One of concrete's few downsides is the amount of waiting a contractor, and customer, must do while the concrete sets or coatings dry. Some of that waiting time is now significantly reduced, thanks to RapidShield from Epmar Corp., a subsidiary of Quaker Chemical Corp.
Special photoinhibitors in this floor coating give it the ability to harden rapidly when exposed to RapidShield's special UV light system, powered by what is known as QV Technology. The floor can accept industrial traffic within mere seconds of exposure.
"Our QV Technology refers to the chemistry working with the highly engineered lamp curing system, which is designed to deliver the specific wavelength, intensity and duration of UV light required for optimal curing of our RapidShield formulations," says Roger Chmura, North America business manager for RapidShield. "This results in the floor coating being cured instantly, turning it into a solid film which creates a very strong bond to and within the substrate."
Clearly, the fast cure time is RapidShield's key advantage. However, there are other benefits to using the coating.
During the hardening process, the coating forms a three-dimensional polymer with greater hardness and better chemical resistance than many conventional coatings that require hours or days to fully harden.
For the customer, RapidShield offers an easy-to-clean surface, stain resistance and durability. For the contractor, another of its benefits is that it has a one-component formulation, which means there is no mixing required, an unlimited pot life and a long shelf life. In addition, it is nonflammable, low in odor, and as it releases no VOCs, environmentally friendly.
RapidShield is ideal for place such as warehouses, manufacturing plants, automotive plants, parking garages, grocery stores and other areas that cannot tolerate long shutdowns or interrupted production, whether due to cure times or environmental considerations. "(It's ideal) anywhere downtime is not wanted, where a green and safe product is desired, and where the ability to have a floor that is easily cleaned and maintained is desired," Chmura says. "We are also finding customers that prefer RapidShield because of its benefits over polishing."
Although it's clearly beneficial to those who do industrial finishes, its advantages don't skip over the decorative concrete industry.
Chmura says that RapidShield is available in 23 different colors, and the company has the ability to create custom colors. One popular decorative application, he says, is logos.
WerkMaster, a concrete-preparation equipment manufacturer, recently had its logo applied to a concrete floor using RapidShield. The project was part of a RapidShield training program at All in Concrete LLC's training center, near Chicago. To start, the concrete was ground down to expose the aggregate in the existing concrete. Then a clear primer was applied, followed by a red-colored batch of RapidShield for the logo itself. The job was finished with a clear coat of RapidShield. Using one coat of color lets viewers see the aggregate through the coating, allowing RapidShield to serve as an alternative to staining.
The company is also conducting trials on a UV-cured topcoat product for some existing overlay technologies, and it hopes to release this product in the near future.
Quaker has a Chemical Management Services Division that is responsible for cutting chemical consumption, reducing maintenance associated with chemicals used in manufacturing facilities, and improving quality, environmental compliance and safety, Chmura notes. One company they provide this service for is General Motors. "We worked with our customers at GM to come up with the RapidShield formulation, which does all of the above and makes their facility 'tour ready' at all times."
He says that so far, RapidShield has been a great success. "Our performance is considered high in the areas of product performance, process application know-how, technical expertise and overall project management," he says.
RapidShield also won the 2009 Most Innovative Products contest at World of Concrete in the Placement and Finishing category, as voted on by attendees. "We have had literally hundreds of inquiries from applicators as well as dealers and end users seeking more information and to become involved in installation and/or the supply chain," Chmura says.