A unique structural dome flooring system used throughout Europe and North America as an environmentally-friendly and cost-effective fill option for concrete flooring is now being manufactured in New Zealand.
Cupolex Building Systems general manager Tim Farman sees the local manufacturing facility providing the building industry with a number of benefits, including savings and improved supply. “A house lot of Cupolex has always been cost effective when compared with polystyrene,” he says.
“Now, with overseas freight no longer part of the equation stock is even cheaper, so builders will save more.” Being made locally also means that Cupolex Building Systems is better placed to meet increased demand.
“Rather than waiting for a shipment to arrive from Italy, we can ensure there’s always a ready supply. Product can be delivered to the client very quickly.” Mr Farman was very particular when it came to selecting a local company to produce the structural domes.
“Cupolex has a great reputation for quality overseas,” he says. “This same reputation has fl owed through to New Zealand since Cupolex Building Systems secured the exclusive Australasian license last year.
So it was important that we didn’t compromise that reputation when we started manufacturing here.” Family business secures contract Manurewa-based plastic injection moulding company Jakaar Industries Ltd was chosen after a stringent selection process that took several months.
The family-owned business has been operating for more than 20 years, producing a huge variety of moulds for everything from sophisticated electrical switch gear to plumbing products and mower components.
More than 50% of their goods are exported overseas. Managing director Ken Holt is enthusiastic about the opportunity of working with Cupolex. Earlier this year he travelled to Italy with his son Bruce, who is general manager of Jakaar, to learn the production process first-hand.
The Cupolex domes are being produced on a 750 tonne Negribossi injection moulding machine, one of the largest of its kind in New Zealand. Due to the 100% recycled plastic used in the manufacture of the domes, the machine required some modifications, including the addition of a robotic arm to lift the dome out of the mould.
Production proper started in August after two weeks of testing. An easy alternative The Cupolex patented domes are easier to handle than traditional hard fi ll and polystyrene. They work on a modular concept. The 260mm high domes simply inter-lock to create a self-supporting system that acts as permanent formwork.
The process is so simple that 150 sq m can be laid in just two man-hours. The domes are stackable, making it easy to get them to the building site. “One house lot can be transported on two pallets,” Mr Farman says. He’s also proud of the environmental aspects of the Cupolex domes.
“The trouble with polystyrene is that on a windy day it can be blown all over the place. The off-cuts can mess up a site and, worse still, end up in the waterways. You don’t have that problem with Cupolex domes.” He also points out that because the domes are made from 100% recycled plastic, the process is particularly environmentally-friendly