Durban factory rolls out new rubber flooring products

22 May 2019 | Web Article Number: ME201914636

Import / Export
Occupational Health
Plastics & Rubber

AFTER more than two years of developing an innovative range of rubber flooring and paving products made from recycled truck tyres, Van Dyck Floors is ramping up production at its Durban plant for both the local and export markets.

CEO Mehran Zarrebini said that rubber flooring – which includes rubber tiles, pavers and interlocking mats – had up until recently only been available overseas where it was used extensively in high traffic and high risk areas such as old age homes, children’s playgrounds and gym and sporting facilities.

The company brought in a limited range of moulds and sampling machinery more than two years ago to create prototypes and investigated a number of products for residential, commercial and industrial use. The resulting products, which included standard tiles and pavers as well as innovative products such as a flexi-grids for embankment rehabilitation was well received.

At the end of 2018, it invested in and commissioned more sophisticated equipment to more than double production capacity and extend its product portfolio in preparation for the roll of out of this new flooring application during the first half of 2019.

Zarrebini said the company initially investigated the manufacture of rubber flooring products to both grow and diversify the Van Dyck product offering and utilize the substantial amounts of rubber crumb produced by sister company, Mathe Group, which recycles radial truck tyres in nearby Hammarsdale.

“Van Dyck Floors is striving to be the leading producer of innovative recycled rubber products in South Africa. We are passionate about protecting our planet and ensuring sustainable living solutions by upcycling waste into innovative products. Our paving and flooring products are designed to be practical, safe, stylish and durable whilst providing the quality that is associated with the Van Dyck brand,” he said.

Although new to South Africa, Zarrebini said this type of flooring has been tried and tested in Europe, Canada and America over the past two decades.

“While products manufactured from waste tyres offer many advantages and features, a major benefit is their contribution to waste and landfill reduction. Because waste tyres degrade slowly in landfills, they have a long-term negative impact on the environment.”

Van Dyck’s rubber flooring is manufactured using a vulcanizing process that results in an extremely tough and durable product.

Zarrebini said that during the development phase the formulation of these products was perfected. They are now manufactured in much the same way as laminate or vinyl flooring using two layers.

The under layer comprises larger rubber crumb that provides for comfort underfoot and good drainage while the upper layer is made from much finer rubber crumb to create an attractive strong wear layer that is easy to maintain.

“From the outset, we quickly realised that this was a far safer alternative to concrete or brick paving, cement floors and decking for patios, roof gardens, roof terraces, balconies as well as playgrounds and the surrounds of pools and Jacuzzi’s.

“It conforms to international safety standards for both wet and dry pedestrian walkways and pathways. Rubber flooring prevents falls from occurring in the first place and, in the event of a fall, also cushions and reduces the impact, preventing serious injuries,” he said.

Because rubber flooring products do not crack under force, they can be bent and handled without breaking, making them quicker, easier and cheaper to transport and install. They are also flexible enough for use on uneven surfaces without the risk of breaking.

As these products are made from rubber, they do not absorb oil or contaminants. Any spills can be easily wiped up or hosed down, leaving no staining. Rubber paving also reduces dust emissions and noise.

Zarrebini said the company is already producing an extensive portfolio of products. These include 500mm x 50mm rubber and 1 000mm x 1 000mm rubber tiles and 200mm x 100mm rectangular pavers as well as dog bone pavers, interlocking i–mats and honeycomb mats and edgings and trimmings that allow for neat finishing.

The thickness of products ranges from 20mm to 50mm and they are available in black, grey, redwood and green.

These products will be manufactured by Van Dyck Floors and distributed directly by the company as well through associate company, Masterfibre.

Zarrebini is confident that he will be able to open up a whole new flooring category in South Africa using innovative and well targeted online and social media marketing to educate consumers.

He is also already exploring export opportunities as he says these products can be made in South Africa at an extremely competitive price.

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