The Flooring Group has long had a partnership with Coba Flooring. Coba Flooring describe their brand in further detail here;
COBA HITS THE HEADLINES AGAIN
A double page feature has appeared in Tomorrow’s Flooring about our COBA floor matting business. The article on COBA Flooring talks about how our business has evolved since the first of COBA’s companies was founded in 1966.
It maps our progression into the commercial flooring sector following the introduction of entrance mat systems (starting with Premier Entrance Tiles) to COBA’s product range, and the launch of COBA Flooring in January 2014, a specialist division working with architects and specifiers, main contractors and flooring contractors.
“We have customised our brand to deliver a bespoke, specialist service to our flooring customers, working alongside them on both new build and refurbishment projects. We also recruited an experienced Business Development Manager in Andy Gordon, who works exclusively with contractors and commercial flooring customers,” explains COBA Flooring’s Sales Director, Chris Stanley.
The article also gives an insight into the exceptional design and development resources we have here at COBA Flooring, which enables us to be innovative in the entrance matting market. It provides an opportunity to see some images of our superb offices, manufacturing and vast warehouse facilities located in the heart of rural Leicestershire. Our 2700m2 warehouse enables us to carry many standard entrance mat options, allowing us to deliver ex-stock, very often with next day delivery.
Custom-made to order products such as aluminium entrance systems in our Plan.a range of course take a little longer, but they are manufactured here in the UK and can usually be turned around within a 3-5 day window.
Customer service features high on COBA Flooring’s agenda. Our flooring business has internal and external sales and customer support teams, and works with a number of contract flooring fitting partners throughout the country. Free onsite surveys are available, as are free product samples and detailed data sheets.
“It is our aim to give our customers as much product support as possible, whether they are involved with the planning stages or at the end of the project. Significantly, we offer BIM ready entrance mat products. As manufacturers, our customers are increasingly turning to COBA Flooring for value engineered solutions, which is helpful when projects are running over-budget and cost-saving alternatives are required. Pathmaster Budget is a good example of a value engineered flooring solution. Another factor is that we can very often help in short lead times and as entrance matting is frequently one of the last considerations, this is useful for many customers,” explains Chris Stanley.
Chris concludes: “COBA Flooring offers a choice of quality entrance matting products manufactured in the UK that are competitively priced in the market. Our products are straight forward, and most are designed for ease of installation. Our friendly and knowledgeable Sales and Customer Service teams are on hand to offer assistance. We listen and work with our customers supporting their projects.”
SMART CHOICE FOR A BIRMINGHAM HOTEL – PLAN.A
PATHMASTER BUDGET ON FLOORING AWARD SHORTLIST
Our PathMaster Budget entrance matting has been shortlisted for a flooring industry award. PathMaster Budget was introduced to our COBA Flooring range in 2014 and we are delighted to say, has been nominated as a finalist for the Tomorrow’s Flooring 2015 Awards. It is certainly a worthy candidate for the flooring awards shortlist. PathMaster Budget is a low cost, viable alternative to aluminium entrance matting when budgets simply won’t stretch to engineered, custom made entrance systems.
Low Cost Entrance Matting Solution for High Volume Footfall
Durable PathMaster Budget is manufactured from 100% Polypropylene needlepunch carpet with aluminium scraping inserts. It can withstand the punishment of high volumefootfall. When installed, the finished result is very similar in appearance to conventional aluminium entrance systems.
Ease of handling, transportation and installation makes the flooring contractor’s life a little easier!
Aside from attractive pricing, there are many other benefits from specifying PathMaster Budget entrance matting. For flooring contractors, it’s easy to install – PathMaster is supplied in rolls of up to 10m in length (2m widths) for easy handling, transportationand installation. The matting can be glued to the floor or laid to surface as desired, and cutting to shape can be done on site.
Effective dirt scraping, moisture wiping performance
It is also efficient at trapping dirt and wiping moisture from footwear. Its solid surface design means that debris rests on top, ready for vacuuming. This makes cleaning an easy task, helping to keep entrances smart at all times.
Smart choice of colours to suit your decor
When it comes to appearance, PathMaster Budget certainly doesn’t compromise looking stylish in many different commercial environments, such as retail, hospitality, leisure and office areas. There is a choice of colours to complement both contemporary and traditional interior designs. Choose from charcoal, grey, brown and mixed (beige) colourways.
COBA FLOORING ANNOUNCES SUPPORT FOR THE NATIONAL FOREST
With effect from 1st January 2015, COBA Flooring is pleased to launch our ‘Forest Floor Initiative’ in support of The National Forest and our commitment to the environment.
For every 100m2 of any of our Premier entrance matting sold in 2015, we will be planting a tree in The National Forest, showing our support for the transformation of 200 square miles of land in the heart of England.
