Your Guide To Food & Drinks Manufacturing Flooring
When it comes to a building a facility for producing foods or beverages, every aspect must be taken into account in terms of its capability to help you create safe products for the market – and that includes the floor beneath your feet.
The right flooring solution ensures hygiene is maintained to safeguard the reliability of products and avoid contamination. It also needs to protect workers against slip hazards whilst remaining durable against heavy machinery and potentially damaging flooring.
Acrylicon resin flooring is ideal for many of these environments. Read on to find out more…
Things To Consider With Food Factory Flooring
However, we encourage people to look beyond the obvious considerations associated with flooring for food processing facilities, helping you to deliver better results, whether it’s for your facility or your client’s.
Warranties For Your Food Factory Flooring
You’ll often only be dealing with one stakeholder with your industrial floor repair.
It’s also likely to be the installer and not the distributor or the manufacturer, all of which are probably not connected other than making a sale down the chain.
So how do you overcome this situation?
Choose a company that will offer a 10-year warranty as standard. At Acrylicon, we can provide this, as all of our resin floors are manufactured, distributed and installed within the Acrylicon group of companies.
Also, Acrylicon Installers are only able to install systems to the specifications of the designers and manufacturers of our resins, not buy in a product and devise their own systems, often not fit for purpose as they were created to fit a price point, not provide a solution.
Common Resin Flooring Options For Food Factories
For your flooring in the food and drink manufacturing facilities, the most common resin flooring options are polyurethane (PU) and epoxy resin.
Yet, there are a couple of things worth noting with PU and Epoxy resin floors.
The downtime will be significantly longer with PU and even more so with Epoxy. This is because of a longer cure time (up to, and over, a week in some cases). This can be difficult in a food factory environment as any lost time will have a profound impact on productivity and business and hence the cost of the floor.
Ideally, you’d select a resin flooring solution with a short cure time, but with an extraordinarily high compressive strength for durability, as well as a solution that cleans easily for maximum hygiene.
Mistakes People Make With Their Food Factory Flooring
Initial cost savings don’t necessarily mean value for money. It may end up costing more in the long run, as many organisations are becoming accustomed to repairs and often replacement every five years.
What mistakes could be being made?
#Mistake 1: Short Term Savings With Food Production Facility Flooring
When specifying flooring for your food manufacturing facility, you may look towards PU and Epoxy because they’re more affordable options. In fact, these are preferred in industry, purely down to the initial cost of the floor.
However, they’re not always the most cost-effective. It is wrongly assumed that floors will need to undergo multiple repairs throughout their lifetime and need a full replacement in 5 – 10 years.
There are numerous technical explanations as to why these repairs are needed with PU floors, but the costs of the repairs and replacements should be factored into your investment.
#Mistake 2: Shutdown Time Of Your Food Manufacturing Facility
As touched on before, when it comes to resin flooring, your food facility will need to be shut down to allow for the installation to take place.
You will then need to wait for the floor to cure for it to be ready for use. However, this is often confused with the floor being dry.
Typically for resin and PU floors, the dry time is 5-7 hours, with the cure time being around 5 days, leaving you to lose substantial production.
With PU floors, if the floor is laid in sections. You start with only having a mechanical bond between these, so you start from a less than ideal position.
With Acrylicon floors, it is possible to lay the resin floor in sections as the joints achieve a chemical bond and fuse into a monolithic structure.
Due to our unique formula, our resin softens and bonds to itself during the installation process, resulting in no mechanical joints.
This can allow you to continue working whilst we install the floor in your food factory environment, as we may be able to do sections at a time while working overnight or at weekends, as we have done so on many other projects.
Maintaining Hygiene in Food Production Facilities
It’s no secret that any food processing facility needs to maintain excellent standards of sanitation and hygiene control.
This is because poor hygiene can have damaging impacts on health and safety, not to mention the quality of the product your factory is manufacturing.
If flooring cleaning practices are not carried out efficiently, you may be permitting harmful bacteria such as E.Coli and Salmonella to grow and thrive.
Hygienic Resin Flooring For Food Factories
A resin floor becomes unhygienic when dirt, moisture and bacteria live underneath the outer layer of the floor.
This can happen because:
- An area of your resin flooring is damaged: In many cases when thermoset plastics are exposed by a crack or impact damage, they can delaminate, leaving bond lines.
Even when these are repaired, the damaged area is cut out, but joints will still be left around the patch.
We often compare this to a pot-hole repair on the road. In other words, these joints will eventually open, allowing for water and dirt to penetrate the floor.
- Pores or pinholes in the surface of the resin floor: Some thermoset plastics such as Polyurethane, once cured, can leave tiny holes where gas has escaped during the curing process of the resin floor.
Again, this can eventually cause a significant build-up of dirt and bacteria within a floor over time. It’s one of the main reasons why your floor still looks dirty, even after you’ve cleaned its surface!
