaggerated by the presence of water or air borne particles and attack from spillage of anti-freeze, battery acid, AC fluid, diesel, petrol or oil. While paver blocks and concrete may seem practical, they are neither economical nor durable in the long run given the aforementioned reasons.
A car park apart from being one of the most frequented areas is also the first point of contact for the customer as in malls, hotels offices, shopping centres, apartments and commercial complexes. It thus becomes very important for the car park to look good and continue to look good for a long time to come
Ashok Narayan Kate, MD, Apurva India Pvt. Ltd.
The company is offering Polydeck that consists of a polyurethane based coat followed by solvent-free polyurethane coating. This high performance coating is specially designed to provide clean, corrosion resistant, bacteria resistant, hardwearing, chemical and abrasion resistant floor finish. Polydeck is recommended for basement car parking, intermediate decks and exposed car decks.
Most multi-storey car parks are large areas with minimal support to allow least restriction to the passage of vehicles and maximise parking space; high dead load from parked vehicles; constant traffic and high exposure to varying weather conditions, mechanical and chemical damage. Being the first point of contact, car parks today, have a crucial role to play with regard to one’s perception of a structure. With constructions vying to match global standards they can no longer be viewed as dingy and dark places that can add no value to the structure. Lack of adequate protection can lead to weakening and degradation of the car park over a period of time. Car park degradation is caused by chlorides, carbonation, alkali silica reaction, salt crystallization, and abrasion. Under such conditions car parks can become potentially dangerous places to pedestrians as well as vehicles.
Apurva’s Polydeck is a cutting-edge coating that provides long lasting, attractive, easy to clean, seamless and impermeable surface for car park decks. Polydeck focuses on three core areas of a car park, viz structural protection, aesthetics and safety. It utilises the best coating system to provide eye-catching and light-reflective finish to otherwise gloomy car parks, and comes in a wide range of attractive colours that can be customised. Benefits are anti-skid, durability, excellent bonding to concrete, high wear resistance, and long lasting, easy to apply and low maintenance. Its excellent chemical resistance to petrol, diesel, battery acid and engine oil makes it easy to clean and maintain. The seamless and impermeable surface ensures that there are no crevices or cracks where dirt and water can accumulate. Polydeck – DR for instance, is a three component self levelling system based on polyurethane resin, especially designed to impart high mechanical strength and good chemical resistance to driveways, ramps and turning circles. The cured composition is tough, non-dusting and has excellent adhesion to concrete, and complies to ASTM C – 957.
Demand for low cost floorings of low thickness, and lack of awareness about the practise of proper flooring due to the absence of professional installers, are some of the reasons that lead to floor failures. Manufacturers should train installers to provide product education, technical assistance, and support to end-users so that floor failures can be minimized and proper flooring be provided as per client specifications. While following construction procedures, they must keep in mind the technical ramifications. Many clients demand a quick completion without meeting all the necessary technical requirements, and this leads to floor failures over a period of time.
Lack of standardization for products, the unorganised sector offering low cost, low quality products are other challenges that the industry has to contend with. Thus there is increasing emphasis being laid on sustainability with respect to flooring materials and construction processes and technologies, with quality standards becoming more stringent.
“I think the industry is driven by the transportation, logistics, warehousing, and the packaging industries, and the major demand will be coming from these sectors. It is imperative that design and execution planning for industrial flooring is considered right at the conception stage of the project to avoid future failure. Right at the outset, the client or the factory owner should clearly spell out the exact requirements of each department's flooring with respect to its usage, and this should be technically co-related to the stresses the flooring has to carry under service conditions. It should be noted that even within one industry there would be different types of floorings for different departments, and unfortunately, there is no universal industrial flooring system to meet all the requirements. The most important requirement of an industrial floor should be that it allows trouble-free and uninterrupted production. Top quality flooring should be a top priority to the industry owner,” says Bhalla
Trivedi suggests that end-users should follow the right cleaning methods for their floors. “It would be useful if the clients would take professional cleaning solutions from the manufactures so that despite the rigors of industrial use, industrial flooring tiles could retain their look for a longer period of time. Often, use of improper cleaning agents by the client damages the tiles.”
Seamless flooring systems, super-flat jointless floors, steel fibre reinforced concrete (SFRC) floors, materials such as latex, polyester, polyurethane based products and epoxy compounds, resin-based floorings, hybrid mixes, epoxy terrazzo, high strength cementitious screeds as underlays, dry-shake technology, hardening sealers, etc, along with new-gen machines such as the super fast laser screed systems guides, are changing the way floorings are being planned, designed and installed.
