With the existing floor of its manufacturing facility failing in many places, Areva T&D – global leading provider of CO2-free energy solutions for electricity transmission and distribution – required a solution that could offer long term performance and reliability along with ease of installation to minimise disruption. The solution also had to meet the demands of the different areas of the facility. Summoning decades of experience and understanding the value of true collaboration, global building product manufacturer Sika demonstrated its game-changing floor system, Sikafloor, could meet all of the client’s requirements in a single solution.
At over 16,000 sq metres, the floor area of Areva’s manufacturing facility in Stafford is significant. Working with specialist contractor IRL, Sika demonstrated that its Sikafloor system would provide a finished floor that would be able to withstand continuous traffic and heavy loads and also provide a variety of finishes – anti-static for sensitive areas integral to Areva T&D’s manufacturing process and supremely smooth for areas where air skates are used to move extremely heavy loads. The system also met the client’s aesthetic requirements as it was crucial that different areas were identified by colour, in particular, health and safety walkways.
Sikafloor is a range of materials that includes epoxy, polyurethane and cementitious flooring materials. Cost effective, versatile and high performing, the system is suitable for a wide range of applications, including everything from warehouses to car parks. Established as an industry leading flooring surface, its hardiness and chemical resistance were ideally suited to the needs of Areva T&D.
This hardiness and longevity formed a key attraction of the innovative solution as it was essential that a long-term solution was implemented to avoid any disruptive and costly repairs in the near future. Ease of installation was also a consideration as the facility had to remain operational throughout.
For the numerous areas of Areva T&D’s estate, which is spread over three buildings, a slightly different specification of product was required. For general areas, the specification comprised of a primer of Sikafloor 161 with a Sikafloor 161 scratch coat. This was then followed by a 2mm coat of Sikafloor 263 SL.
For the areas where air skates were being used, a totally flat surface was required. Here, a Sikafloor 161 primer was used and broadcast with quartz aggregate. This was followed by a 6mm layer of Sikafloor level 30, which was pumped on site to provide a speedy method of installation, and another coat of Sikafloor 161 primer. To finish off the floor and create an ultra smooth finish, a 2mm layer of 263 SL was laid. Finished into an incredibly smooth surface it ensures the air skates, which run on a thin film of air, are able to move around efficiently without the threat of damage. The smooth surface would also limit the resistance of the flooring, reducing the compressed air requirements and thereby making the whole system more energy efficient.
For the areas where Areva T&D undertake equipment testing, an anti-static floor finish was required. Here, the specification comprised of a primer of Sikafloor 161 followed by a conductive layer including a copper tape grid. This was then followed by a layer of Sikafloor 220W Conductive and completed with a 1.5mm layer of Sikafloor 262AS. For the heavy impact areas, the specification included a Sikafloor HIMS (high impact metallic screed).
Throughout the project, IRL and Sika worked closely with Areva T&D to tackle and overcome any challenges that arose. Demonstrating their commitment to training, the installation marked one of the first projects to benefit from NVQs (National Vocational Qualification), supported by FeRFA, the Resin Floor Association, a scheme that IRL encourages its staff to undertake.
Meeting all of the client’s requirements in a single versatile system and from a single supplier, Sika has provided Areva T&D with the peace of mind that the new floor will last for decades, minimising maintenance cost whilst providing a safe environment in which to work. As the flooring will be expected to undergo the most rigorous daily usage whilst retaining its smoothness, it stands as an example of the capabilities of both IRL and Sika. A genuine team effort that is solving a challenging project, it is true testimony to hard work, good product specification, quality craftsmanship and communication.
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