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The 'Crown Jewels' of Slip-Resistant Floor Mats Rely on Baytec

Bayer MaterialScience AG : 21 May, 2001  (Company News)
There are many reasons why you might call Matrix Engineering Inc.'s GRIP ROCK1 and SUPER G2 slip-resistant mats the crown jewels of floor safety mats. The most obvious reason is their use of crushed garnet, a semi- precious gem, to prevent slips and falls.
But it is really their performance that makes these mats, which can be found in hotels, industry, entertainment parks, restaurants and other institutions in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean, worthy of such a royal designation.

Matrix Engineering relies on tough materials, like the Baytec« GS-040A cast elastomer polyurethane system from Bayer Corporation's Polyurethanes Division, to produce its mats. The tear-resistant Baytec material contributes to the mats' desirable combination of slip resistance, durability, a thinner profile, light weight and ease of handling and cleaning. McCullough & Benton, a regional distributor of Bayer's polyurethane products in the Southeast, supplies Matrix.

The Baytec GS-040A system is a two-component, one- shot polyurethane system that produces a solid polyurethane elastomer with a Shore hardness of 42A.

'We are the only manufacturer using construction-grade woven fiberglass, coated on the bottom with tacky polyurethane for superior floor adhesion, and coated on the top with polyurethane embedded with ceramic beads and garnet for slip resistance,' said Tom Hayes, Vice President, Matrix Engineering. 'The tough surface cannot be worn out by heavy traffic.'

Materials Make the Difference
Matrix Engineering manufactures and distributes its lines of safety mats for slip resistance in such work areas as freezers and coolers, metal floors, dish rooms, fry lines, food prep areas, and walkways and ramps that are subject to hazardous, slippery conditions. GRIP ROCK multi- purpose mats use a combination of round textured beads and crushed garnet to provide slip resistance. SUPER G mats are designed specifically for use in restaurant fry areas where grease and oil are abundant, so they have a more abrasive surface consisting solely of crus hed garnet.

Traditional rubber mats with a lattice pattern can be up to an inch thick, posing a trip hazard. By comparison, Matrix Engineering's mats are less than 1/8-inch thick. And because they are thin, they are also lightweight, making them easier for employees to handle and clean, according to Hayes.

The Baytec GS-040A polyurethane cast elastomer system enables the mats to remain flexible, even at temperatures as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit, as required by walk-in freezer and cooler applications. 'This permits GRIP ROCK mats to be rolled so accumulated ice will pop off, similar to removing ice from an ice cube tray,' explained Hayes.

Production of the mats begins in the GRIP ROCK machine, where a 390-foot-long fiberglass roll and urethane are heated, bonding them together. At the same time, aggregate (crushed garnet for the SUPER G line of mats, or a combination of ceramic beads and crushed garnet for the GRIP ROCK line) is embedded into the mat. Hayes points out that pr oper bead position and adhesion is important.

'Aggregate that is embedded too deeply decreases slip resistance,' he explained. 'On the other hand, if it is not embedded deeply enough, the aggregate can come loose.'

Next, the mat passes through a coating machine. Here, Matrix Engineering applies a coat of the Baytec GS-040A polyurethane system. This coating prevents delamination over the course of the mat's service life. Matrix Engineering applies another coat of the Baytec system, this time modifying the material's formula to achieve the mat's tacky backing.

Finally, the mat moves through a cutting machine, where the length and width are cut to customer specifications. Excluding the cutting stage, which takes just 10 minutes, processing time is four hours.

Matrix Engineering is very pleased with the support it has received from Bayer. 'Bayer is more than a materials supplier,' said Hayes. 'They have provided great technical support - not only in their la bs in Pittsburgh, but on our production floor here in Florida, as well.'
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