Forbo Eurocol Nederland B.V. has adhesives and levelling compounds for floor coverings that are IMO (International Maritime Organization) certified in its product range. The IMO is a specialised agency of the United Nations that oversees maritime safety. The development and enforcement of maritime regulations is a continuous endeavour, conducted from the head office in London. 168 member states are members of the IMO, along with three additional members.
More and more maritime nations understand the importance of implementing and enforcing IMO regulations. Recently, the United Nations adopted the Marine Equipment Directive (MED). Currently, it only applies to ships registered in EU nations, about 80 percent of the world's fleet. The MRA (Mutual Recognition Agreement) applies to this directive. This directive prevents duplicate costs for testing and certification. The MED includes the FTP (Fire Test Procedures) code (IMO FTP Code Res. A.653(16)). This code stands for flammability test procedures for surfaces to test the combination of floor coverings and adhesives in practice.
The IMO is supported by a permanent staff of employees who represent the members. It is headed by a secretary-general who is periodically elected during a meeting of the members. Additionally, there are a number of divisions, such as maritime security, environmental protection, and a department that organises conferences.
The rules introduced and monitored by the IMO improve the safety of crew, passengers and the vessels themselves. Maritime safety has been maintained and improved through the years thanks to the systematic introduction of new materials, processing methods, carefully formulated rules and improved test procedures.
Under the International Convention for Safety at Sea of the IMO, fire test procedures are performed for all products. These not only relate to flammability, but also to smoke development and the development of poisonous gasses. During testing procedures, an environment is simulated in which large groups of people are confronted with limited exits during a shipboard fire. Regulatory government bodies and insurance companies have expressly insisted on strict requirements for the construction materials used in such situations. Shipping companies, ship captains and ship builders all have a responsibility to ensure the safety of passengers and crew. The requirements for floor finishing materials for use aboard are divided into two sections. One according to the U.S. Coast Guard Requirements for ships sailing in U.S. territorial waters, and one for ships sailing international waters.
Materials such as vinyl and wood are often used to finish decks and cabins on ships. Approved floor finishes are required for this. The wood or vinyl used must meet IMO requirements for flammability and smoke development. All tests must be performed in an accredited laboratory. The manufacturer must also submit to a follow-up inspection by an independent accredited institute (such as ISO 9000). Additionally, there is Lloyd's Register, a classification institution that issues independent certification for products, systems or products processes according to published requirements. Finally, MarED is a coordinating group of accredited bodies for the implementation of the Marine Equipment Directive.
In addition to specific safety requirements at sea, floor finishers are confronted with different subfloors than are commonly used in projects on land. On ships, materials such as wood and aluminium are more common than concrete or cement. Finishers also have limited space to work in. This represents a test of their craftsmanship, and turns each project into a new challenge. The floor finish must demonstrably be resistant to the movement of the ship under sail. Reliability is therefore an absolute requirement for high-quality products and applications. Good flexibility properties are not only important for floor finishes, but also for the products and materials used to complete the project.
A perfect end result is only achieved if the best materials and processing methods are applied. Forbo Eurocol Nederland B.V. has developed a balanced product range that provides excellent solutions for floor finisher's demands. This complete product line can be applied in combination with all modern subfloor types. The certified products may be recognised thanks to the CE mark shaped like a ship's steering wheel. This is the guarantee that the product has been tested and certified in accordance with IMO test guidelines for surface flammability. In accordance with IMO requirements, all Eurocol products have exceptional fire-retardant properties, and the quality of the manufacturing process is guaranteed.