Production Process and Technology
The Manufacturing Process of Making the vinyl sheet floorcovering
1 Vinyl resins and plasticizers are stirred together in a vat to make a plastisol. To this plastisol, AZO compound (which consists of two nitrogen atoms that are united at both ends to separate carbon atoms) is added.
When the resins, plasticizers, and AZO compound is heated, the AZO compound decomposes forming nitrogen gas bubbles. From this mixture, a vinyl foam is produced. This vinyl foam has the consistency of pancake batter and can be spread, in a slurry, onto the installation medium or backing.
2 The slurry is laid down on the felt or wood pulp backing via a reverse roll coater—it is poured on and smoothed out.
The coated sheet then goes through an oven where the vinyl foam is gelled. The oven is heated just enough for the vinyl resin to absorb the plasticizer and set.
Vinyl resins and plasticizers are stirred together in a vat to make a plastisol, which is then heated to form a batter.
3 At this point, the gel is run through a printing press and is impressed with metal intaglio plates (with pattern carved beneath the surface of the metal).
This impresses the pattern into the gel sheet, creating the decorative pattern.
4 A second mixing of plasticizer and vinyl are applied on the printed gel. The gel (with backing) is run through an oven at an even higher temperature.
In the oven, the vinyl resin absorbs the plasticizer and melts, creating a clear vinyl.
This is known as the wear layer, which takes the brunt of foot traffic. Printed patterns and inlaid patterns are thus protected under this wear layer rendering the pattern durable.
5 If the pattern requires a matte finish, the sheet vinyl is essentially ready to be rolled.
However, patterns designed with a high gloss finish receive a layer of polyurethane coating via rollers.
The thickness of this coating is controlled with an air knife to insure a consistent thickness.
The polyurethane coating is cured photochemically with ultraviolet radiation lamps and is ready to be rolled.
6 The matte or high-gloss vinyl sheet flooring is then cut to rolls that are 12 ft (3.66 m) wide x 1,500 ft (457.2 m) long that can be subdivided based on the needs of retailers.
Creating vinyl tile floorcovering
7 Vinyl tiles are made a bit differently than vinyl sheet flooring. The polyvinyl chloride resins are mixed with calcium carbonate, plasticizers, and pigments in a large industrial mixer.
8 The mixture is heated to melting and consolidated.
The friction from the mixing blades produces a compound with the consistency of bread dough. The dough-like substance is put through calendar rollers and the material is squeezed into sheets.
9 The sheets are embossed while still in rolls. Once decorated, the sheet is then cut into individual tiles with a die cutting machine, resembling multiple cookie cutters.
10 The tile squares (12 x 12 in or 30.48 x 30.48 cm) are cooled and put into a box if they are dry sheets (without pressure-sensitive glue on the back).
If they are to receive glue for affixing to the floor, a roll-coater carrying organic resins deposits the glue on the tile backing.
A paper cover that protects the glue is put over backing. The tiles are boxed (in boxes of 10 or 12) and ready for shipment.
As with most manufactured goods, all raw materials (polyvinyl chloride resins, plasticizers,
The vinyl foam batter is spread onto the baking and heated, forming a sheet. The pattern is then printed on the flooring and a wear layer is applied.
pigments, stabilizers, and the installation medium) are checked to insure they meet minimum quality standards of production for the company.
Felt or paper backings are checked for thickness and tensile strength. Physical tests are performed on coatings—viscosity, lumpiness, etc. are examined.
If all ingredients are chemically and physically adequate to render a quality product, the manufacturing can begin.
Throughout all phases of production, intermediary checks are made to insure that standards are met.
Members of the production staff perform visual checks on all pieces. If the larger roll does have contain an imperfection, quality control personnel adjust the computerized cut map that informs the cutting machines to cut around imperfections.
Commercial tiles and sheet vinyl used by Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) undergo an array of testing including minimum thickness requirement, durability, flammability, etc.