Innovative use of vinyl has created TechBoard, a new vinyl scaffolding plank designed to last longer and provide much lower life-cycle costs than timber-based planks.
Developed by Tech Plas Extrusions Pty Ltd, a long-time member of the sustainability-focused Vinyl Council of Australia, the revolutionary plank’s lower costs make it an economic and environmental choice for the scaffolding, building and access industries.
Lightweight, recyclable and durable, TechBoard is made with a robust PVC hexagonally reinforced structure, making them impervious to weather and water. This makes maintenance and storage much easier by removing the costly requirements for undercover storage and drying.
Andrew Swann, Research and Development Manager at New South Wales-based Tech Plas, explains how five years of intensive research and development has resulted in ‘an ideal timber alternative’ for the construction and access sectors.
He says: “TechBoard is easier and safer to handle, offering weight savings of up to 40% per plank. Given standard use, upon a new plank purchase with an existing customer, we aim to recover the used boards after five years for recycling, thereby reducing environmental impact. Our intended recycling process leaves a clear carbon trail for sustainability.”
Tech Plas, a specialist in custom complex extrusions, was one of the first signatories to the Council’s PVC Stewardship Program established more than 17 years ago. One of the Program’s commitments is to apply life cycle thinking to the development of new products, which the company was able to show it did. As Andrew puts it, they are “smart people doing smart things with plastic”.
Within the Australian and New Zealand scaffold industry the use of timber LVL (Laminated Veneer Lumber) boards is commonplace despite being utilised in environments to which they are not compatible. This results in nearly one million m3 of damaged boards going to waste annually and significantly reduced longevity. “Such a staggering amount of waste led us to create our own industry-specific solution with sound environmental credentials,” says Andrew.
TechBoard is made from PVC and can be readily recycled at end-of-life and used to make new ones. TechBoard meets all relevant ANZ and international standards, including AS/NZS 1577:2013.
Sophi MacMillan, Chief Executive of the Vinyl Council of Australia, comments: “Vinyl is a durable and long-life material that makes it an excellent sustainable choice for all types of building products. Durability is important as a longer lasting product reduces material use and PVC can be recycled at end of life.”
Sophi MacMillan Vinyl Council of Australia 1.02 Junction Business Centre 22 St Kilda Road St Kilda VIC 3182 03 9510 1711 www.vinyl.org.au
The Vinyl Council of Australia is the peak association for the vinyl, or PVC, value chain in Australia. Its purpose is to enhance the industry's opportunities for growth through sustainable development.