Sustainability in industrial products
Buitink Technology finds it important to give extra inputs to sustainability of the society and the environment on top of the minimum requirements by law, already imposed by the government.
Besides certain obvious and easy to reach internal measures (as for example separation of wastes, saving lighting, digital treatment of documents etc.) we focus on the following main points:
- Reuse/ recycling of PVC coated polyester fabric
- Reuse/ recycling of ETFE foil
- Development of sustainable products
PVC coated polyester fabric
Often we (and other companies) use PVC coated polyester fabric (PVC fabric) for various products. Think about covering canvas, truck canvas, tents, tensed membranes etcetera.
Example of the different layers of a PVC coated polyester fabric
PVC fabric is widely used for several reasons:
- Relatively low costs;
- Sustainability (many products that are realized from this product are based on a lifetime superior to 10 years or even permanent);
- High availability;
- Numerous colors available;
- Various surface treatments possible (dirt repulsive, fire resistant etc.);
- Easy to process and to print on.
Besides PVC fabric we also use ETFE foil. Usually, the ETFE foil is used in air-cushion roofs. These are permanent constructions (there are ETFE air-cushion roofs that are more than 25 years old).
Also, residual material and cutting wastes from ETFE (ethyl tetra fluoro ethyleen) foil processing, are granulated and returned to the producer for recycling. As ETFE foil is a homogenous product (and not a composite) there cycling process itself is much simpler than the Texyloop process; the ETFE foil is granulated and again extruded to make new ETFE foil.
Besides the recycling of ETFE foil, we have plans to use ETFE foil as raw material that is produced in an environmentally friendly way.
This environment-friendly production method of ETFE granulate soon will be presented by the producer Dyneon. They have introduced a production process free of APFO (ammonium perfluoroctanat).
The first ETFE foil has already been produced with this technique and we are testing the properties of the foil (e.g. on load-bearing capacity, the feasibility of printing etc.).
The producer confirmed that the properties of the ETFE foil have remained the same (sustainability, fire behavior, and translucency).
Development of sustainable and environmentally friendly products
We are committed for a long time to the development of new products and production processes. Various factors determine our choice to develop a given product or to modify a production process. A major criterium is the sustainability of the product and its positive influence on the environment.
Criteria for a sustainable and/or environmentally friendly product::
- The product collects waste materials and prevents these to be diffused in the environment.
- The product is produced in a sustainable way, the impact on the environment is significantly lower than in the conventional production process.
- The use of this product gives a better protection of the environment then existing alternatives.
In the past years, we have developed following products complying with above criteria
- Mobile water-resistant floor (categorie A)
This innovation refers to a mobile liquid collection system made of textile surrounded by inflatable tubes for e.g. the collection and storage of dirty water from a truck and car cleaning. This is a relatively simple, cheap and mobile system that reduces the threshold for recovering dirty water and prevents illegal draining.
- ETFE air-cushion roofs (categorie B and C)
The ETFE air-cushion roofs are an alternative to (heavy) glass roofs. For sure, when combined with a sun regulating system this system has less impact on the environment than an alternative in the glass.
- Membrane and inflatable moulds (categorie B and C)
One development in which we invest time and energy is the realization of molds made of fabrics that replace the traditional formwork or can be an alternative for pre-fabricated products. Basically, a lightweight mound can be built on location and be covered with lightweight concrete. Not only construction time is reduced but also more complex (BLOB) shapes can be made. This process can be realized on site such that no pre-fabricated elements have to be transported to the construction site (saving ton-kilometers). Large size road transport of pre-fabricated elements is expensive. Besides cement centers usually are to be found near the construction sites (contrary to pre-fabrication production sites).
- (Insulated) membraneconstruction (categorie C)
The material used for tensed membrane constructions is very lightweight (about 1kg/m2) and can be completely recycled even after many years of use.
There are even more recent developments using a double skin with insulation in between. The final result is a building with very good thermal insulation.