AITHON RICERCHE was founded in 1990 as fire research laboratory with the aim to develop innovative fire retardants and intumescent coatings.
At the time Massimo Falzone, its founder, had been already working as R&D director for 9 nine years in that field.
In 1990 the European standards did not exist, and every single country used a different fire testing standard. The largest and most competitive market at that time was Great Britain, particularly for steelwork fire protection; therefore AITHON RICERCHE decided to start up there, testing a new water born intumescent coating for steelwork AITHON P5 in the Warrington Fire Research Centre according to British Standard.
It was a success; that coating achieved 90 minutes fire resistance, a result out of reach until then by water based intumescents. All competitor products at that time were solvent based, and only three years later Nullifire, the world leader in the ‘90s, reached AITHON P5 performance. The manufacturing license of AITHON P5 was requested by International Paints and by Herberts, Hoechst group; Herberts also offered a research agreement for further developments, and so a world-wide license was granted to Herberts.
The cooperation with Herberts in research went on until 1994, though the license agreements continued for ten more years, and after 1994 AITHON RICERCHE developed intumescent fire protection paints and varnishes for several companies in several European countries.
In 1997 a cooperation with Cafco-Isolatek group started up and AITHON RICERCHE had the task to develop a water based intumescent coating for the US market able to achieve 120 and 180 minutes.
The project was completed in two years, and for some year it was the only intumescent coating with 2 and 3 hrs rating in USA covering all steel profiles. Now, after many years, more products are competing in the US, but that formula is still the best intumescent for 3 hours fire protection.
Promat, after taking control of Cafco Europe, wanted to renew the license agreement, that lasted until 2014.
Between 1990 and 2001 AITHON RICERCHE was just working as a research laboratory; but in the meantime, the first European standards were coming out, and this represented an attractive chance to start up marketing formulas with AITHON brand. The most interesting field was represented by timber fire protection, due to the huge amount of historical buildings with wooden structures. In Italy the Heritage Authority was afraid of ruining the appearance of ancient wood and the application of fire protection varnishes on wood structures was frequently forbidden, because of the their reputation of ugly appearance. But unfortunately, fires in historical buildings were not rare.
AITHON RICERCHE was contacted by Soprintendenza alle Belle Arti of Torino, the Italian Heritage authority, to find a solution, and a specific research program started; it took three years to find the right product.
The result was a varnish perfectly transparent, but able to expand its thin film over 200 times when exposed to fire.
The first application was in the Venaria Royal Palace, near Torino, where more than 25.000 m2 of wood trusses were treated. The result was so appreciated that the varnished, named AITHON PV33, quickly became the reference product for ancient timber fire protection, and it was required in historical buildings throughout all Italy.
Another relevant development has been the fire protection and restoration of concrete buildings, which require a very specific technical assistance, provided directly by AITHON staff.
After 2012 the export of AITHON products increased from 20% to 70-80%,
covering most of European countries, Turkey, Georgia and Australia; now the focus is on East Asian markets. All AITHON products have CE marking, while Certifire and UKCA marks are in progress. Every country has different tradition construction technique and requires a specialised technical assistance as well as specific fire tests to comply with local requirements; that’s why AITHON RICERCHE approaches every new country with open mind, trying to satisfy patiently every single requirement. Working in most demanding countries, like U.K., France and Scandinavia, helped us to learn, improve and match with the most demanding requirements.
AITHON RICERCHE has kept the pioneer spirit, and dealing with problems which are still waiting for a solution is our main interest, especially when the aim is the fire protection of historical buildings, an absolute must to preserve the historical memory and the cultural identity, and pass it on to future generations in the next centuries.