About The National Forest Project
Described as “one of the country’s boldest environmental projects”, The National Forest is transforming the landscape across three Midlands counties, including Leicestershire (where COBA Flooring’s headquarters are located) as well as Derbyshire and Staffordshire. The aim is to link the ancient Forests of Charnwood with Needwood Forest, and make the most of the forest through great landscape, high quality recreation for families to enjoy, heritage and habitat for wildlife. Some 8.5 million trees have been planted since the project was launched in 1995 and forest cover has increased from an initial 6% to 19.8%.
COBA Flooring is delighted to be playing a part in this throughout 2015, reinforcing our commitment to the environment through our business practices and associated projects. There is a natural synergy between our Premier interlocking entrance tiles and the environment.
Entrance Matting & The Environment
Our Premier floor tiles featuring carpet inserts (including Premier Plus Tiles, Premier Track Tiles and Premier Surface) are manufactured from 80% recycled materials, while Premier Grip PVC Tiles are manufactured from 100% recycled materials.
Premier entrance matting is ideal for a wide variety of environments, including those areas subjected to high levels of footfall – making it perfect for retail and shopping centres, office reception areas, and hotel/leisure foyers to give just a few examples. Ease of installation, ease of cleaning and ease of replacement are just a few of the benefits of Premier entrance tiles.
While Premier Plus and Premier Track are normally installed in recessed matwells, there is the ingenious Premier Surface recently developed by COBA Flooring for locations where a matwell is simply not feasible. Premier Surface is a super smart solution to many entrance matting challenges.
Launching Our Forest Floor Logo
We have designed and launched our own logo to support our Forest Floor Initiative and raise awareness for The National Forest project. Throughout the year, we will be keeping our flooring customers and colleagues updated on our ‘tree planting progress.’ So, please show your support by specifying Premier entrance matting for your flooring projects in 2015.
CFJ READERS LOVED THE ENTRANCE MATTING SAMPLE
Our Marketing team at COBA Flooring has been busy promoting our ever-increasingcommercial flooring product range through the contract flooring and interior design media.
The response to our new advertising campaigns has been very encouraging and we know many readers of Contract Flooring Journal readers loved the free Entrance Matting Sample. Our PathMaster Budget advertisement headlined “Aluminium Entrance Matting just got more Affordable” really made an impression with CFJ readers, as has our most recent campaign ‘Looks can be Deceptive’ promoting Tough-Lock Naturals luxury vinyl floor tiles in FX magazine – a glossy design-led magazine widely read byarchitects, interior designers and specifiers.
Of course, apart from looking smart, entrance matting and commercial flooring have to be practical ‘fit-for-purpose’ products and we have listened to our audience who tell us they like the “does what it says on the can” approach to our advertising campaigns.
If you have missed any of the promotions, such as free entrance matting product samples or copies of our latest COBA Flooring catalogue featuring our complete range ofentrance matting, vinyl floor tiles and even GRP anti-slip safety flooring and stair treads (perfect for slip prevention as the cold weather sets in!) then please get in touch.
Our sales team at COBA Flooring will happily supply you with samples, product literature and any assistance you need for your flooring project.
3 GOOD REASONS WHY THE LENGTH OF ENTRANCE MATTING IS IMPORTANT
According to the Met Office, the UK experienced its driest September on record. Quite incredible taking into consideration that Met Office Rainfall Records date back to 1910. But, it seems the rain is back and winter is on its way! Once again, people become more aware of the need for effective doormats and good quality entrance matting for the home and the workplace.
Of course, making the right choice is important, but one point our team of matting experts at COBA Flooring simply can’t stress enough is ensuring that any installation has a sufficient ‘length’ of matting for optimum ‘moisture-wiping’ performance.
Creating ‘entrance zones’ (exterior, interim and interior) provides maximum benefits, but this is not always practical in every building design, and this is where it is important that the length of matting compensates.
If it is a new building (or even a renovation for that matter) and a recessed matwell is planned, then it is helpful for architects to consider the size, and factor this required length into their initial designs. If this isn’t possible, then smart carpet entrance runners integrated within the flooring design can be an effective solution.
There are at least three good reasons:
People may stop to wipe their feet at home, but can you remember the last time you watched people stop to wipe their feet in a reception area, a shopping centre, or any public building for that matter? The answer is probably ‘no’. That is why having a long enough ‘walk off’ area is imperative. Our team at COBA Flooring recommends allowinga minimum of six footsteps to wipe footwear.
It’s important to assess the volume of footfall and plan your entrance mattinginstallation around this. To do this, the Entrance Flooring Systems Association (EFSA) has some recommendations. Calculate roughly how many people will use that particular entrance each hour and assess whether your building requires entrance flooring for Low, Medium or High use. Less than 80 people per hour is classed as ‘Low ‘and a minimum of 3-4 metres of matting is recommended; up to 400 people per hour is ‘Medium’ and the recommendation is 6-7 metres. If around 800 people walk through per hour, then the assessment would be ‘High’ therefore requiring a minimum of 8-10 metres length of matting.
