Another day in the office and I receive yet another telephone call from a sales rep asking if he can come in and show me a “great new product” called Iobac. Not another ‘me too’ product I thought, but seeing as it was 3M I agreed to let him come down, mainly because he always brings in cakes (so if you are a rep trying to make an appointment you know what to do). Tuesday morning, 11 ‘o’ clock came and 3 men in suits turn up at my office (it must be important for 3 people to turn up), maybe this is not just another ‘me too’ product after all. 3M usually only produce market leading innovative products for the rail, gas and water industries, so lets see what they have to offer this time.
After the usual chit chat about what we have all been doing in the rain this summer we got down to business. The product, Iobac, was not something I had ever heard of, but 3M have been developing it for the past 5 years with Ian Spreadborough and yes this was a completely new product, extremely simple so why had nobody thought of it before?
What is Iobac?
The easiest way of describing Iobac is to think of a fridge magnet. Now if you attached this to the bottom of a carpet tile or luxury vinyl flooring and then made the floor magnetic, HEY PRESTO! No need for glue to hold the floor covering down and if you want to change it, you can simply lift it up and replace it with an alternative. Working closely with Interface (the world’s largest carpet tile manufacturer), both companies have a commitment through Mission Zero to eliminating any negative environmental impact it might have on the environment by 2020. The company offers a wide range of carpet tile designs that can be supplied with a magnetised backing for IOBAC installation. Surely nobody is going to want this though, glue works perfectly well. Why reinvent the wheel, there must be some benefits?
Benefits of using Iobac
Well there are several benefits. When you lift carpet tiles or vinyl flooring up the glue sticks to the back of the floor covering rendering it useless. You then have to dispose of it rather than recycling it and this means more cost, a skip and new floor coverings. Also when you lift the floor covering the glue tends to damage the floor lifting where any self-leveling compound that may have been used and can even cause damage to the screed. All this means is more time to rectify the floor before a new covering can be laid and we all know time is money. So you ask why is Iobac different? Well the concept is to apply a liquid coating to the floor slab that is magnetic so that the magnet on the underside of the floor covering can stick to it, when you lift it no damage, yes it is that simple, well what do you expect this is 3M the makers of Post It Notes, well they feel that Iobac is likely to be larger than Post It Notes. I was still not convinced who is going to want this product, why will they want it ?
More Than Just Domestic Use
Well I was only thinking about domestic applications but the real areas where Iobac comes into its own is commercial applications such as airports, retail stores and offices. In fact Heathrow Airport as well as retail giants such as Sainsbury’s and Boots have been trialling it over the past 3 years and are extremely impressed with the concept and intend to roll this truly unique and simple idea out in many areas. Peacocks are doing a trial and providing it is successful (we already know it is as Heathrow Airport have tried it for 3 years now) they intend to roll this technology throughout the stores UK wide. One piece of the jigsaw I overlooked was if the floor is that easy to lift and easily replaced what if you had an area where you are able to insert adverts ! Just think of the revenue you could produce from the floor.
Walk through the doors of Sainsbury’s and see a special offer larger than life right in front of you. You could even lead people through the store with other adverts to the areas and product you want them to see. Marks and Spencer are looking at the possibility of changing the floor covering be it a hard surface or carpet tiles. Think of the benefits a warm colour and soft feel during the winter to make you feel cosy and maybe a covering that reflects a beach or decking during summer months, the possibilities are endless. I recently had a telephone conversation with the property manager at Pizza Hut where Iobac was discussed and a meeting has been arranged for a presentation to be made. Iobac really is the win win solution saving time and money and sales are not just UK wide but worldwide.
For more information on Iobac or any of the other products distributed by Promain please contact our Technical Team on 01462 421333 who will be happy to help.