International trends in the use of natural stone and engineered stone are increasing demand for its Keraflex S1 Express ultra-white, high-performance cementitious adhesive, notes Gauteng chemicals and adhesives manufacturer Mapei.
For decades, Mapei's primary development focus has been on innovation through collaboration with various, globally based tile producers to develop tile adhesives and products that technically complement their systems, says Mapei South Africa ceramics line product manager Zamaswazi Ntobela.
Although developed in 2018, Keraflex S1 Express ultra-white was only launched on the market in the second quarter of this year, owing to Mapei's stringent process of sourcing high-quality local raw materials that meet its classification, he highlights.
Over the past few months, Mapei has produced over 45 000 units of deformable technical adhesives from locally sourced raw materials at its Germiston facility, which uses the same production technology employed at Mapei’s plants worldwide.
“All locally sourced raw materials are sampled and sent to Italy for intense quality testing and verification before being used in production. This process continues at the production facility where materials are constantly quality checked to ensure there is no deviation or change to the acceptable specification,” says Mapei South Africa GM Antony Offenberg.
Where local raw materials do not meet Mapei’s quality standards, approved international suppliers are used to ensure high-quality locally manufactured products are supplied to markets in the Southern African Development Community.
Keraflex S1 Express ultra-white was specially formulated to complement demand for and the distribution of light-coloured natural stone and engineered stone in Africa. It allows a longer working period, whereafter it rapidly sets to provide a high bond strength four to six hours after mixing.
“Most of Mapei’s product development is based on thorough market research, construction trends and the market demand of Mapei partners in the construction industry. Keraflex S1 Express ultra-white provides quality, technical performance and exceeds local production standards,” says Ntobela.
She adds that the product, which is easy to apply by trowel and has “excellent wetting properties”, differentiates from available competitor products owing to features such as its flexibility and extended open time.
Keraflex S1 Express is suitable for the interior and exterior bonding of ceramic, porcelain, stone (if stable in damp environments) and thin porcelain tiles on conventional substrates, such as cementitious and anhydrite screeds, but only after preparation and applying a suitable primer. The product can also be used on heated screeds, gypsum-based plaster (after applying a suitable primer), plasterboard, prefabricated panels and cement-fibre panels.
Mapei products offer a “highly favourable quality to price ratio” and are available from the company’s various stakeholder and business partners in strategically selected retail stores and specialist distributors, says Ntobela.
The Mapei group spends more than 5% of annual turnover on research and development, with 70% of this spent on efforts to improve the sustainability of its products.
“With this in mind, we constantly seek opportunities to improve our existing product performance, as well as look to international trends that may allow for new technologies to be introduced into South Africa,” notes Offenberg.
Keraflex S1 Express ultra-white is one of more than 150 locally produced products that are manufactured, quality tested and shipped from Mapei’s Germiston plant.