Materials Science

50th anniversary of Ucrete: the world’s toughest floor since 1969

The world’s most resilient flooring from the Master Builders Solutions range is celebrating a major anniversary: 50 years ago, the Ucrete flooring solution was patented. Ucrete is based on a unique resin technology that provides these floors with exceptional resistance to aggressive chemicals, extreme mechanical impact, and thermal shock. Ucrete floors are particularly suitable for use in aggressive process areas as encountered in the food-and-beverage, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries, for example. They form homogenous surfaces with a minimum of joints and, where required, slip-resistance properties for safe and hygienic work environments. The impenetrable and impermeable Ucrete surfaces retain their stability at temperatures of up to 130 °C and meet even the strictest requirements in terms of hygiene. Depending on the exact variant, Ucrete can be installed in a matter of hours or a few days, and, if applied correctly, retains its functionality for decades.

Development of Ucrete began in the late 1960s as part of the search for a resilient, durable and easy-to-apply floor coating for chemical plants. Polyurethane as the basic ingredient, a controlled reaction with water prior to application, and aggregates hitherto only used for concrete proved to be the ideal solution.

“The properties of Ucrete – whose name is a combination of Urethane and Concrete – were nothing less than revolutionary,” said Philip Ansell, Marketing Manager, Ucrete Industrial Flooring Europe at BASF. “Ucrete was insensitive to any residual moisture in the substrate, which meant it could be installed quickly – ideal in any refurbishment work, which, from then on, required almost no downtime. The resin-based solutions available up to that time required the substrate to be very dry – a preparatory step that took, and still takes, a lot of time and effort.”

Ever since then, Ucrete flooring solutions have found widespread application across the world in cases where resilience and durability are high priorities.

“One of the oldest Ucrete floors still in service was installed on the premises of a brewery in Nigeria in 1982,” said Ansell, who only recently documented the exceptional resilience of the flooring solution with the Ucrete Destruction Challenge. “In 1975, a large international soft-drink company furnished one of its plants in Ireland with a Ucrete solution; and have made regular use of Ucrete floors in their plants around the world ever since. Our customers know that they can rely on the performance and the durability of our Ucrete flooring systems – and they want that reliability again and again. Innovation has been our key driver since 1960, and the strong investments made over the years on R&D activities brought us to reach several milestones such as:

  • 1982: The first antistatic hygienic terrazzo floor for the pharmaceutical industry
  • 1993: The first flow applied heavy duty screed with thermal shock resistance for ergonomic application
  • 2003: The first systems with specifiable slip resistance profiles as key safety requirement for the food-and-beverage industry
  • 2011: The first non-tainting, rapid curing systems, to minimize downtime even at chill temperatures
  • 2018: Monolithic, thermal shock resistant antistatic flooring.”

Ucrete’s extremely low VOC content, as recognized by third parties like Eurofins, which awarded Ucrete with the Indoor Air Comfort Gold Certificate, together with its versatility and specific properties – resistance to extreme chemical, mechanical and thermal impact; low-maintenance long-term durability for decades; hygiene; skid-resistance and electrostatic conductivity, if required – make Ucrete the perfect flooring solution throughout the food-and-beverage, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries as well as in the aerospace, electronics, engineering, textile and the mining industries – wherever resistance to aggressive service conditions is required.

Originally available in two variants – smooth and rough – the product range has been refined and expanded and now includes more than a dozen different solutions for a variety of challenging requirements. They all share the same superior resistance and durability. Ucrete flooring solutions are available globally through specialized applicators.

“Correctly specified and installed, our floors offer very long-term performance,” Ansell said. “In this way we also make a stand for more sustainability; what is more wasteful than throwing a floor away after five or ten years? More and more customers are opting for the real benefits of a long-lived floor, avoiding the production downtime and cost of refurbishment or replacement. In 2018 alone, a total of more than five million square meters of floor surface were coated using Ucrete solutions. Our commitment is to keep on investing strongly into our portfolio to enhance already existing products and to develop new solutions closer to our customers’ needs, to provide enhanced aesthetics and more ergonomically friendly means of installation.”