Suspected exposure to isocyanate started the development of a new glue solution for the bathroom element production of Parmarine Oy.
A few more tiles for the base and everything is ready. Tiler Ilona Salama spreads new Kiiltoflex FP 1000 glue on the wall of a bathroom element of 6 m2. It has been ordered for an apartment block being constructed at Lahti, Finland.
“This is a quick and ready-made glue. You can start seaming almost immediately,” says Salama.
There is also another reason for her satisfaction. Although Kiilto’s earlier 2-component polyurethane glue has excellent qualities and is still used in robot work on bathroom tiles at the factory, its hardening agent was suspected to expose employees to isocyanate in a cramped space where the air does not change much. Now this danger has been removed.
Parmarine’s production manager Joona Jäntti is satisfied with the end result of the product development.
An alternative to personal protection
An expert from the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health made measurements at Parmarine a few years ago and recommended the use of a motorised fresh air mask for those employees working on bathroom elements. In addition to the employees adding the tiles, the electricians and installers of fixtures who worked in the freshly tiled spaces were also in risk of exposure.
“However, it’s unpleasant to use personal protection all day long. An alternative had to be found to remove the exposure to isocyanate,” says Joona Jäntti, Parmarine’s head of production.
Parmarine posed a challenge to its long-term supplier Kiilto, which got to work developing an entirely new solution. The new product’s qualities had to be comparable to the earlier product found to be good. It must not run, and the open time had to be sufficient to prevent the glue from drying before the tiles are added. The glue also had to be easy to spread.
Tilers involved in development work
Kiilto’s product development team sought out new raw materials from the world and made different trial versions. Parmarine participated in the development work by testing the glues of trial batches and collecting feedback on them from its tilers. The opinion of the users had a great weight in determining the qualities of the final product.
“The employee is the most important link in this chain. If the glue doesn’t work, it slows down work and hinders productivity,” adds regional manager Juha Räisälä from Kiilto.
The new tile adhesive provided by Kiilto accounts for about 80% of the adhesive Parmarine uses for manual tiling.
Joona Jäntti appreciates the cooperation with Kiilto and the end result achieved.
“This was an excellent project, since we reached our aim, and our employees are no longer exposed to isocyanate. In addition to this, the one-component product is trouble-free because there is no need to mix it and it doesn’t generate glue waste. Seaming can start as soon as the tiles are glued. We were able to fix many things in one go.”
Products change according to customers’ needs
Räisälä emphasises meeting the needs and wishes of the customer in product development.
“We always aim at responding to customers’ requests. When customers’ equipment and methods are changing, this creates a need for different kinds of products. For instance, if a stiffer, quicker or slower glue is called for, we listen to the customer and adjust the product as well as possible.”
Manufacturer of installation-ready bathroom elements and fireproof doors for ships
- The bathroom elements are delivered mainly to apartment blocks and row houses, hotels, assisted-living facilities and patient rooms of hospitals
- Approximately 300 employees in modern factories located in Finland
- Turnover MEUR 41 in 2015
- The main market areas are Finland and Norway, and increasingly also Sweden
- The company is owned by Eastern Pretech PTE Ltd, which is part of the international NSL Group