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FuturaForm - GRP tactile surfaces made using RTM technology

News International-French

14 Feb 2013

FuturaForm company develops many products dedicated to disabled people.

The most important condition to help disabled people take part in everyday life is to have unobstructed living space. They should be able to benefit from all the services and advantages of everyday life, just like everyone else. Many products have been specifically developed for disabled people. One example that is attracting a lot of attention is tactile surfaces, which make life easier for people with visual impairments by allowing them to move safely and independently, especially in public places. Tactile surfaces are bumpy-textured surfaces that help people find their way through touch sensations, alerting them to places where they should turn or where there is an obstacle in their path.

First applications
Seiichi Miyake developed tactile surfaces in Japan in 1965. The first application was on the public road near Okayama’s Visually Impaired School. At that time, with the development of rail systems, these surfaces were being applied on station platforms in order to prevent people from falling down. After Japan, the surfaces started to be used in other countries. In the USA, the old ANSI A117.1-1960 and ANSI 177.1-1980 standards were revised to include these tactile surfaces in 1980. In England, a report on texture coatings for visually impaired pedestrians was issued by the British Transport and Road Research Laboratory in 1983.

International standards
Later, other countries started to draft their own standards in this field. No international standards have yet been issued, even though improper applications can cause serious difficulties and danger for disabled people.

In Europe, Futuraform Composites Co. has used RTM technology to develop improved tactile surfaces made of glass fibre reinforced plastics (GRP), and these have been put into service for people with visual impairments. The company's tactile surface products are quickly snapped up by the industry.

References for tactile surface applications:

  • ­   Adapazari Municipality, Turkey: 2,500 metres of sidewalk finished, 6,000 metres still ongoing
  • ­   Istanbul Municipality, Turkey: 5,000 metres of subway application still ongoing
  • ­   Istanbul Municipality, Turkey: 5,000 metres of ferry-station application still ongoing
  • ­   Istanbul Municipality, Turkey: 500-metre application in Bagdat Street finished
  • ­   Casablanca Airport, Morocco: 2,500 metres still ongoing
  • ­   Several hospital applications have been finished
  • ­   Istanbul Traffic Education Park: 1,000 metres, still ongoing

The advantages of GRP tactile surfaces include:

  • Easy application;
  • Reparability;
  • High tensile, compression, impact, fatigue and strength properties;
  • Wide range of colours and shapes;
  • Best acoustic performance in providing sound cues for people with visual impairments.

FuturaForm company is a subsidiary company of POLIN Waterparks Company

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