Apr 13 2010
Eco-friendly bathtubs can make an important contribution to producing hotel room furnishings that are made to last. The Sunprime Group has created an impressive example of this in its flagship Coral Suites & Spa hotel on the island of Tenerife by fitting 120 robust bathtubs reinforced with polyurethane.
Bathtub manufacturer BSB (Bañera sobre Bañera) and its direct supplier Handcrafted Industrial Projects, both based in Valencia, developed and produce the bathtubs in close cooperation with the Spanish BaySystems systems house of Bayer MaterialScience. The bathtubs were manufactured using the easy processing polyurethane spray system Multitec® Advanced Foam from BaySystems.
The shape of today’s bathtubs is created by thermoforming a polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) or acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) thermoplastic film. To ensure that the molded part has the necessary stability, the reverse side of the thermoformed film has to be reinforced. Until now, this has been done in many cases using a time-intensive manual process that involved laminating the film with unsaturated polyesters and cut glass fibers. Two further drawbacks in addition to this time-consuming and labor-intensive hand lay-up process are the use of styrene as a solvent and co-reactant, and the need for annealing during the curing phase.
In contrast, Multitec® Advanced Foam is applied just like a coating. No plasticizers or solvents are required and it is processed without glass fibers or fillers on high- or low-pressure equipment. The high reactivity and easy handling ensure cost-efficient reinforcement of the films. There is no need for energy-intensive annealing. "The system is therefore ideal for the cost-effective and eco-friendly production of hard-wearing bathtubs," explains Alfonso Navarro, founder and managing director of Handcrafted Industrial Projects. "This green solution for bathroom refurbishment projects means the hotel industry has now an additional opportunity available to reduce its carbon footprint."
The bathtubs also demonstrate their ecological credentials when in use, absorbing both heat and sound. As they are very long-lasting, the tubs also help to reduce the amount of waste at waste disposal sites. This is a key part of BSB's refurbishment concept.
Hotel chains in particular are increasingly keen to ensure their furnishings and fittings are eco-friendly and sustainable. The installation of these polyurethane bathtubs marries well with this concept, complementing features already in place such as efficient insulation, heating and ventilation, energy-optimized refrigerators, water-saving toilets, energy-saving bulbs and measures to encourage guests to use towels more than once.