We spoke to Chris Robinson-Hart, R&D Manager at Amtico, about innovation and new processes at the British flooring manufacturer.
Can you tell us about Amtico and the R&D team?
Based in Coventry, Amtico is a British manufacturer of industry-leading floors. We began designing and manufacturing Luxury Vinyl Tiles (LVT) over 50 years ago and our floors are sold across the globe in over 130 countries. Our Coventry manufacturing plant produces millions of square metres of flooring every year, a testament to the global demand for the brand’s award-winning LVT. Amtico continues to work with clients in a variety of sectors, including workspace, hospitality, healthcare and education. These include the majority of the UK’s national housebuilders, high street retailers, banks, hotel and leisure chains, as well as small, independent enterprises.
At Amtico, we take great pride in leading the market for quality and design, but we must keep evolving, which is where the R&D team plays a vital role. The R&D team is responsible for determining the construction of Amtico LVT products, from the raw materials used through to the performance properties of the product on your floor. We collaborate and work closely with other areas of the business, including design, to develop new collections, products and processes.
What innovative materials or processes have been developed at Amtico?
Amtico is dedicated to creating beautiful, durable and sustainable flooring that performs well in commercial spaces. Last month, we had a patent granted in the UK for our innovative rigid wear layer technology. This toughened wear layer added several benefits to our products, such as increasing the force required to incur scratching on the surface and reducing emissions, enabling industry leading accreditations such as Eurofins Indoor Air Comfort Gold and the Finnish M1 standard to be achieved.
The rigid wear layer concept originated from an internal R&D ideas session, with a suggestion made to investigate modifying the hardness of the layer to boost scratch performance rather than just focus on the urethane coating. Initial trials showed significant improvements and we soon scaled this up to full production and submitted the patent back in 2017.
Our floors are made from several high-performance layers that are laminated together under intense heat and pressure and the toughened upper layer gives the floor excellent impact resistance. The increase in the force required to incur a scratch on our LVT will provide benefits in commercial spaces with heavy footfall. Quantum Guard Elite, which includes our patented rigid wear layer technology, is the most durable urethane coating on the market. Its reinforced low gloss finish is highly realistic and provides superior resistance against scuffs and stains.
Can you tell us how Amtico’s antimicrobial product works?
The COVID-19 pandemic affected how we view the cleanliness of the environments around us and concerns about infection will remain indefinitely. The control of bacteria is also increasingly important so in 2021, we started to roll out our new antimicrobial technology within the Marine, Form and Spacia collections. This antimicrobial protection is embedded in the form of an ionic silver additive which provides a hygienic surface where bacteria can’t multiply or survive.
How can you prove it works?
Amtico’s embedded antimicrobial technology is independently tested to the globally recognised standard, ISO 22196:2011 (Antibacterial activity of non-porous surfaces). Our products containing the additive have been proven to reduce bacteria present on the surface by more than 99.99% over a
24-hour period (tested against E-Coli and MRSA). The embedded antimicrobial provides clear benefits, but is not designed to replace cleaning and disinfection, rather it provides an additional level of protection between regular cleaning cycles.
We know how important it is to our customers that our collections provide additional peace of mind, without any negative environmental impact, so the additive is enclosed within the flooring and doesn’t leak or evaporate. All LVT products with the technology achieve the same high levels of performance against sunlight, scuffs and stains and heavy traffic that you expect from any Amtico floor.
What’s next for Amtico and LVT?
We have many other projects underway, which look to develop new products, improve existing ranges and make the things we do increasingly more efficient. Watch this space!
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