When Tokyo Rhino, a coatings contractor in Japan, got the call for a restaurant floor project in the Kanto region, they knew their exclusive distribution agreement with the U.S.-based Rhino Linings Corporation was the ideal match for the job.
The busy restaurant had only a 48-hour timeline to complete the project, which also included simultaneous renovations by other trades. Could this coatings crew make it happen?
The primary focus of Tokyo Rhino’s Rieko Miyatake, who served as a vital communications link and provided critical project support, was the restaurant kitchen’s central new drain system. As Miyatake explained, “The customer needed a waterproof coating for the kitchen floor, and the concrete surrounding the new drain system needed to prevent damage caused by water seeping through cracks or gaps, creating a new draining system that would ensure durability and efficiency.”
In terms of winning the project, Miyatake noted, “this small project was directly referred by our customer, so this project did not go through the bidding process.” She continued, “It should be noted that we do have the same bidding process as in the United States, but I would say that the Japanese construction market still has bidding uncertainty. For a large scale project, we have a small chance of winning the bid.”
For this particular undertaking, the biggest challenge was to complete the project within two days, including both working on the slab as well as the cinder block site. In general, as Miyatake pointed out, waterproof paint processes can take six days.
Preparation of the substrate was completed one day before priming and coating. Ultimately, Miyatake added, “because this was a working restaurant where multiple renovations were simultaneously being performed, the installation of the floor coating needed to be complete in two days so the kitchen could return to service.”
John Henningsen, international sales representative for Rhino Linings, also noted that “there was no parking for the large, track-based spray coating mechanism, so a portable cartridge gun coating was utilized as the product used was a rapid-curing polyurea lining system with no VOCs [volatile organic compounds].”
The kitchen floor was 516 square feet (48 m²), and 161 square feet (15.0 m²) of it — the drain area — needed to be prepped, primed, and cured in the agreed upon time, including both concrete slab and cinderblock as substrate to be coated. Each took approximately 5 hours to complete, utilizing 2 team members out of Tokyo Rhino’s total 8 employees.
Prior to application of the Rhino Primer 101, the concrete slab was water blasted and cleaned to remove laitance, while the cinder block was evened out by utilizing a cationic detergent and water blasting. Once the substrates were properly cleaned and leveled, the contractor covered anything that they didn’t want hit by overspray with plastic and tape and then applied the primer with roller brushes at approximately 15 mils (381 microns). The following day, the area’s walls and floor were masked off, and according to Rhino Linings, “the cartridges were heated as instructed, then the cartridges were well mixed by the Rhino Pro air-operated cartridge shaker for two minutes, then placed on the handy gun for spraying. Four cartridges of Rhino Extreme 11-50 were used for spraying the bar floor of 161 square feet [15.0 m²] at 78- to 118-mils [1,981.2–2,997.2 microns] thickness in black.” The compressor used was a 100V Meiji PAH4220V Hitachi oil-free baby compressor.
According to Miyatake, “a fast-curing polyurea spray lining was chosen because it enabled other trades to deploy all necessary installations with brisk efficiency and overcame the possibly lengthy construction delays.” Rhino Linings describes the product in the data sheet as having, “excellent tensile strength, elongation, and tear abrasion resistance, [and] it will stand up to the daily wear and tear of a commercial kitchen.”
Henningsen noted a few factors that added a layer of challenge to the project in addition to the timeline. “We needed to minimize the noise because the bar is located in a residential building. In addition, the building itself is newly built so that extraordinary care and attention were required for the work.” He added that there were environmental concerns: “the site is indeed in the middle of the Tokyo metro area where different sizes of buildings are standing. The building stands in the very complex district and also a narrow street where the working crew was forced to do pre-coating work, including the mechanical check of the compressor and the heating equipment for the cartridge in the limited area.”
And finally, safety was a factor considered by this coatings crew. Safety equipment worn by all members included goggles, dust protection masks, and helmets.
This project came with understanding both the similarities and differences between American construction and contracting industries and those in Japan. Clearly the distribution partnership between Rhino Linings and Tokyo Rhino successfully displays that the two corporate cultures can coexist. It also touches upon the unique factors that contribute to a rapidly expanding global business landscape, which has greatly benefited the coatings industry as a whole.
To check out the contractor's point of view on this project, check out this video.