COBA Flooring recommends that very heavy-duty environments, such as those experiencing around 2000 people a day passing through, should install between 9 and 12 metres of entrance matting.
Also bear in mind, disabled accessed. It takes a minimum of 2.5m length of matting to clean a full revolution of a wheelchair.
It’s easy to ‘pigeon-hole’ entrance matting as simply being a necessity for floor protection or dirt control. Many offices and commercial buildings have smooth floors for either practical or aesthetic reasons and these are lethal when wet. Even a fine film or patches of moisture is hazardous. Moisture control is essential for floor safety and entrance matting is singly the most effective way of dealing with this.
HSE statistics for 2012-2013 reveal that slips and trips were the most common cause ofmajor injuries to employees (RIDDOR). Slips, trips and falls were responsible for more than half of all major (56%) and almost a third of over seven day (31%) injuries to employees, making up 37% of all reported injuries to employees (RIDDOR). This statistic is an example of ‘employees and accidents in the workplace’ in general, and does not take into account slips experienced by the public. Slips can cause serious injuries, even fatalities. These cause considerable distress and personal suffering, and are very often the precursor to compensation claims.
Matting that is doing its job of dirt and moisture control should actually deliversubstantial cleaning cost-savings, which can make a difference to any public or private sector organisations’ expenditure. The more matting used then the more effective it is going to be in wiping moisture and trapping dirt and debris. Effective entrance matting can also increase the lifespan of interior floor finishes reducing soiling in carpets and abrasive debris scraping smooth floors.
Our team of entrance matting specialists at COBA Flooring can give further advice on this subject, and also assist you with any specific enquiries you may have regarding your installation, contact us on 0116 240 1161.
HOW TO SPECIFY ALUMINIUM MATTING ON A BUDGET
Looking for a low cost alternative to traditional aluminium entrance matting? Then COBA Flooring has the perfect solution in our new PathMaster Budget entrance matting, a lower cost option now available within our established PathMaster collection.
Our PathMaster entrance matting range is popular for use in many different commercial environments. The introduction of a ‘budget’ alternative provides yet further choice for main contractors and flooring contractors, as well as end users looking for a smart, easy to install entrance matting solution.
At first glance, PathMaster Budget has all the authenticity and style of a custom-made aluminium entrance matting system. Of course, it’s not custom-made and is a fraction of the price making it ideal for the cost-conscious. It is manufactured from 100% Polypropylene needlepunch carpet and features aluminium scraping inserts which combined give this entrance matting its hardwearing credentials and practical functionality.
While the price is of course appealing, other key benefits include the ease with which PathMaster Budget can be stored, transported and installed.
PathMaster Budget is supplied in flexible rolls of up to 10m in length (2m widths) which can be installed in a recessed well or glued to the floor surface. Bevelled edging is available for surface laid installations. For entrance areas wider than 2m, the matting can be simply butted tightly together to cover the desired width. Cutting to shape and size on site isn’t a problem either with the help of a hand grinder.
It is available in Charcoal, Grey, Brown and Mixed (Beige).
Readers of Contract Flooring Journal will be receiving a free sample of PathMaster Budget with their October magazine, which also features an advertising campaign for this exciting new addition to the COBA Flooring entrance matting range.
For further information or to request a free sample, please contact COBA Flooring on 0116 240 1161
SALES DIRECTOR BY DAY, MUSICIAN BY NIGHT?
COBA Flooring’s Chris Stanley features in this month’s Contract Flooring Journal(CFJ). Our Sales Director has appeared in the popular ‘In the Dock’ feature; an amusing, light-hearted series of quick-fire questions that reveals a little more about his personality!
While other colleagues shied away from the publicity, Chris Stanley proved he is a good sport by ‘honestly’ answering all the questions our marketing team threw at him, courtesy of CFJ. So, when we asked ‘if he ever got into trouble at school?’ we learn (not surprisingly) that he did! And ‘who would he most like to get stuck in a lift with?‘ – no other than Kate Moss. That is Chris, always aiming high!
Away from the humorous questions, there are also some serious opinions about the flooring industry. He talks openly saying that, in his opinion, there are not enough goodfloor industry trade shows, especially in the Midlands. (Quite topical, as the countdown to The Flooring Show in Harrogate commences this Sunday.)
We admit, there is more talk about his guitar playing than entrance matting, but we will excuse him on this occasion!
‘In the Dock’ is certainly well worth a read. It’s in the September issue of Contract Flooring Journal available now.
