Moscow – Russia’s spray foam machinery makers and materials suppliers have applied to the government to form an association to improve application safety and product reputation.
The Russian Association of the Producers of Spray Polyurethane submitted documents with the Ministry of Justice, to register itself in January. The fledgling association is made up of companies from across Russia with operations in Moscow, Saratov, St Petersburg, even Samara, Andrey Popov, head of sales, XXI Century said.
Popov was speaking at the Ninth International PU and TPU Conference organised by Creon in Moscow on 16 February, 2016.
“We need to have a solid foundation of technical standards. These would form the basis from which we could expand the use of spray PU foam in Russia,” he said.
“Looking at other countries we see that the Wild West period ends once you introduce standards,” Popov added. To introduce standards effectively, he said “you need a loudspeaker” enabling the industry to “reach the government and different institutions."
He continued: “After studying American, Canadian and Italian approaches, we believe it is necessary to form a Russian association for foamed polyurethane."
The priority will be to establish the legal space for the application; methods of working; developing standardised formulations; standard physical and chemical properties. This will be in the form of a catalogue of products, Popov said.
The second step is to develop standardised materials, similar to the polystyrene industry which are included in state standards for construction, he added.
"All these documents should be developed as a greenfield project that will take two or three years, but by then it should help polyurethane foam to grow by simplifying the approvals process. We often lose business not on price, but on fire safety. We cannot get proper approvals from fire safety agencies because we don’t have the proper documentation," said Popov.
Popov said spray foam faces two hurdles for use in Russia, both of which stem from its complete lack of regulation in the country, he added.
“This technology is very fast and very inexpensive - in the current economic crisis,” he said: “Demand for it is very high.”
“We see a growing number of small companies using this technology. Sometimes they are contractors or sub-contractors and we have even heard reports of people watching spray foam applications on YouTube and doing it themselves,” he added.
"This Wild West situation is putting people at risk, can lead to reputational damage for the material and at the same time there are no certificates for flammability," he said.
“Since there are no national standards, the consumer has no protection against poor quality sprayed coatings. The key issue is the lack of standards.
“At the moment when a client is looking for a company to do a spray foam job he may get 10 different answers from 10 different spray foam appliers. Half of them would be forbidden for such applications. Most often he gets the offer of a cheap solution with the wrong materials and very bad workmanship. This leads to negative reactions,” Popov said.