RLA Group has received a big boost to its technical team with the appointment of Davide Caprotti to the role of national technical manager.

“…I specialise in all cementitious products. I have formulated ceramic tile adhesives (CTAs), self-levelling cements (SLCs), repair mortars, plasters, skim coats, screeds, as well as cementitious waterproof membranes.

“I find the latter the most interesting. Waterproofing is the first protective layer in any wet area installation. It must also guarantee exceptional performance even in an aggressive environment. A great challenge for any technical team!”, he said.

Davide explains to Tile Today magazine that RLA has a specific goal over the next three years to focus on the development of new products that can deliver a major competitive advantage. The technical team under his leadership is key in developing new and innovative products for the Australian market.

“RLA will launch a new mono-component waterproofing membrane that has been successful in Europe for many years, along with a range of self-levelling products designed specifically for the flooring market,” he said.

Troy Hogan, RLA Group managing director, also told Tile Today that the company has been hard at work listening to both the applicators and the market over the past 18 months. “With a view to consolidating and launching our latest waterproofing offer to market, this has not only been just been a cosmetic change, but also drawing from our technical resources both local and internationally to make sure we have the most up-to-date and technically advanced and cost effective systems on offer to our customers.

“Obviously Davide has also played a major part in bringing the technical centre and entire range up to global standards which will see RLA lead the way with our latest one-part cementitious membrane,” he said.

In addition, the manufacturing plant in Kilsyth, Victoria has been upgraded to “allow for the most labour efficient manufacture of all RLA membranes”. The superior volume purchasing of raw materials and packaging is expected to contribute to RLA’s significance in the marketplace, according to Troy.

Davide believes It will be important for companies to create products that are environmentally-friendly and sustainable. “Waterproofing membranes find a host of applications including roofs, wet areas, water and sewage treatment plants, building foundation, retaining walls, balconies and tunnels. Growing consumer awareness regarding their advantages coupled with the introduction of materials such as geomembranes, is expected to further propel the demand over the next seven years,” he said.

“For this reason, RLA Polymers is developing its mono-component waterproofing membrane using as much of the secondary raw materials as possible. These materials are recycled or derived from other industrial processes. RLA Polymers’ primary objective is to contribute to the preservation of our planet.”

After moving to Australia less than six months ago, Davide is keen to learn about local customers and expects to be on a huge learning curve to understand the Australian business culture. “My first thoughts are that it is a young, evolving market where innovative ideas influence growth,” he said.

“The Australian building industry is slightly different from the classic European market. The differences are evident with the large variety of substrates and building practices. However, in reality, the challenges that accompany the installation, repair or renovation of a structure often turn out to be similar, especially when it comes to waterproofing.”

Since starting his role, Davide discovered a high level of technical knowledge and skills at the company. He believes this is the result of the long-standing connection with the polymer side of the business which has helped RLA to become one of the leading manufacturers of waterproofing membranes in Australia. “I am looking forward to applying my European knowledge and skills, especially in the use of project management systems, to help make RLA even more competitive and efficient,” he said.

Italy-born and educated, Davide has worked in research and development (R&D) throughout his entire working career. He started with Mapei in its Global Technical Centre in Milan for 10 years before spending the next 18 years with Kerrakol in the company’s Bologna-based head office. “Both organisations lead the world in cutting edge technology, and market-leading products and construction systems. My experience has enabled me to have a very strong understanding of formulations and the criteria needed for high performance products”, he said.

Davide said it is the “infinite desire to keep learning” that maintains his passion and interest for the industry.