GRP (Glass Reinforced Plastic) is fast becoming the preferred alternative to traditional steel work in many applications. Industrial flooring, stairs, walkways and platforms have been constructed using steel mesh panels for many years and, in the absence of any real competition, has been successful. However, the GRP alternatives are flying up the ratings in the battle to lead this market.
So what is GRP? Fibreglass is no stranger to most people and is encountered frequently in everyday life but what sets it apart from steel is the variety of applications it can be used for and the environments it can be used in. Its construction is fairly simple – continuous strands of glass are set into a mould and a resin is added and cured. The resin is then cured and the chemical reaction within it, along with the reinforcement of the glass fibres, gives it exceptional strength at a relatively light weight.
What does it have that STEEL doesn’t? Aside from its more impressive strength to weight ratio there are a number of other advantages in GRP’s corner:
LIGHTWEIGHT: On average, GRP is 75% lighter than Steel giving it huge advantages in the construction industry – particularly for roof work!
LONG LIFE: GRP is non corrosive and therefore virtually maintenance free in most conditions. It allows it to be used in area’s and industries where steel has a low shelf life. You can expect GRP to last 25 years and more dependent on conditions.
VERSATILITY: GRP can be finished with a gritted surface to give it fantastic anti slip qualities. The coarseness of the grit can be varied to suit the environment in which it will be used from coarse for heavy industrial use to fine for area’s where people may walk on it in bare feet – such as pontoons. Or just leave it smooth! GRP can also be produced in any colour so the sky is limit with regards to design and integration.
NON CONDUCTIVE: By nature it will not conduct electricity meaning it can be used in areas where steel would be shocking!
MANIPULABLE: Quick and easy to cut with a variety of non specialist tools the product can be shaped on site or in the factory to produce the perfect fit with no hot work required!
STABILITY: From a pricing point of the view GRP doesn’t suffer from the financial yo-yoing of steel cost so the pricing remains relatively stable. It also has the huge advantage of a low resale value so once fitted, it is not likely to be ‘unfitted’ and sold to an underhand scrap dealer!!
So there are a few reasons why more and more people are turning to GRP as the material of choice across a wide range of industries.
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