STEP TO COBA’S VERY OWN FLOORING SHOW
September has arrived and that means The Flooring Show in Harrogate is virtually upon us. While COBA Flooring won’t be exhibiting there, we always take a keen interest in what is going on within the flooring industry. It’s running from 21-23 September 2014 at the Harrogate International Centre.
The Demo Zones are always interesting. Very often they are used to demonstrate installation techniques for certain types of products, such as entrance matting, tiles and so on. This is one area COBA Flooring is very passionate about – mainly because where possible, our entrance matting systems and commercial flooring products are developed for easier installation, helping to the make the flooring contractor’s job an easier task.
Our Premier range of PVC/carpet interlocking entrance tiles are a good example of an ‘easy installation’ design, as are our new Tough-Lock Naturals – luxury vinyl ‘on-trend’ tiles that really do look like ceramic or ‘terrazzo’ but are loose laid and don’t require any adhesive for speedy installation.
There is also the Trends Hub at The Flooring Show which will feature cutting edge flooring materials, among many other things! We like to be at the cutting edge of entrance mat design and are our commercial flooring specialists at COBA are always looking for new innovations.
One of our own recent innovations has been Premier Surface, an ingenious entrance matting system that does not require a matwell. With ‘impact-resistant’ bevelled edges and corners, it is ideal for heavy–duty use and can withstand the weight of supermarket trolleys. In fact, we developed it with the feedback from a major supermarket and we are delighted with its performance in such environments. While being functional in trapping dirt and moisture, it looks very smart too and features hardwearing nylon carpet inserts. Another bonus is that Premier Surface has good environmental credentials; the PVC base tile is manufactured from 100% recycled materials. We’ve produced a video on it for those who want to know more about Premier Surface.
Please browse our website to view COBA’s very own ‘Flooring Show’.
GET TO GRIPS WITH SLIPS WITH COBAGRIP
The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) Slips & Trips Bulletin issued this week highlights the case of an employee who slipped on an icy floor surface in a food manufacturing business. The natural instinct for most people when falling is to reach out and grab something to save themselves. This is exactly what happened but in this case, it was some sharp equipment that ended up taking the tips of two fingers off.
Slips are so often associated with bruises and broken bones, but the reality is they can be even more serious. That is why slip-prevention in the workplace, and pedestrian areas in general for that matter, is so essential; potentially life-saving in actual fact.
Public walkways and factory walkways, ramps and steps can be made safer through the installation of COBAGRiP which features a hard wearing Silicone Carbide gritted surface that has excellent slip-resistant properties. COBAGRiP has undergone thorough testing for slip resistance and conforms to recognized industry standards: DIN 51130:2010 and BS7976-2:2010.
Manufactured from UV stabilized GRP, it is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, and is available in GRP sheets, GRP Stair Treads and GRP Stair Nosing. GRP is extremely robust making it suitable for heavy-duty installations. COBAGRiP sheets can even withstand the weight of forklift trucks.
COBAGRiP can be glued or screwed to an existing floor surface making installation relatively simple and hassle-free with minimum inconvenience.
With autumn nearly upon us now is the time to start planning for the colder months ahead. Choose from COBAGRiP Sheet (5mm or 2.4mm thick) or COBAGRiP Stair Treads and COBAGRiP Nosing with DDA compliant yellow edging.
Why take risks with floor safety when prevention is so simple? Get in touch with our sales team at COBA Flooring for further information.
HOW ENTRANCE MATTING CAN SUPPORT SLIP RESISTANT FLOORING
There are many ‘slip resistant’ commercial floorcoverings available today. The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) states that slips are the most common type of accident to members of the public, most of which are caused by contaminated floor surfaces. COBA Flooring’s Andy Gordon explains how well specified entrance matting can support the safety performance of slip-resistant flooring.
It would be easy to presume that a floorcovering described as ‘slip resistant’ is unlikely to become slippery. The problem is that’s not the case. Slip resistant products may have undergone a variety of slip tests, such as the widely recognised Pendulum test for example (considered to be the most reliable and the test recognised by the Health and Safety Executive). But it’s important to realise that while these tests are all valid, the floorcovering is only slip resistant in a factory tested environment.
The characteristics (that is, slip resistance) of the floorcovering can change during and after the installation phase, and grinding, polishing and cleaning products can all contribute to this, as can general wear. It is not just finishing and cleaning techniques that affect slip resistance properties either. Contaminants such as the ingress of dirt and moisture from the soles of people’s shoes can make proprietary slip resistant flooring products become slippery in an instant. That is a real danger in any commercial building.
The latter issue of walked-in contaminants is one of the simplest to overcome through the installation of a good quality entrance matting system. A well specified entrance matting system can support the efficacy of a slip resistant floorcovering, thus playing a major role in reducing the risk of slip and fall claims in a built environment.
