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A Brazilian company called Andaluz Acessibilidade has developed an interesting system using special flooring to allow visually handicapped people to find their way around and avoid accidents.

PlasticsToday Staff

November 16, 2011

2 Min Read
Textured TPU flooring provides tactile aid to the blind

A Brazilian company called Andaluz Acessibilidade has developed an interesting system using special flooring to allow visually handicapped people to find their way around and avoid accidents.  

The system involves sticking signs or tiles to the floor, which although they are only a few millimeters high, can still be felt as people walk on them.  The tiles are made from Desmopan DP 3059D, a thermoplastic

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Textured tiles provide warning to the visually handicapped. Photo: Bayer MaterialScience

polyurethane (TPU) from Bayer MaterialScience.

Andaluz Acessibilidade sells the tactile signage system under the name Tátil Fácil. They are available with different surface structures, shapes and colors (for the vision-impaired and for normal-sighted people). "It is also possible to incorporate a further differentiation into the signs, for example for identifying access to different subway lines," says Marco Baptista, product manager at Andaluz Acessibilidade.

Target installation sites include areas in front of escalators, on railroad platforms and next to road crossings. The system is already being used in various banks, shopping centers and subway stations in Brazil. "I can well imagine applications in other regions of the world in the future," says Mathias Lauter, TPU Business Development expert at Bayer MaterialScience. "The demand for this system is considerable and the benefits are obvious."

The Desmopan TPU is used because it is abrasion and scratch-resistant, and is also resistant to many chemicals and cleaning agents. It also offers design flexibility and a five-year warranty.

Baptista says other materials were considered. With concrete signage, for example, a small area first has to be removed from the floor and the appropriate elements inserted into it. To provide the required orientation, these elements then have to be painted or covered with colored adhesive film. And studs and panels made of rubber are far less wear-resistant than TPU signs and, because of their thickness, they, too, have to be cut into the floor.

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