The first British Standard assessment was achieved by Aithon Ricerche more than 25 ago.
It was 1990, and the assessment, issued by WFRC, regarded a thin film, water borne intumescent coating for steelwork that achieved 90 minutes.
At that time the steelwork fire protection market was dominated by solvent based coatings, and the few water born intumescents could not match with the performance of solvent based products. Based on our experience on water based intumescents we believed that this was possible, and in fact our formula achieved equivalent performance to solvent based competitors.
Herberts (Hoechst Group), an international leader in reactive coatings at that time, decided to acquire the world-wide licence of the formula, which remained in production for 13 years.
In 1996 another license of an improved water based intumescent was acquired in 1996 by our British customer Quelfire Ltd, it was tested at the Warrington laboratory and marketed as Quelcote; but the production in this case remained in our facility.
In 1997 Isolatek, one of the major American players in the passive fire protection field, asked us to formulate a water based intumescent coating able to achieve 2hrs rating according to UL 263. The target was ambitious, since at that time only ALBI could achieve that performance, but only on some mid-size steel profile, and including a fiberglass mesh into the paint film. Nonetheless in 2000 the target was achieved on the full range of steel profiles, hollow sections included, and on some profile it achieved 3 hours, with no need of fiberglass mesh. The formula was marketed with the name Sprayfilm WB3 and WB4 and manufactured in Boston and in Taiwan, while in England was tested according to BS 476 and produced by Cafco UK, at that time sister company of Isolatek.
During all the ‘90s we have been focused on research and fire testing, leaving our licensees free to market the products with their brands.
But in 2001 Aithon Ricerche decided to begin to work for itself, approaching the markets with the AITHON brand, quite unknown at that time. At the beginning the sales were concentrated in the home market, but the diffusion of the European Standards offered the opportunity to expand the business; the company became Aithon Ricerche International, much time have been spent in research of new intumescent systems and in the development of completely new products, and the results of the European tests were encouraging. We decided to focus on concrete and timber fire resistance, the fields where we are still investing more, and now the AITHON brand is present in a growing number of European countries.