Ever wondered how much work goes into developing a pre-construction termite system and how they are produced? Daryle Swarz from Bayer Pest Management shares the Kordon story…

Kordon Termite Barrier was first conceived back in the late 1980s, with the first in-ground trials commencing soon afterwards. When the finished product was launched in 1997, Kordon Termite Barrier became the first product of its kind, representing a new class of termite management system, and one designed, tested and manufactured entirely within Australia.

Kordon is a pre-fabricated sheet material comprising a layer of fibrous webbing to which a precise and consistent dose rate of deltamethrin is applied. The webbing is then laminated between two robust outer sheets of polyethylene plastic. This plastic outer sheeting gives the product the properties of being a both chemical and physical barrier, whilst creating a durable and pliable sheet material to work with.

Exploded rendering of Kordon

Trials initially started with timber billets wrapped in treated fibrous webbing at different rates of deltamethrin content. These timber billets were then placed in trenches in areas around northern Australia (North Queensland and the Northern Territory) where extreme termite pressure exists from various species of termites, namely those that are the most damaging to timber in service. The trials were aimed at encouraging foraging termites to persist in trying to penetrate the webbing and consume the timber. Excluding the termites and protecting the timber would demonstrate a highly effective product given the extreme conditions.

Timber billet trial site circa 1990

Kordon has been exposed to these high levels of termite pressure in field trials for more than 26 years and results from these CSIRO trials (which have shown 100% success) indicate that we can confidently state that Kordon will remain effective as a barrier to concealed termite entry for more than 50 years (or the ‘life of the building’). This figure is achieved via data extrapolation; each time a sample is removed for testing, the deltamethrin loading is calculated and plotted against the previous readings. Degradation is then calculated and forecast into the future.

The physical nature of the blanket provides the ‘set and forget’ reliability of physical barriers, whilst the pre-existing impregnation with deltamethrin enhances performance.

Kordon is installed as a pre-construction physical termite management system and as such it prevents concealed entry of termites into a building, forcing them into an area where the workings can be discovered when a timber pest inspection is carried out. However, as with all termite management systems, this means that regular termite inspections should be conducted at least on an annual basis by a competent and qualified professional, in order to ensure that termite entry does not occur unnoticed.

The Kordon manufacturing plant is located in Adelaide, where new state-of-the-art equipment has been custom-built for the manufacturing process. The process is entirely controlled by computer and is tuned to suit the materials used to manufacture Kordon. To give pest managers an idea of the amount of careful work that goes into producing Kordon Termite Barrier, I will outline the process briefly here.

Firstly, deltamethrin solution is supplied in bulk containers. The solution is uncoloured and is treated with an indicator dye prior to being connected to the manufacturing equipment. A pneumatic stirrer ensures the chemical is agitated and the colour is even throughout the emulsion.

The emulsion container is then connected to the machinery, where it draws approximately 100 kg of emulsion per 500 m of fibrous webbing required to produce a bulk roll of 2.4 m x 500 m. The manufacturing process ensures that the correct amount of deltamethrin is applied to the rolls to reach the specification of 2 grams/sqm, the nominated value specified on the Kordon APVMA label.

Fibrous webbing rolling into chemical bath rollers, treating the webbing with coloured deltamethrin

Secondly, fibrous webbing made to specification is loaded in 1000-metre rolls onto our applicator where the webbing is passed under rollers designed to apply the correct volume of deltamethrin solution evenly across the surface of the fibrous webbing. The treated webbing then rolls through a three-zone oven, where the webbing is dried in preparation for the next phase of production.

Webbing leaving the drying process and into the lamination enclosure

Thirdly, an engineered hot glue formulation is required to manufacture each bulk roll. The glue is supplied in drums in solid form, and needs to be melted and then pumped to the laminating enclosure. The dried webbing then reaches the laminating process, where the orange plastic is applied first. Glue heads evenly apply the glue across the webbing surface, followed by the black backing plastic at the next glue point.

It is at this point that the machine automatically stops rolling at a pre-set distance and samples are taken for laboratory testing. The bulk roll is placed on a rack and marked as ‘quarantine’, awaiting analysis for the specified content of 2 grams/sqm deltamethrin.

Following a satisfactory Certificate of Analysis, the bulk roll is selected and cut on our conversion line to create the range of roll widths required for the different pre-construction uses (100 mm to 1.5 m). Widths are selected based on forecast demand and optimal allocation to utilise the full 2.4 m width of the bulk roll.

Final bulk roll being rolled up

In the final stage of manufacturing, matching-sized cardboard cores are loaded onto the conversion line (cutting line). Rotating blades are lowered onto the material and tension is applied to ensure the most consistent cut possible without deforming the material from friction.

A calibrated counter accurately measures the completed roll length (50 m) and the operator cuts and secures the end of the roll before transferring to the packing area.

Rolls are individually bagged, then stacked onto pallets, which are double wrapped for stability in transit. Rolls are then labelled with batch numbers for traceability, and delivered to our distribution partners.

More than 20 years after its launch, Kordon continues to be tested and manufactured by Bayer in Australia to the highest standards. This is why Bayer confidently offers any full Kordon Termite System installations the Bayer Protection Warranty, which can be renewed annually, for the life of the structure, giving homeowners total peace of mind.

Daryle Swarz, Sales and Market Manager (Pest Management), Bayer