Dirt contaminants from soles of shoes have two definitive adverse effects on floors:
- They leave particulates on the floorcovering which changes the nature and specification of the floorcovering, and resilient floors are made more slippery.
- They degrade floors quicker due to increased wear of ground-in particulates. In the case of safety flooring/slip resistant flooring, the product becomes less ‘slip resistant’ as the dirt particulates break down the micro roughness of the floor more quickly than if it were clean, supporting the case for ‘prevention rather than cure’.
How does this affect the users of a building?
As a floor becomes more slippery, the likelihood of slip related accidents inevitably becomes greater. Most slip resistant floorcoverings will return a Pendulum Test Value (PTV) of 36, suggesting that the risk of slipping is 1 in 100,000. However, that PTV of 36 is achieved in a factory environment. With contaminants on the floor, this can very quickly drop to 20 PTV, presenting a suggested 1 in 2 risk of slipping. At this point, the building has a serious problem!
Entrance matting can significantly alleviate this problem of walked in contaminants. Well structured entrance matting, that has an adequate walk-off length, captures the dirt and moisture at the entrance, and virtually eliminates any dirt, debris or moisture being tracked any further into the facility. People very rarely stop to wipe their feet in a public building so it’s important to factor in, not just the type of matting (such as aluminium, PVC/carpet) but also the length of matting, and whether the preferred cleaning method works best with an open or closed surface design.
All entrances throw up different challenges for specifiers. Factors such as footfall, type of contaminant, wheeled traffic and location need to be taken into consideration when specifying the correct system for a building. Get the entrance matting specification right though, and it can minimize the risk of litigation. Get it wrong and it can potentially cost a lot of money!
The HSE provides some useful guidance on ‘Assessing the slip resistance of flooring’.
Need help specifying entrance matting, or technical information about any of our aluminium systems or PVC/carpet entrance tiles? Please contact COBA Flooring.
Many of our entrance matting products are also listed in the NBS National BIM Library.
VALUE ENGINEERING – COST SAVING OR MONEY MAKING?
When it comes to entrance matting, the term ‘value engineering’ is something we are hearing more and more, from both main contractors and flooring contractors. COBA Flooring’s Business Development Manager, Andy Gordon, delves a little deeper into the true meaning of ‘value engineering’ and in particular, talks about the merits of value engineered entrance matting systems.
Say the words, ‘Value Engineering’ and we automatically presume that it comes hand-in-hand with cost cutting, the tightening of margins which can squeeze sub-contractors, and the general specification of a product that is sub-standard and not fit for purpose. This doesn’t have to be the case, especially where entrance matting is concerned.
All too often, I see over-engineered and over-specified entrance matting systems put into a bill of quantities simply because “this is what the specifier knows” and has used on their last job. Whilst a structural aluminium entrance matting system would be correctly specified for a shopping centre, it has no place in a primary school. If we take a look at the principal function of entrance matting, then we can better understand how to correctly specify an entrance mat.
Entrance matting is there to remove dirt and moisture from the soles of people’s shoes, as well as wheeled traffic whether that is wheelchairs, trolleys, or heavier loads such as pallet trucks.
Other factors that we need to consider are:
- Volume of footfall (how many people walk over the matting on a daily basis)
- Type of dirt/moisture (a school playing field entrance will bring in an entirely different type of contaminant to a school main entrance, so would require a different solution)
- The client’s cleaning and maintenance regime (do they lift the mats and clean out the wells? In which case an open tread system would be more appropriate than a closed tread system and far more efficient at collecting and trapping dirt and moisture)
- Is a one product solution correct? Can a two-step system be employed?
By understanding these basic principles, we can guide our clients down the route of a value engineering exercise that is right for them and will give them a correct solution, which will save them money not just in the initial build, but also in the built environment.
What does this mean for main contractors? By putting forward a product that is correct for that type of entrance, the risk of comeback is greatly reduced. Cleaning and maintenance regimes can be confined to proactive rather reactive, and the warranties given by other manufacturers on their flooring products can be held as watertight, rather than ‘not worth the paper they are written on!
And for flooring contractors? In terms of products offered by COBA Flooring, we have an incredibly diverse range of entrance matting which enables us to advise on the correct type of matting for your clients’ projects. By engaging with us, we can offer our expertise on the correct specification of product, and show you how to retain your margin on the job. All too often, entrance matting is left to the last minute and can be the proverbial ‘pain in the backside’ for most contractors.
From bespoke aluminium entrance systems, to interlocking PVC tiles through to bridge over products like our PathMaster Budget (featuring all the looks of aluminium but the workings of carpet matting) as well as entrance carpet for medium traffic areas, we have it all here at COBA Flooring.
Don’t forget when it comes to entrance matting, whether a main contractor or flooring contractor, we can support you with your value engineering exercises, helping you to save money and retain margins on your new build and refurbishment projects.