“However, we have to look forward to an improvement in the investment climate as industrial floorings are heavily dependent on new investments taking place in various segments in the manufacturing sector,” opines Parmeet Bhalla. “Having said that, success in the industrial flooring is closely related to how well you provide the service to the client rather than the product per se. Execution capability in providing quality solution at the committed time within the agreed parameters of the cost only determines the growth. Hence, we are concentrating on investment in adequate tools and equipment, training of workforce, and improving our capability in project management so as to meet the emerging needs of growth in the next few years. The innovations in raw-material segment such as nano-materials, pigments, additives etc, are the most exciting things happening around the world that would lead to innovative products being introduced world-wide,” he adds.
Says Shailesh Kumar at Sika India, “The Industrial Flooring industry is poised for a rapid growth driven by the Government’s ‘Make-in-India’ initiative and the proposed tax reforms like GST that will further enhance investments in the industrial and infrastructure space. The estimated market size including cementitious, liquids and resinous products has an expected annual growth rate of 15%. At present, the industry is devoid of a local standard or guideline which can be a reference point for engineers and owners to design their floors. Especially for floor finishes, the users rely on the manufacturers’ recommendation for a solution, and given the diversity of industry players, it often gets difficult for the user to arrive at the fit-for-purpose solution for their floors. In addition, cracking of concrete floors continues to be a major challenge. To have a durable flooring, it needs the attention of all the stakeholders involved right from design, specification, material and execution.”
He adds, “At a CII seminar on Industrial Flooring last year, it was discussed that a local ‘Flooring Guideline’ is being developed by ICI Technical committee and IIT Chennai. This guideline will cover design, detailing, flatness, finishes, maintenance, etc. Once introduced and as mentioned above, it will yield a significant positive impact on the industry.”
Sectors like F&B, FMCG and Pharma are showing increased penetration of cementitious and pure polyurethane systems, although it is recommended to go with a combination system depending on loading and exposure conditions to realize the complete value
Shailesh Kumar, Business Director - Flooring & Coating, Sika India
“The government has taken lot of initiatives and policy reforms for boosting the industrial growth through Make in India drive which are expected to rave up the somewhat sluggish market. From our industry point of view, since the last decade, heavy-duty vitrified tiles are being considered for industrial flooring. This is a new positive change as it offers safety, durability, sustenance and elegance. The high aspirations of the MSME segment for world-class systems is also creating a positive change in the industry, thereby boosting demand. Overall, the industry is positive of good growth given the current thrust on infrastructure development across the country,” avers Trivedi at Johnson Endura.
Johnson Endura Industrial Floor Tiles: A case study
The Indian subsidiary of Dr.Oetker, one of Europe's largest processed food brand, commenced production in September 2016 at its new state of the art manufacturing plant in Kaharani industrial area, Bhiwadi, Rajasthan. The principal company had used German tile manufacturer Argelith’s Hexalith range of fully vitrified hexagonal tiles in all its plants’ flooring areas that are subject to high concentration of wet chemicals and mechanical wear. These tiles were chosen as they can withstand the exacting demands of mechanical, thermal and chemical resistance, and exhibit extremely high resilience to acids, alkalis and friction. The vibration procedure used in their installation makes them even more hard-wearing. Plus, they are designed for fast and thorough cleaning.
However, due to budgetary constraints of importing the tiles from Germany, ENAR Consultants, the project’s architects, decided on Johnson Endura Industrial floor tiles of 300 x 300 mm and thickness of 20mm. These conform to IS: 15622 to be laid on 20mm thick cement mortar 1:4 (1 cement: 4 coarse sand). The tiles were fixed with spacer of 3mm wide and grooves/gaps were filled with grey laticrete (an epoxy stain-free grout) to contrast with the ivory grey tiles with their shimmering, smooth surface. The laying of the 80,000 sqm floor space was finished in 12 weeks.
According to Architect Dipankar Mazumdar, use of Johnson Endura tiles was not without their own share of challenges. For one, the typical problem of colour variation in tile lots of Indian manufactures was frustrating as large floors spaces made this very evident. The other problem was the lack of suitable coving solutions from Johnson at the skirting and floor corners. “These are absolutely necessary for a food industry and we had to go around this situation with a locally manufactured custom designed solution. Production has been going on for the last 6 months and despite heavy forklift and reach truck movement, no damage has been reported.”