In early 2011 a multi-million rand project commenced construction on a new press shop at Volkswagen South Africa’s (VWSA) Uitenhage plant in the Eastern Cape. Once in operation the press shop will maximize the company’s vehicle output. The main criterion was that the press shop should comply with VWSA’s green initiative and therefore has been designed as the company’s most environmentally friendly building yet. This green initiative led engineering consultants, BKS Durban, to specify products from Sika’s outstanding VOC-free Sikalastic range for coating the vast floor areas.

Once basic construction was complete, the new press shop consisted of an 8 429m2 main production hall and a 6.5m deep pit for housing the press machine. At this stage of the project, Rodcol Contractors were appointed to begin application of the specified Sika products. The first phase of the project was the press pit floor, where initial preparation was carried out, followed by waterproofing and coating with Sika products. The chief prerequisite for this area was that an efficient and effective floor was constructed - aesthetic finishes not being of fundamental concern.  However, Sika flooring products are inbuilt with a professional finish.

A sand blaster was used to grit blast the new concrete substrate, followed by a single application of Sikalastic-811 HLT, a unique 100% VOC-free penetrant that produces a permanent hydrostatic barrier. Supplied in a colloidal liquid base, this high performance product is totally absorbed by concrete, penetrating up to 200mm, and can withstand a maximum of 35m of hydrostatic pressure. Sikalastic-811 HLT can be applied to the positive and negative sides of concrete structures and, because it fills the pores, voids and capillaries with an insoluble, permanent precipitate barrier, contaminants are purged to the surface for easy removal and inhibits vapour transmission to minimize outgassing, which can promote pin-holing and blisters in subsequent coatings. It acts as an effective chloride and electrolyte barrier to preserve and protect steel reinforcement.

Once waterproofed, the press pit was coated with Sikalastic-EP Primer II, a two-part, low viscosity, epoxy-polyamine resin that acts as an adhesion promoter for Sika’s pure polyurea systems. This easily applied, multi-purpose primer provides good penetration ability, high bond strength, short waiting times and resists pin holing and outgassing of porous substrates.

As a protective, waterproofing top coating with the highest abrasion resistance, Sikalastic-841 ST was machine sprayed to cover the press pit floor. This two-part, elastic, pure polyurea membrane is suitable for a wide variety of applications and its fast reactivity and curing times provide almost immediate return-to-service time. It is applicable in a wide range of temperatures, offers 100% solids with zero VOC, and provides excellent crack-bridging properties.

The second phase of the project involved coating the floor of the main production hall, including the end-of-line bolster area. A diamond grinder was used to prepare the concrete substrate, which was subsequently coated with Sikalastic-EP Primer II. This was followed with a spray-applied, stippled coat of Sikalastic-841 ST (2mm thick, medium grey).

The demarcation of the floor area was brush coated with Sikalastic-849 PA (23 x 38litres), a two-part, 100% solids, fast-curing Aliphatic aspartic pure polyurea liquid applied membrane. It offers 100% colour stability, good chemical resistance and almost immediate return-to-service time. Sikalastic-849 PA may be brush, roller or spray applied. It has various uses including architectural exterior finishes on steel or concrete, marine life exhibits, stadiums and zoos. For this project, it was used for demarcation of lines on the general floor area.

Sika is extremely proud that its eco-friendly, top quality products have played such an important role in VWSA’s new eco-friendly press shop, which was scheduled to begin operating in the latter half of 2012.