Designers and cruise buyers often feel like there’s always a compromise between environmental considerations and costs when developing or working with products created for maritime and shipping markets. Unfortunately, for a very long time, sustainability has not been a priority over durability and cost-effectiveness. This approach, however, has been changing due to recent global sustainability initiatives.

One of the best examples of these changes is probably the implementation of environmental principles by Sika, a specialty chemical company with a leading position in the development and production of aesthetic deck coverings, acoustic flooring solutions, bonding, sealing and reinforcing products for many market segments including maritime. Sika has made its mission to convert the environmental compromise into a balance. Here, sustainability and durability are paramount and there is no need to sacrifice either quality or eco-friendliness.

Want to learn more about this innovative flooring supplier? Dive into The World of Sika Marine.

Innovation with a focus on flooring for the cruise industry

A central area of sustainability-related innovation comes in the flooring division of Sika. More specifically, the focus falls on the majority of the Sikafloor® Marine-500 product range. For this product, Sika has developed a new way of creating polyurethane resins called “Purform”.

This development came primarily to provide additional health and safety measures to the users of many products designed for the maritime industry. This impacts mostly, but not limited to, Sikaflex®, SikaTack®, and Sikafloor® Marine. This new manufacturing process reduces the monomer count, allowing professional installers to minimise exposure while maximizing their output and safety when undertaking marine flooring jobs. This new process also aligns with more recent EU regulations.

SIKA has gone beyond the required regulations by ensuring their products have one of the lowest counts of harmful chemicals. This means that all newly developed and the majority of SIKA’s marine flooring products have less than 0.1% monomeric diisocyanates. The following marine floor models – Sikafloor® Marine-560, -595, -590, -599, -504, and -505 are fully compliant with these strict regulations.

In addition to that:

  • The sealers and topcoats are all water-based, free of harmful solvents.
  • All products have ultralow VOC emissions – directly related to indoor air quality.
  • Help is provided to obtain LEED, BREEAM, DGNB, and Green building certifications
  • No CMR based substances are emitted.

Another advantage is that all materials used are bio-based, and in the case of marine floor model SFM560, the raw materials are recycled.

Further advances in the flooring installation and maintenance process

Another important feature is that Sika’s marine flooring products are simple to install. Also, the materials have an uncomplicated maintenance routine with easy topical recoats, simple re-sanding of synthetic teak decks to look like new, replacement and resurfacing of a new base layer or only topcoat – meaning that there is no need to remove the entire floor panel. The advantage here is that Sika can easily apply multiple layers in one day with the latest Sikafloor® Marine booster technology. Therefore, this saves time and fuel with less back and forth travel to the job sites. This speeds up delivery and allows projects to stay within budget. The materials are also lightweight, which makes them ideal for cruise ships and helps save on fuel during transportation. These marine floors are highly durable and have a long life expectancy. This means that they do not need to be refurbished frequently.

Sika’s marine floors are highly durable and have a long life expectancy

More research and more eco-friendly options for Sika’s marine flooring products

All Sika’s higher-end products, such as the Sikafloor® Marine Deco Comfort + and Sikafloor® Marine Deco Comfort Marble FX, now have reduced exposure and usage of monomeric di-isocyanates, while at the same time they remain aesthetically pleasing products. Don’t let the looks fool you, as the performance of this flooring is one of the best in the world.

As Sika continues its research, it will introduce innovations like Sikafloor® Marine-560. This ultra-low weight levelling compound is ideal for both internal and external usage. Combine that with Sikafloor® Marine-595, a synthetic teak compound with innovative cool technology and you will get a perfect, durable, ultra-lightweight flooring suitable for high heat locations.

SIKA marine flooring contains Sikafloor® Marine-595, a synthetic teak compound with innovative cool technology making it suitable for high heat locations

Local sustainable production of Sika’s marine flooring range

All of Sika’s SFM – 500 series products are proudly made in Sika’s local production facility in the Netherlands (no outsourcing). Their production uses only renewable green electricity. This helps Sika to maintain its high quality, continue to research and develop locally, and contribute to the local economy.

Final thoughts

We know that there is still a lot to be done to achieve full sustainability in the shipbuilding industry. The good news is that leading companies whose agenda now includes a well-developed sustainability roadmap have been recently making substantial steps. Sika is undoubtedly one of the companies who are actively incorporating environmental considerations into their product development process. Sika’s sustainability policy further outlines the steps they are taking.

Refresh your knowledge, source suppliers for your next project, and connect with representatives from world-leading cruise lines at Cruise Ship Interiors Expo America. Find out all about the next event here.