In 2012 Forbo Flooring Systems was officially accepted as a supplier to Russian Railways, the world’s second largest railway network, carrying 0.95 billion passengers and 1.2 billion tonnes of freight annually across 11 time zones.
Overground trains have been fit with Emerald Standart (transport series) – a heterogeneous vinyl floor covering with a 0.7mm wear layer which provides high resistance to abrasion. Fibreglass embedded in the material structure provides the product with a high level of dimensional stability whilst a revolutionary protective PUR Pearl™ coating provides long term protection and results in a perfectly flat matt surface.
For train carriages which are used on the Saint Petersburg metro system, Smaragd Classic FR has been supplied. This tried and tested heterogeneous floor covering combines well proven performance with a refreshing range of attractive colourways. To ensure ease of cleaning and maintenance Smaragd Classic FR also features a PUR Pearl™ protective layer.
Working in close partnership with Transport Technic, a Russian distributor with extensive expertise in serving rail operators, Forbo Flooring secured the necessary certification of compliance with Russian fire safety regulations and successfully completed trials for two of its high performance commercial vinyl floor coverings – Emerald Standart and Smaragd Classic FR– both of which are manufactured in Kaluga.
Until now, over 30,000m2 of the two certified floor coverings have since been delivered to Russian Railways’ subsidiary, Moscow Locomotive Repair Works, for use in the renovation of electric train carriages as part of an ongoing fleet modernisation project.
Both products feature designs which have particularly effective soil-hiding characteristics, an essential pre-requisite of any flooring product used in a busy passenger transport environment.
Having products that were ‘fit for purpose’ was just a starting point in securing business with Russian Railways, as Mikhail Sivachev, Sales Director of Forbo Flooring, Russia & CIS commented, “To gain official supplier status with this massive state-owned joint stock company, one of Russia’s four largest businesses, employing almost a million people, it was crucial that we worked in partnership with a specialist distributor that really understood the market sector and the client well.”
He explained, “Whilst we were 100% confident of the performance of our products we had to persuade Russian Railways of their features and benefits and prove that they fully complied with all necessary fire regulations. We also had to deal with a particularly complex procurement system. Transport Technic were extremely helpful in this regard and were instrumental in our success.”
He added: “We were also able to supply our vinyl floor coverings and to offer speed and flexibility in terms of delivery, which was an important factor.”
Mikhail Sivachev concluded: “We are delighted to have forged such an effective working relationship with Transport Technic and are currently looking at additional collaborative ventures in Russia where we can combine our different strengths in order to secure new business in this vast marketplace.”
Written by Jemma Masters, Marketing – International Key Accounts