Ferrari theme park in Abu Dhabi
The Arab Emirates are heading for their following superlative: Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi, a new theme park, which is being delivered in November 2009. A red Ferrari is the dream of every young man and only becomes reality for very few. For Euramax, the challenge sat mostly in applying the right colour of Ferrari red to thousands of metres of painted aluminium roofing and façade cladding. Not that simple an assignment. Because the red colour, which is strongly related to the Ferrari image, has to remain colour-fast in this extreme climatic environment.
Extreme temperature fluctuations
The theme park has been built on the newly constructed artificial island Yas, in which 40 billion dollars have been invested. Golf courses, a yacht harbour, residential areas and hotels will be built on the island. To assure mobility, a 10-lane motorway will be built and parking facilities for 30,000 cars will be provided, since Ferrari World lies directly next to the airport of Abu Dhabi. “When you arrive by air, you can already see the red eye-stopper from the aircraft. It is clear that this distinctive building will become the standardbearer of Abu Dhabi”, says Peter Mesman, project manager for the Ferrari theme park at Euramax. “Red is an extremely difficult colour for roofs and façades, especially in surroundings with an extreme climate such as that of the Arab Emirates. Abu Dhabi lies in a desert-like environment and immediately adjacent to the sea. Red is the most difficult colour to maintain, when it is subjected to high UV radiation”, explains Peter Mesman. There is also a large difference in temperatures between day and night in the Emirates. It is boiling hot and dry during the day, when hot and dusty air streams in from the desert. Then it cools off quite strongly at night, due to the colder and humid sea air. “The deep red colour will fade and blanch quickly, due to the high UV radiation of strong sunshine. But not only sunlight has a negative influence on the roof. The combination of sand, sea, wind and the formation of condensation, which occurs at night because of the cooler air, will have just as much of a negative impact on the roof. Our technicians have therefore developed a special painting system, which assures that the enamel on the façades and roofs remains colour-fast under these climatic circumstances.
4-layers of paint represent a very work-intensive manufacturing process. Paul van der Vijgh, Marketing Manager at Euramax, explains that there are actually more steps required in the production process, to be able to produce a 4-layered paint surface. “With this system, Euramax offers a 15 year guarantee on colour-fastness of the coil-coated aluminium. A close co-operation with the paint manufacturer is therefore highly important. And the enamel that has been applied to these plates must also meet this guarantee. Nevertheless, the colour will deviate somewhat after 15 years. A small colour deviation occurs almost always in the long-term. “This will, however, remain very limited and within the agreed tolerances”, adds Van der Vijgh. “There are some methods available for measuring the maximum colour deviation. In any case, we do not want any colour deviation at all. If the colour should deviate too much, then the guarantee conditions will apply; something we want to avoid at all costs. That is the reason why we are exceedingly meticulous in selecting suppliers and co-operating parties.” Chemetall provided the chemical pre-treatment products to Euramax. Ton de Kon, Key Account Manager of Chemetall says: “For a good paint system, it is of course highly important that the right chemical pre-treatment is applied, for preventing corrosion and assuring that the paint adheres properly.”
Mike Lewis is the Associate Director at Benoy Architects in Abu Dhabi and the designer of the Ferrari World building, a project on which he has worked for three years. Benoy Architects is well-known for large-scale projects in the leisure area, including amusement parks. Lewis’ expertise lies primarily in the design of buildings with special roofs. “The emphasis in this design was on the brand Ferrari, which plainly had to be the focus of attention”, says Lewis. “And we have been completely successful in that!” Lewis explains that the greatest challenge was presented by the scope of the project, and especially how to communicate this to the construction team. “The building is so gigantically large. It is almost impossible to conceive, if you have not seen it from close up. It appeared an absolute necessity to inform all the members of the construction team each day about the size of the project. If only to prevent that people would literally and actually lose their way.” ‘Trust’ is, according to Lewis, the basis for such a large project. “It is a very nice experience to have talented and dedicated people around you, who are capable of handling the work, and to whom you can entrust complicated tasks. In this regard, this project has been an especially pleasant co-operation.”
Lewis sees the building as a skyline landmark. The Ferrari World building is linked to the primary north-south axis between the racetrack and the retail centre. The view from the side, and the glowing top of the building, give the appearance of being a precise model of the timeless Ferrari. He explains that the roof determines the form of the Ferrari World building, whereby one departed from a simple triangular roof under which the attractions are situated. “The main building has three angles of 120 degrees. The three projecting tentacles split into two points at their end. In the middle of the roof one finds a funnel-shaped shaft that is open at the upper end, which also forms the central part of the main building. This shaft is a kind of orientation point, towards which all directions of the building are aligned. This funnel has a diameter of approximately 17 metres. The roof is smoothly streamlined, exactly like the engine hood of a Ferrari, running over the entire building and touching the ground with its points.”
