Resin Floor Advice for Factories
Factories are up there with some of the most challenging environments and as such your resin flooring system needs to live up to intense demands.
Temperature fluctuations, caustic chemicals, oils, heavy machinery and heavy vehicles are all part and parcel of a factory, and an untreated concrete floor just won’t live up to standards.
Similarly, an insufficient resin floor will lead to worn markings, cracks and deterioration, costing tens of thousands in repairs over a sustained period of time.
So, whether you’re responsible for a food factory, chemical factory or any type of manufacturing facility, this post sets out to provide you with essential advice to ensure long-term success with your flooring application.
Advice #1: Downtime & Production Schedules Must Be Considered
You don’t need us to tell you that a factory shut down, in most cases, just isn’t viable. You need to work with a manufacturer or supplier who can work around your production schedule.
Whether this means installing overnight – or ‘tenting’ off areas during the day so that production works can take place with minimal disruption – this option is a must for your factory setting.
Note: if installing during factory operating times, contamination should be considered. All resin floors will give off a vapour during installation, but it can be the vapours that do not smell that you’ll have to watch out for.
PU and Epoxy floors give off odourless vapours, which, of course, are difficult to detect and deal with.
With Acrylicon, on the other hand, the non-toxic vapour naturally given off during installation has a smell. That means that the installers can detect and deal with it easily.
Adequate ventilation on every project is also key to ensuring it is properly managed and after full cure (just 2 hours) the smell is gone. So, ironically, the smell actually REDUCES the risk of taint or contamination.
Advice #2: Cure Time Should Be A Leading Factor For Consideration
Cure times will vary depending on which type of resin you opt for. Polyurethane (PU) resin – which is the industry standard – can take around 3-5 hours to dry and a further 3-5 days to fully cure.
It’s crucial that the flooring you specify for your factory is fully cured before use. “Fully cured” essentially means resistant to chemical attack – including water.
If any liquids are spilt on the floor, it can interrupt the curing process, stopping the resin from achieving its full strength.
Surprisingly, cure time for Epoxy is even longer than PU. In this instance, you’re looking at 7-14 days to fully cure.
Note: Epoxy is not recommended for dairy factories as it will discolour and corrode if exposed to lactic acid.
So, What’s the Answer to Lengthy Cure Times?
Of all the resins on the market, thermoplastic resins offer the shortest cure time. In many cases, however, this will come at a cost…
Most thermoplastic resins don’t offer the strength and durability of PU or Epoxy – not ideal in a factory environment where, arguably, strength and durability are the most important characteristics to look for.
In this instance, you (or your client) will have to repair your damaged floor more frequently than you’d like.
However, the thermoplastic resin, Acrylicon is different. Whilst it offers a rapid two-hour cure time, its strength and durability are far more superior to that of PU or Epoxy. This means that your resin floor will be fully useable 2 hours after the last bit of application, causing minimal disruption to your factory.
Here’s what gives Acrylicon its strength and durability:
Bond strength – The unique primers of Acrylicon are designed to achieve deep penetration into the substrate and with subsequent chemical bonding of the body and sealer layers ensures that Acrylicon is permanently “welded” to the base. Removal of the system (even only 2 hours after installation) by mechanical means will remove split aggregate from the concrete – exhibiting the extent of the bond.
Other Resin Systems rely to a great extent on a mechanical key as the primers do not generally achieve great penetration into the slab due to their high viscosity.
Chemical bonding – Each layer chemically fuses to the previous layer (no matter how old). This ensures that the total system including the primer coat is truly monolithic.
Chemical Resistance – Full resistance to lactic acid and most other organic acids and alkalis.
Mechanical strength – As an example, the Acrylicon Décor System laid at 4mm has a compressive strength of 98N/mm.sq. and internal tensile strength of 30N/mm.sq.
Joints – Because of the unique chemical bonding ability of Acrylicon, all joints and filling treatments become “welded” together, producing a truly seamless floor.
Advice #3: Repair & Replacement Considerations
It is wrongly expected that resin floors, mainly because of peoples experience with PU, will need repair work after a few years of use, particularly in more demanding environments like factories.
The most common reason for floor repairs in factories is down to impact damage – causing cracks within the top surface of the resin – which will expose the layers underneath. Exposed layers can delaminate, creating a breeding ground for bacteria and germs.
Similarly, a damaged Epoxy resin floor is difficult to repair permanently. The damaged area will need constant maintenance – similar to that of a covered-up pothole in the road.
To avoid the headache of repairs and replacements, you should opt for a floor that offers strength and durability as mentioned previously in this post.
However, in the unfortunate event of your resin floor becoming victim to impact damage, you’ll want to make sure that a repair is seamless and long-lasting.
With Acrylicon, the resin can cure and un-cure as it is reactivated by the uncured resin. This means there are no joints and therefore no risk of delamination as it becomes chemically bonded.
There you have it: three pieces of advice for anyone involved in the specification of a factory floor environment.
- Don’t forget to closely consider downtime – the longer your factory is shut, the less profitable you or your client will be and the more your floor will cost you in reality.
- Cure time will have a direct impact on downtime.
- Repairs and replacements aren’t things that should cause you headaches.
If you’d like further information on how Acrylicon resin floor can help you in your factory setting, don’t hesitate to speak to an expert today.