COBA FLOORING WELCOMES ANDY GORDON
Andy Gordon is a familiar face within the flooring industry and we are delighted to welcome him to COBA Flooring in the role of Business Development Manager.
Having worked in the flooring trade for the last 16 years’, most recently for another entrance matting company, Andy already has established many relationships with bothmain contractors and flooring contractors, as well as large retail end users.
Andy’s role at COBA Flooring, the flourishing new flooring division of matting manufacturer, COBA Europe Ltd, is to evolve sales growth for the business within the flooring and construction markets. “My end goal is to build COBA Flooring into one of the most recognised names in the entrance matting industry,” explains Andy. “COBA has its own UK based production facility for manufacturing its Premier PVC entrance tiles as well as aluminium entrance matting systems in the custom made to order Plan range, which allows us to offer a level of service over and above our contemporaries.”
Andy goes on to say, “entrance matting is a niche market within the flooring trade and there are specialist flooring contractors who I want to work with, to build a solid base for taking the business forward. I am looking to establish B2B relationships with flooring contractors throughout the UK, as well as talking to main contractors, architects and specifiers.”
He also points out that COBA flooring can efficiently support live projects, with the ability to offer alternative products with competitive prices and lead times.
When asked how he will be helping contractors and specifiers, Andy says: “As entrance matting manufacturers, it is our job to advise the flooring contractor, specifier or builder on the correct solution for their project. All too often entrance matting can be over-engineered or under-specified, which leaves the end user with an unworkable situation.”
Andy is extremely enthusiastic about his role and the product range offered by COBA Flooring. “The product offering from COBA is excellent,” he says. “COBA is a very forward thinking, innovative company and significantly, headquartered in the UK. Plans are already in motion for new products to grow and diversify the business, and I’m really looking forward to helping COBA Flooring achieve this.”
He will be actively making appointments to visit customers throughout the UK and will be predominantly field-based. To request a call from Andy, please contact him using the details below:
Telephone: 0116 240 1161 or 07860 917 712
LinkedIn: Connect with me via Linkedin
INTERVIEW WITH CHRIS STANLEY
With nearly 20 years at COBA, Chris Stanley talks about his progression through the company and ultimately his role today as Sales Director of COBA Europe and specifically its newly launched COBA Flooring division.
A bit of background…
Chris Stanley initially joined COBA Plastics as UK National Accounts Manager in 1996 for what was then the Matting Division. He quickly progressed to become Sales Manager in 2000. (At that time, COBA Europe had not been launched, and both the Matting and Extrusion business operations traded under the COBA Plastics banner.)
COBA Europe Ltd was launched in 2007 on the back of increased market share in both the industrial safety flooring and commercial entrance matting markets. The launch of COBA Europe Ltd coincided with the completion of modern purpose-built offices and a new matting manufacturing and warehousing facility adjacent to the COBA Plastics building.
Chris was promoted to Sales Director of COBA Europe in 2011 and has responsibility for both the industrial and commercial flooring business in the UK, alongside Managing Director, Richard Cooke. Earlier this year, in 2014, a specialist flooring division was launched in direct response to COBA’s growing commercial entrance matting business trading as COBA Flooring.
“COBA’s matting business really came of age in 2007 and it was certainly a milestone moment when we broke away from COBA Plastics and moved into a new purpose-built COBA Europe facility,” says Chris. “Our business had started in the industrial safety sector and today COBA is undoubtedly a leader in this market, which is still very important to us and one that we continue to build on.”
When asked about how COBA became so involved with the commercial flooring sector, Chris explains:
“Over the years, our range expanded to include loose lay entrance mats. This was really by the request of our distributors and also through connections we had established with floor mat and carpet manufacturers worldwide. So the progression to entrance matting systems really seemed quite natural and we could see great potential for the business.”
What’s happening now…
“We are heavily involved with further developing the commercial entrance matting side of our business under our new COBA Flooring brand,” says Chris. “We have customised our brand to deliver a bespoke, specialist service to our flooring customers, working alongside them on both new build and refurbishment projects. This is probably one of the biggest changes we have made to our COBA Europe business model and while we are still relatively new in this market, we are already making a favourable impression on the industry.”
Chris goes on to explain that COBA Flooring is in the process of recruiting additional people for this specific task including a dedicated Account Manager.
“We now have two internal business development co-ordinators, one for the South of England and Wales, and one for North of England and Scotland, both of whom are working with architects, specifiers, flooring contractors and main contractors.”
How COBA Flooring helps…
“It is our aim to give our customers, whether they are involved with the planning stages or at the end of the project, as much product support as possible. So whether the customer is an architect or specifier, a main contractor or flooring contractor, our internal sales team can lend their support and give product advice,” says Chris. “We supply samples, quotes and can accompany customers on site visits, and we are always very willing to get involved during the specification stage. We also provide detailed technical datasheets which our customers find useful.”
