Isokon is a Slovenian company from the EU, with more than 40 years’ experience in the manufacture of technical plastics. It is a member of the large group Constantina Industries group. Isokon has four main production programs: KOTERM (pressed sheets and semi-finished products), KOPLAST (extruded profiles), ISOFORM (extruded semi-finished products) and ISOTRACK (temporary access and ground protection mats).
Interview with Gregor Voh, ISOTRACK Sales, ISOKON d.o.o.
Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company?
Gregor Voh: Isokon has more than 11 years’ experience in designing and manufacturing Temporary Access and Ground Protection mats. ISOTRACK ® is Isokon’s mat program; producing a range of different mats that provide safe, cost-effective temporary trackway surfaces for year-round, all-weather performance. ISOTRACK temporary access and ground protection mats are made from high-performance thermoplastic materials. ISOTRACK® Temporary Access and Ground Protection Mats provide a tough, field proven and protective surface that can be used for any application that requires access across ground with poor ground bearing capacity, in special environments, stabilization for heavy equipment or protection of sensitive habitats. Using them can save you time and reduce costs. Our patented surface structure, ISOTRACTION® provides superior tyre traction and safety. Developed by our R&D team, the ISOTRACTION® tyre traction surface was independently tested by the Faculty for Civil Engineering, Ljubljana University and results showed us 20% better results in dry conditions and 50% better in wet and mud conditions compared to the surface structures of competitor mats.
E.E: What’s the news for 2021 about new products?
G.V: Like the vehicles and equipment that our mats support, our ISOTRACK program keeps moving forward. We continually improve our products and are active in developing new ones. In 2021 we plan to launch a new one-piece cellular core mat manufactured using our newly developed innovative and patented process.
E.E: What can you tell us about market trends?
G.V: Unfortunately, in eastern Europe, construction companies and contractors have been slow to recognize and adopt the commercial, health and safety, and sustainability advantages of using temporary access and ground protection mats. Currently, industry continues to use traditional methods of building temporary access roads and not paying attention to new technologies (using temporary access means faster installation, faster project turnaround, avoiding downtimes because of bad weather, safer working, avoiding reinstatement costs, being sustainable).
Romania is a market we know very well. Through our successful dealership partnership with local company DAVTRAX Industrial SRL, we have sold many mats in Romania in the last two years, mainly for use in the Oil&Gas and Events sectors. Although our ISOTRACK® mats can be used in many different types of projects, opportunity is frequently limited because of what is specified in project tender documents, not only in Romania but in Eastern Europe in general. Most tenders for projects requiring temporary access or work platform areas specify that these surfaces are to be made from gravel or other types of aggregates. Hence, the tender books specify the number of cubic meters of quarry stone to be supplied and costed together with all of the associated requirements such as transporting, compacting and maintenance and at the end removal of the aggregates after project completion. Our view is that tender documents should simply specify the lengths and areas of working surfaces needed for the project, together with any related performance requirements, allowing those bidding to offer different and better solutions. Together with our local partners, we continue to explain the benefits of ground protection mats to all parties involved, including project owners, structural engineers, construction companies and other stakeholders. In the near future, we want to see more and more players recognizing the long-term project delivery and commercial benefits of using ISOTRACK products.
E.E: What are the ranges of traded products?
G.V: The ranges are:
ISOTRACK L – This mat measure 2.4m x 1.2m, weighs just 36 kg and using the handholds can be easily lifted by two men for speedy deployment and connection. Up to 60 mats (170m2) per hour can be installed by two workers and a forklift driver for off-loading pallets of mats. The mat is made from high-performance thermoplastic material and can be used to provide access tracks for site workers and lighter equipment and vehicles. Isokon offers two types of connectors. Fast fit metal connectors are used when rapid deployment is needed for projects with a quick turnaround. Plastic 2-way and 4-way connectors are suitable for longer installation times.
Key types of projects and use include events, construction, light excavation works, parking access/areas and site compounds. Each mat has two different type of surface traction, providing for the safe movement of vehicles or personnel/pedestrians.
ISOTRACK H – The ISOTRACK H Mat, measuring 3m x 2,5m with a weight of 295 kg, is mostly used for supporting the movement of heavy vehicles and construction equipment. Because of its’ weight a forklift or Hiab is needed for installation. On average, 180 pieces or 1350m2 can be installed in 10 hours with two workers and a Hiab operator. Connection between mats is simple and fast. Mats are being used for loads up to 150 tons. Each mat has two different traction surfaces – rugged ISOTRACTION® for vehicles with rubber tyres and a low profile surface for steel tracks.
Main sectors using H mats: Construction and civil engineering, Oil&Gas, Mining, Transmission, Events.
ISOTRACK X – The ISOTRACK X Mat, measures 4m x 2m, and weighing 365kg. It can be used on any project requiring safe access for vehicles and workers over sites with difficult terrain and/or low ground bearing capacity (e.g. soft, swampy terrain). Its cellular core provides great compressive strength (415 t/m2) and stability whilst the overlaps provide support across and between mats. Connection is easy and quick using the 1/8th locking turn of the Four3 connector. The core cells are each filled with closed cell expanded polyethylene foam to prevent ingress of water or contaminants in the event of severe damage and puncture. Engineered for performance and strength, the interlocking mats distribute weight across a large surface area while remaining stable. ISOTRACK X can be deployed using different equipment including telehandlers, chains and hooks, vacuum lift. ISOTRACK X has two different traction surfaces, the same as ISOTRACK H.
Main sectors for ISOTARCK X mats: Construction and civil engineering, Oil&Gas, Mining, Transmission, Heavy lifting…
E.E: What estimations do you have for 2021?
G.V: ISOKON is targeting 2021 to be significantly better than 2020 as more and more major projects start to come on stream after delays due to the COVID situation. In 2021 we expect to see more growth and 20% more revenues than in 2020.
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