Padded flooring is designed for maximum underfoot support and increased durability, extending the life expectancy of conventional floor tiles by as much as 50%. The enhanced versatility of cushion-backed flooring makes it an attractive solution for a range of markets, including commercial offices, homes, public buildings, and even sports fields. This cushioning is manufactured in high volumes from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polyurethane (PU), but the process is aggressive and poses several challenges.
Producing cushioned flooring involves the curing of a PU/PVC formulation at extreme temperatures while on a conveyor. Intermediary processing aids are usually placed between the belt and the product, to maximize release and ensure that derived products are defect-free. It is crucial that these substrates can withstand the aggressive thermochemical conditions of the heating zone, and that they promote the optimal release to minimize material waste and maximize throughput.
VERSIV™ PTFE Belts in Padded Flooring
Typically, the cushioning of padded flooring is produced in a roll-to-roll process where a liquid PU/PVC formulation is conveyed through a hot zone. It cures at temperatures approaching 260C, then is stripped from the belt and prepared for post-processing. The total process length can extend up to 30 meters, and the conveyor will run continuously for numerous formulation doses.
A trusted customer of ours approached us with productivity issues in their manufacturing pipeline. They were spending inordinately on replacement belts which succumbed to sticking and general degradation. We worked closely with them to develop a proprietary PTFE belt with enhanced release properties, greater thermomechanical durability, and inherent thermal stability at working temperatures. The solution was a novel PTFE belt that increased the average belt life by 50%, significantly reducing downtime and maximizing productivity.