Red colour guarantee
Peter Mesman and Mike Lewis continuously consulted with one another about the colour and the glossiness of the paint, during the preparatory period. The specifications of the colour and its release were the subject of continuous discussions. Lewis continuously presented the colour proposals to Euramax, so that a precise definition could be arrived at, for the correct Ferrari red and silver of the roof and the façade cladding. “At first sight, such a project appears to be nearly unrealisable. A building with a deep red colour and in the middle of the desert and close to the sea, it is a challenge of which an architect can only dream.” Lewis explains why they explicitly opted for Euramax. “They are the only company that was able to give us a guarantee on the red Ferrari colour. For them it was an equally gigantic project, in which they provided us with a fantastic material.”
Loek Smits, Area Sales Manager at Akzo Nobel Industrial Finishes GmbH, says that Akzo delivered the silver paint for the coil-coated metal plates of the Ferrari World theme park. “For the silver-coloured enamel, the match that Akzo presented was apparently the best. In total, we supplied 50,000 kilos of paint”, says Smits. The colour was defined together with the coil-coater. Akzo produced several batches of enamel. It is highly important that the colour remains the same from batch to batch, something that is generally rather difficult to realise with metallic enamels, but in this case it succeeded excellently. “The joint definition of a colour match indeed implies an intensive co-operation between the laboratories of the paint supplier and the coil-coating company. The actual colour is partly dependent on the number of layers, which are applied to the aluminium plates.” Akzo delivered a complete 4-layer paint system. “To be able to give a guarantee of 15 years, it is both necessary and also simpler in this case to provide the entire 4-layer build-up”, says Smits. “Four layers were applied to the front of the plates, coming to a total of 60 micron, while the backside was covered with three layers to a total thickness of 40 micron. “The first two layers are a corrosion-resistant primer and a basecoat, which function as a barrier layer. After this follows a metallic layer that provides colour and a last clearcoat layer, which protects against abrasion through sand and UV radiation. The backside, by the way, also becomes visible at many locations of the Ferrari building, and it is therefore also exposed to extreme climatic circumstances. That is the reason why the backside was provided with a 3-layer paint system”, says Smits. Akzo has been involved in this project since January of 2008. “A large number of advance preparatory discussions and deliveries of paint occurred”, says Smits. “The ordering parties strongly insisted on the availability of a suitable repair system, so that any damages that occurred during the assembly could be immediately repaired on-site. We were also able to fulfil this requirement more than adequately. Within this project, the many and intensive discussions concerned primarily the choice of a system, the layer thicknesses, colour, paint volumes and guarantees. In view of the scope of the project, this is a logical and self-evident consequence.”
Akzo is proactively engaged in protecting the environment and with propagating a green philosophy. This means that Akzo wants to prevent the presence of hazardous substances in topcoats as much as possible. Heavy metals, such as lead, will no longer be used as a raw material for coatings. “To be able to deliver a certain colours, compromises will have to be made in the future. This succeeds on the whole quite well, of course under consultation with our customers, although lead-free paints and providing long-term guarantees are not always compatible”, says Smits. Akzo would also like to ban solvents that are hazardous to human beings and the environment. An example of this is isophorone, which is used as a solvent for PDVF coatings.
The paint suppliers, Akzo Nobel and Becker Industrielack GmbH, Chemetall, the supplier on the pre-treatment chemistry, and the coil-coating company Euramax, are all members of ECCA (European Coil Coating Association). ECCA is an international non-profit organisation that has 162 members, with headquarters in Brussels. Its mission is to promote pre-painted and pre-laminated sheetmetal as an environmentally friendly, efficient and high-quality product. ECCA is a forum for the exchange of know-how and the development of educative programmes. Since its establishment in 1967, a large number of quality standards and testing methods have been developed within ECCA. In principle, these activities continue to be carried on, in view of the technological developments in the area of pre-treatment processes, paints and coil-coating in general. In addition, ECCA promotes pre-painted metal products, by supporting development in products, processing and markets.
ECCA, as an industrial network, promotes the exchange of know-how, through which production-chain dynamics and an open dialogue between partners are created in the sector. The Ferrari project is a good example of a well-oiled co-operation between different industrial sectors, whereby an optimised result was achieved on the basis of their individual expertise. ECCA strongly emphasises the environmental aspects of coil-coating. A subject that regularly comes up for discussion at ECCA meetings is the new REACH regulations for the control of hazardous substances, which have come into effect in phases since June 2007. REACH stands for Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals. This is a new European Directive that has replaced previous regulations, such as for instance the Dutch Wms legislation (Wet milieugevaarlijke stoffen = Hazardous Substances Act). The objective of REACH is to protect man and the environment against the risks of chemical substances. The reason for this new policy is that it is insufficiently known, how damaging many substances are for man and the environment, also with regard to paints for coil-coating. Within ECCA, it is discussed how the right measures can be taken within the industrial sectors, so that a safe handling of various substances can be assured.
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