Chris also comments on the growing trend for value engineering in design and build.
“Entrance matting can be one of the final elements to a construction project and sometimes flooring contractors deviate from the original specification usually as a result of cost saving initiatives. We can very often accommodate this as we carry stock, manufacture in-house in the UK and have a range of price competitive off-the-shelf and custom made solutions.”
How COBA Flooring stands out from the crowd…
“COBA Flooring offers a choice of quality entrance matting products that are very competitively priced in the market, and we manufacture here in the UK. Our product offering is straight forward (user-friendly if you like!) and that’s one of the reasons why more and more flooring contractors are favouring our range, and we are developing very good working relationships as a result of this,” says Chris. “We already offer good lead times, but we are looking to reduce these further for stocked product. And we have to mention, that we have a great working environment, offices and facilities, and we welcome customers to our premises.”
There has been much publicity in the media about the Government’s construction strategy for BIM (Building Information Modelling) implementation and how it will affect the supply chain. A key focus for COBA Flooring is adding entrance matting products to the BIM library.
“We are really keen to stay ahead of developments so naturally we are keen to be involved in such a programme. Getting our entrance matting products listed within the BIM library is important.”
In terms of new products, the plan.a custom made to order aluminium entrance matting system is really making an impression. “We didn’t previously offer an aluminium option but we listened to flooring contractors during the development phases of our plan.a system,” explains Chris. “Based on their feedback, we have developed plan.a to offer the option of both open and closed construction (depending on preference). For flooring contractors, it’s easy to install and can be rolled back and adjusted if needed. It’s manufactured by COBA in the UK and is competitively priced.”
Premier Surface is also another innovation developed by COBA Flooring as a heavy duty surface laid solution for entrances that do not have recessed matwells. “We spent some considerable time developing this product, and its design is based on the success of our PVC/carpet tile range and feedback from the retail sector. It’s really where the end user requires a professional surface laid installation for areas that don’t have matwells. Our Premier Surface product is very effective, smart and easy for flooring contractors to install without preparation of an existing floor surface, or the need for the construction of a recessed matwell. This product is super-resilient and can even withstand the weight of supermarket trolleys. It has already been approved for use by one of the supermarket giants.”
Chris likes most about the job…
“Well, I think we have a great product range and a great team to start with! I really like the versatility of the job, meeting new people in the industry and developing new business. I especially enjoy my annual trip to Domotex where I can have the opportunity to catch up with business acquaintances over a few beers! It’s an extremely exciting time for COBA Flooring, and the COBA Europe business as a whole.”
THE MATERIAL WORLD OF ENTRANCE MATTING
Selecting the right entrance matting for any building whether commercial or domestic, can make a world of difference when it comes to performance, durability and value for money. Much of that ‘performance’ is attributed to the materials from which entrance mats are made. Having an insight into various materials’ characteristics can be helpful when specifying entrance matting to make sure it can stand up to the job!
Some materials wick away moisture more effectively than others and have inherent quick drying properties; some fibres retain their structure making them more crush-resistant, while other materials are by their very composition, simply more durable.
The manufacturing technique can also make a difference such as ‘tufting’, ‘weaving’ or ‘needle punch. Some entrance matting is made from a combination of materials to give it a multi-action performance. You will notice that many entrance mats feature strips of different materials – some strips will scrape, some strips will brush, some strips will wipe moisture.
There are some important factors to take into consideration when planning a public entrance. Entrance matting in commercial buildings should also accommodate wheelchair access in line with the Equality Act 2010 so any material that is very soft, or that has too deeper pile is not generally deemed suitable for this. Matting is usually installed in recessed matwells for this reason to allow it to fit flush to the floor surface. If a matwell is not feasible and there is no option but to lay to surface, then it can also have bevelled ‘ramped edging’ to overcome this problem of wheeled access, while also minimizing trip hazards.
While understanding the most common materials used for entrance mats is not the proverbial ‘rocket science’, it is a little more complex than first meets the eye. It is helpful for architects, specifiers and facilities managers to have a basic understanding. COBA Europe offers the following advice.
Popular Surface Materials:
Nylon is a synthetic fibre and is very much regarded as the ‘creme de la creme’ of entrance matting materials, usually with a higher price point to reflect this. There are many types of nylon, such asPolyamide for example, which is a common material for heavy duty entrance matting. That is why it is popular for areas such as shopping centre entrances or public travel, where high levels of footfall are normal. It has a luxurious feel that ‘brushes and scrapes’ and offers some of the best resiliency of all carpet materials through good crush resistant properties. It is a material that is hard to impregnate, therefore more stain and fade resistant making it easier to maintain that ‘as new’ condition. The other benefit of nylon entrance matting is its ability to dry quickly – there’s nothing worse or less effective than a soggy doormat! Used for indoor locations only. COBA Europe’s Premier Track Tiles and Atrium carpet are examples of nylon entrance matting.
