Volkswagen AG goes for "practically emission-free" floor coatings

Ever-increasing environmental and health concerns and a sense of responsibility towards its own employees have prompted Volkswagen AG to have the existing industrial floor coatings at the plant in Emden extensively renovated using "practically emission-free" coating materials. In the past, various coating projects had caused production problems due to the increased release of organic solvents, so materials with the lowest possible content of VOC‘s (volatile organic components) were already required in the specifications during the planning and tendering phase.

Since 2010, 500 g/l has been the maximum value for the VOC content of industrial floor coating compounds according to legislation, which can, however, be fulfilled by practically all coating compounds used so far. The quantities of solvents thus permitted can lead to unpleasant odours, especially during coating work. Furthermore, the cured products constantly release small amounts of solvents over long periods of time, which do not always have to be harmful to health, but can be the reason for an odour nuisance. Especially in smaller rooms with insufficient ventilation, this leads to bad working conditions.

When Volkswagen AG decided to use the AB-ZEROPOX® coating products, compliance with the specifications and the reduction to a VOC content of < 1 % were decisive. Both the AB-ZEROPOX® and AB-ZEROPUR® qualities were intensively tested and approved by the process technology / safety chemistry department of Volkswagen AG. All materials were classified as particularly innovative, as they release practically no more VOC ́s during the coating work and meet the strict criteria according to AgBB (Committee for the Health Evaluation of Building Materials) with regard to emissions.

The essential difference to conventional epoxy resin systems is that these products no longer contain benzyl alcohol, which is only partially incorporated into the material. This means that there is practically no more odour nuisance during the installation phase and coating or renovation work can be carried out during ongoing production. Also, no unbound benzyl alcohol can gradually enter the room air, which can lead to an undesirable, slight marzipan smell (benzaldehyde).

The special challenge was posed by both the different coloured cycle fields and the tight schedule, which was met to the complete satisfaction of Volkswagen AG through professional craftsmanship and perfect scheduling. Due to the specification of the plant structure planning and the inspection by the safety chemistry, a new stage in industrial floor coating technology was entered. The success of the renovation measure carried out once again makes Volkswagen AG a pacesetter and redefines the state of the art. With this project, the know-how of "practically emission-free" floor coatings has found its way into large-scale industry for the first time, and other companies will certainly follow Volkswagen AG's example.


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