The Revolution in Poland's Construction Materials Market - Wacker Chemie AG


The Revolution in Poland's Construction Materials Market

The Start of a Partnership

The old city of Łódź, where Atlas is now based, reflects the splendor of the 19th century.

It was not long before Atlas came to the attention of WACKER as a potential customer. “At that time, Atlas was an ambitious producer of building materials that insisted on high quality and the latest technology from the beginning,” recalls Dariusz Biesiekierski, sales manager at WACKER. For its part, too, Atlas was interested because it realized immediately that VINNAPAS® polymer binder was a winner. Shortly after, in 1993, WACKER dispatched its first truck-load of redispersible polymer powder to Łódź. Thus began a trusting collaboration that has endured to this day. “Our premise was always that the Polish tile adhesive must be just as good as, if not better than, the imported product. And it still is today,” says Atlas board member Dr. Michalak.

One reason for this is surely the dispersible polymer powder which it contains. It takes no more than four percent VINNAPAS® in the mortar for a stable bond to be formed between the tile and the wall. The vinyl acetate and ethylene co-polymers contained in the VINNAPAS® impart flexibility to the otherwise rather brittle mortar, enabling the hardened building material to absorb minor stresses that arise between the substrate and the tile. “That enhances the bond between tile, mortar and substrate,” explains Dr. Schneider.

Polymer-modified dry-mix mortars also exhibit better water retention – they are easier to process and will not dry out so quickly. This property, in union with those of the polymer, improves the mechanical properties of the hardened product, namely greater load-bearing strength and abrasion resistance.

You Can Rely on WACKER

The technical centers put WACKER products through their paces – here, a bent strip test is performed on polymer-modified tile adhesive according to the flexible mortars standard EN 12002.

Finally, VINNAPAS® polymer powder saves on material: conventional tiling requires more than ten kilograms of adhesive per square meter, but only one-third as much polymer-modified dry-mix mortar is needed for tiling the same area by the thin-bed technique.

WACKER has now delivered more than 60,000 metric tons of VINNAPAS® to Atlas and, if chief purchaser for the Atlas Group, Dorota Domanska, gets her way, thousands more tons will follow. “Not once in all the 23 years we have been working together have we been left in the lurch. WACKER is the embodiment of punctuality, reliability and, especially, flexibility,” she stresses.

Even in difficult times, WACKER has always stood by Atlas. In 1997, for instance, production threatened to come to a halt because another manufacturer of dispersible polymer powder was experiencing delivery problems. But, with no fuss, WACKER made up for the shortfall – and thereby helped to keep production running.

Polymer binders from WACKER provide tile adhesives with optimum adhesion.

25 years after its foundation, Atlas is one of the most successful manufacturers of construction materials in this Central European country. “We are the market leader in Poland,” says Dr. Michalak. The company kept expanding its product range over the years – and in so doing succeeded in stimulating demand for construction chemicals too. Modern construction and tile adhesives, external thermal insulation composite systems, self-leveling compounds and fillers or plasters and repair mortars – our binders are an important ingredient of all these construction materials,” adds Dr. Schneider.

Atlas meanwhile also purchases other products from WACKER: SILRES® and SREP® silicone resins and silicone fluid emulsions from WACKER are used for waterproofing exterior paints, masonry coatings, primers and plasters. And Atlas' indoor wall paints contain waterborne polymer emulsions from the Munich-based chemical company.