Derived from a thermoplastic polymer, entrance matting with Polypropylene fibres such as COBA’s Needlepunch and Premier Plus Tiles, are very popular as the fibres give an effective scraping action due to their abrasive texture. This makes it an especially good performer when it comes toscraping dry dust. Entrance matting manufactured from Polypropylene fibres is generally durable and frequently used for ‘zoned’ areas, or used in longer lengths as dirt-barrier runners in reception areas for maximum floor protection. It is also normally a lower cost alternative to nylon entrance mats and its versatility and durability makes it popular for retail, offices, hotels and leisure.
Coir is the epitome of the traditional door mat, which today has been overtaken by more modern materials for commercial entrance areas. It is a natural material derived from the husks of coconut shells, which being coarse to the touch gives coir its bristly ‘brushing’ properties. Coir does not have the quickest of drying properties and is prone to soiling. While still popular for domestic use in its ‘door mat’ form, coir is frowned upon for commercial buildings because it is not wheelchair friendly.
Another natural fibre, cotton has many advantages when used for doormats in indoor domestic situations. Rather like a towel, it soaks up moisture and is renowned for its absorbency and quick-drying properties. It is ideal for wet, oily, or grease carrying moisture but not so good for dry dust and dirt. Cotton pile has a tendency to flatten but can normally be washed which restores it to its former self. Many of the cotton doormats, such as COBA’s Dirt Trapper, are suitable for domestic washing machines and can be washed at 40?C making cleaning a hassle-free task. While its performance in the home for light duty use is unquestionable, unfortunately cotton cannot stand the rigours of commercial use.
Microfibre is a synthetic material made from extremely fine individual fibres that are split to be even thinner than the human hair – usually 1.0 denier or smaller. Different fibres can be used to produce microfibre, but most commonly in entrance mats it is polypropylene and nylon (polyamide) yarn. The term ‘microfibre’ is used to describe the yarn’s fineness – there is microfibre and ultra microfibre. The huge benefit of microfibre is its amazing absorbency thanks to its increased surface area. The star shaped structure of the miniscule micro-fibres creates a capillary effect that traps moisture and dirt with exceptional efficiency. And the fact that it is so soft, flexible and fine, means it penetrates all those hard to reach areas on footwear and wheel treads that conventional materials cannot touch. Not only is it unsurpassed in trapping moisture – even more efficient than cotton – it is also delivers great performance in scraping and trapping dirt and debris. In fact, movement on a microfibre mat’s surface creates a static charge that effectively attracts dirt and debris, and the particles are contained within the pile until it is vacuum cleaned. Another bonus of microfibre is itsquick-drying properties – incredibly it dries in a third of the time of cotton mats. It is also durable and despite being soft to the touch, won’t lint or fluff. Machine washable, it is renowned for its anti-bacterial benefits.
Natural Rubber / Nitrile Rubber
Rubber (especially Nitrile Rubber) is suitable for heavy duty outdoor entrance areas. Unlike PVC, rubber is not prone to cracking. When it comes to rubber door mats, there are many choices in design – some feature open holes, while others have a textured solid surface. Opened holed rubber door mats are effective dirt-scrapers and allow the debris to fall through the mat. Rubber door mats have good non-slip characteristics. They are generally quite heavy and therefore stay in place well on the ground. Rubber can be ‘Natural Rubber’ coming from the Rubber Tree or synthetic as ‘Nitrile Rubber (NBR)’ – the addition of nitrile gives greater resistance to heat and a longer lifespanin oily or greasy conditions. Compounds can vary so the more nitrile, the better the performance. Nitrile has the ability to withstand a range of temperatures from -40 °C to +108 °C. However, Natural Rubber is more flexible than its synthetic counterpart. ‘Recycled Rubber’ is also used for some entrance mat products.
Popular Backing Materials:
Nitrile Rubber (Synthetic Rubber)
Nitrile backing is very popular (especially in the rental market) as it withstands laundering well. It is also more impervious to oils and chemicals, with better heat (flammability) resistance than natural rubber. On the whole, Nitrile backed matting should have a longer lifespan. Nitrile rubber backing tends to stay in place better on smooth floors.
PVC (polyvinyl chloride plastic), sometimes termed ‘Vinyl’, is the lower cost option but care has to be taken where the matting is situated as it is not suitable for very cold environments. Harsh climatic conditions can eventually make PVC brittle and prone to cracking.
Obviously reputable manufacturers and suppliers should always be there to give technical advice but it is always useful to have some background knowledge!