Legoland Dubai and Legoland  Water Park provide over 40 interactive rides and water slides.

Legoland Dubai and Legoland Water Park provide over 40 interactive rides and water slides.

Graco helps tackle Legoland challenge

As visitors to Legoland Dubai and Legoland Water Park today shoot down the water slides or cool off in the wave pool, it is difficult to imagine the challenges that were encountered in creating this Dubai theme park. TOM VANDEVENNE of Graco, which provided the equipment to prepare the surface and then spray coatings on vast expanses of concrete at the facility, outlines the challenges.

November 2019

Just six months prior to the opening on October 31, 2016, the entire site of Legoland Dubai and Legoland Water Park was a scene of intense activity as 50,000 kg of durable, watertight and long-lasting waterproofing solutions were being sprayed on some 22,000 sq m of concrete.

This was no ordinary spray application, requiring specialist equipment, products and expertise to tackle the challenges of a project of this stature in the desert.

The environmental conditions posed unique challenges. Day-time temperatures often peaked at 52 deg C. Some substrate temperatures actually reached 68 deg C. Humidity levels were as high as 85 per cent. The hot and dry shamal overnight wind was depositing huge amounts of sand on the work site. On some mornings, workers had to sweep and vacuum around 200 kg of desert sand before work could commence.

Graco’s equipment was used to spray concrete at Legoland Dubai.

Graco’s equipment was used to spray concrete at Legoland Dubai.

The vast size and intricacies of the complex meant that some areas were very difficult to access. Spray equipment could not always be placed near the areas requiring coatings. Equipment powerful enough to accommodate extra-long fluid hose lengths (94-120 m) to apply the sealing primer and polyurea coating became the integral solution for the contractor.

The work site was also extremely busy, with various sub-contractors attempting to complete their own tasks on schedule, which led to frequent site contamination. Much of the concrete that needed to be coated was inadequately prepared – or not prepared at all.

As if that wasn’t enough, the waterproof coatings would be exposed to many different operating environments, from salt water to desalinated water to potable water. Some environments were exposed to direct sunlight, others were in constant submersion, and some would be exposed to hydraulic forces and abrasion. One area was to hold sensitive marine life. And on top of all these challenges was the ticking clock. Just six months to go … and the countdown was on.

Graco distributor Deltachem was invited to provide its spraying and coating expertise and products for this challenging project – and was able to offer the right Graco equipment to get the various preparation and spraying jobs done on time and to an excellent quality standard.


Preparing the concrete

When Deltachem entered the project, the 22,000 sq m of concrete were being prepared but through manual grinding – a process that was labour-intensive, slow, and was creating clouds of dust that were not appreciated by other workers in the vicinity.

With a deadline looming, and surface preparation work falling behind, Deltachem brought along Graco’s EcoQuip vapour blasting unit. Vapour abrasive blasting generates 92 per cent less dust compared to dry blasting, as well as using significantly less water compared to slurry or other wet blasting methods. EcoQuip also uses less media which means less containment and clean-up.

By replacing a slow manual process with fast vapour blasting, the concrete was quickly and efficiently prepared for coating. The mobility of EcoQuip was a further advantage, allowing it to be easily manoeuvred from site to site.


The operators at the end of the 120-m spray hose were able to turn pumps on or off, and adjust settings without having to return to the machine.

The operators at the end of the 120-m spray hose were able to turn pumps on or off, and adjust settings without having to return to the machine.

Coating with primer

To spray the concrete with primer, Graco’s XP70 spraying unit was used. Its key advantage is the ability to use hose lengths of up to 94 m. This allowed the operators to easily spray in remote or difficult-to-access areas of a work site while the mixing unit could remain a distance away. It also meant that large drums of material didn’t need to be constantly manhandled into position close to the operator.

Graco’s XP70 guaranteed that the primer with a 10-minute pot life was applied on ratio every time. This was a significant cost saving for the asset owner who did not have to incur financial losses due to material curing inside the paint drums.


Polyurea applied

The coating specified for the 22,000 sq m of concrete that required waterproofing was polyurea produced by Voelkel Industrial Products (VIP). Following rigorous on-site consultations by Graco’s team, Deltachem was advised to commission Graco’s Reactor2 E-EXP2 units, one Graco XP-70 and one Graco Reactor E10HP. The E10HP’s portability enabled the operators to move small amounts of polyurea around, and spray difficult-to-access areas.

Graco Reactor2 comes with Graco’s latest innovation: an app (downloadable for free) that gives users the freedom to make real-time adjustments directly from their smartphones. The operators at the end of the 120-m spray hose were thus able to turn the machine on or off, turn pumps on or off, and adjust pump settings – such as temperatures and pressure – all without having to return to the machine.

The Reactor App became invaluable for the operators working at Legoland Dubai. They did not waste time walking back and forth to the Reactor unit, or yelling instructions to someone down the spray line to adjust the unit’s parameters. Everything could be adjusted and controlled on the palm of the operators’ hands via their smartphone. Another feature of the Reactor App, appreciated by the material supplier, was the ability to view the material drum levels of the units, in real time, from their offices in Germany and Dubai. Monitoring material consumption and levels ensured a steady stream of supply to the operators on site.


Technical specifications

To best meet the varying requirements of the different substrates and operating environments in Legoland Dubai, coating materials supplier Voelkel Industrial Products applied four joint sealing products, two concrete repair and prepare products, two primers, three protective lining systems and two top coats, namely:

• Substrate preparation: Quick Prime S, Quick Prime SF, Quick Fill ME and NS;

• Lining systems: Quick Seal MP 250 and PP350, Quick Spray Industrial and Industrial W; and

• Flooring systems: Quick Coat PU and Quick Floor 500.

Deltachem provided the following application equipment:

• Graco Reactor2 E-XP2;

• Graco Reactor E10HP;

• Graco Fusion Air Purge Gun with 4242 mix chamber and a round tip;

• Graco XP70 plural-component airless spray unit; and

• Graco EcoQuip2 vapour abrasive blasting unit for surface preparation.

Despite the huge challenges and very tight schedule, all sub-projects were finished on time to the customer’s full satisfaction. Legoland Dubai actually became a reference project in the Middle East for the use of polyurea. Soon after this project was finished, the contractors started working on the Meydan Crystal Lagoon in Dubai, a huge 40,000-sq-m lagoon lined with polyurea.  

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