Hedmark County, Norway -- The former president of the Polyurea Development Association Europe (PDA Europe), Elisabet Michelson sees potential for polyurea in the coming year but warns that practitioners must know their product's properties.
Michelson, general manager of Norway-based polyurea systems house Elmico, was the president of PDA Europe until November 2014.
She said that while it was not absolutely accurate to say that Scandinavia had remained completely insulated from the crisis in Europe, she believes countries like Norway - with low temperatures and large changes in temperatures - may have an especially strong markets for the material because polyurea has properties that are particularly suited to the climate there.
Michelson noted studded tyres – which are also in use in Russia and other Scandinavian countries – are a specific factor driving the use of polyurea in car park decking in these countries. Another reason why polyurea has been used more frequently in Norway is that Norwegians are more open to new solutions. In Sweden, not so much in Sweden, she said.
"We have concentrated a lot on the designers and the building owners rather than the contractors." She said these end users were the ones with the greater stake in the life cycle of the project. “They really do want the infrastructure to have a long life," she said.
She also said businesses that use polyurea need to ensure they build up a good knowledge of the material properties. "We have seen that clients are prepared to pay a little bit more for something which will increase the life cycle."
Michelson added that if practitioners fail to think about how polyurea needs to be used, that could have the knock-on effect of damaging a burgeoning industry. She also said that many know little about the benefits until they are shown them and that when the price goes down, generally the quality and workmanship goes down too.”
She said her company had enjoyed a good year in 2014 and said she expected 2015 to be good too but added that she expected more competition from Europe.
"If you are not open to new solutions and materials, as we find in Germany where the stipulation that polyurea practitioners need five years’ experience before they can carry out work there, that will slow the growth of the industry. “How can practitioners get that five years' of experience there?” she asked.