Signs Your Food Factory Floor Needs Replacing
Your food factory floor should be reviewed to ensure it maintains its original specification and meets all of the requirements you purchased it for.
Here are 3 signs that you’ll need a resin floor replacement or repair:
#Sign 1: You’re Struggling To Clean Your Resin Factory Flooring
PU has been the most popular solution for food factory flooring since it was introduced, so it is likely your food factory already has a PU floor.
However, the problem is that during the curing process, pinholes can occur as the gas passes through the curing resin floor.
We mentioned this before, but these pinholes can even be large enough for a toothpick to be pushed into them, so you can only imagine how much dirt and bacteria can get below the surface of your resin floor.
This makes it virtually impossible to clean your floor and results in a food factory resin floor that always looks dirty, even though you’ve scrubbed the life out of it.
Of course, this hugely influences the hygiene of your food factory floor, as it will become a breeding ground for bacteria and dirt.
#Sign 2: You Have Repeated Factory Floor Repairs
It’s become an expectation that PU floors will fail after a few years and food factories repair them without asking any questions. But the question is why has this become the ‘norm’?
If you find yourself constantly having to repair your food factory floor, it may be time to think about the type of resin flooring you opt for.
PU comes from the Thermo-Set family of plastics and as such only ever achieves a mechanical bond between layers of the floor. As such, stresses can cause delamination, resulting in places for a liquid to penetrate and damage the floor.
An Acrylicon Floor does not have this issue, as being from the Thermo-Plast family of plastics, its layers solve into each other, creating a monolithic floor. It also has no plasticiser loss, so does not become brittle with age like the PU.
That’s why we regularly remind our clients of the 10-year performance warranty, but in reality, a well-looked after Acrylicon resin floor can last many times longer.
#Sign 3: Slip Resistance Has Been Worn Out
In a food manufacturing facility, slip resistance is a must. With spillage being a common occurrence, whether it’s water, flour, or any type of ingredient in your product.
Therefore, doing the most to ensure and maximise employee safety is a must in these environments and something that should be considered by those involved in the design or specification of your food and beverage factory floor.
Depending on the use of the floor, a slip-resistant finish can wear away. This may be down to:
- Heavy application of weight
- Frequent use
- Even your routine cleaning process
Abrasive cleaning apparatus can wear down the floor, as it quite literally rubs the slip resistance away.
Although slip resistance can and will wear away on some floors over time, Acrylicon will advise you on the best cleaning solution for your Acrylicon resin floors, to ensure longevity of the slip resistance.
We consider your needs and can tailor a solution to you, recommending the best way to maintain your floor. Also, should an Acrylicon floor need maintenance on the slip resistance, due to its chemical bond the refreshed layer will become a monolithic part of the existing floor and have no risk of delamination.
How Frequently Should You Replace Your Food Factory Floor?
Simply, how long does your floor take to fail? It can’t be answered as each case is different from the next.
The easy way to decide if your floor needs replacing is to ask yourself, does my floor meet all the requirements I purchased it for?
If the answer is no, it has failed.
To give you a general idea of how long this could last, Acrylicon offer a 10-year warranty as standard with their floors, however, we have had cases where our floors have lasted up to 40 years.
Resin Flooring for Breweries
Breweries are hectic environments and include a wide range of heavy-duty machinery at all hours of the day, such as foot traffic, forklifts and liquids.
When this is the case, it’s important that your resin flooring is up to standard and can offer you everything you need it to do.
When choosing your brewery floor, you need to consider if it is:
- Suitable in wet conditions
- Easy to install
- Easy to repair, to reduce downtime
- Resistant to moisture
- Resistant to changes in temperature
- Your flooring is hygienic
- Does not have pinholes
Within your brewery you want to ensure there isn’t a lengthy downtime so searching for a reduced cure time is key.
You also need to ensure your flooring solution is aligned with health and safety regulations for slip resistant flooring that maintains cleanliness and hygiene.
Resin Flooring For Abattoirs
With meat processing services and abattoirs being regularly wet or wrapped up in water, blood, fat, animal waste and/or chemicals, it’s clear that these settings are unique, and thus, have special flooring requirements.
Due to their acidic nature, animal fat and proteins will attack and corrode unprotected concrete, weakening its structure and causing it to break down.
For this reason, it’s essential to select a high-performance resin floor for a meat processing facility or abattoir.
Abattoir flooring is a major breeding ground for bacteria, especially if it has a porous surface. This is why a hygienic flooring solution is vital.
And any damages to a floor should be repaired as soon as possible to reduce the number of bacteria that could penetrate and reside under the floor.
Any resin floor is better than a concrete floor for abattoir environments, but for your resin floor to be perfectly suited, it must be:
- Suitable in all conditions
- Easy to install & repair
- Come with a warranty
Resin Flooring For Dairy Factories
Due to the high demands dairy factories face, flooring needs to be able to withstand daily wear and tear to maintain a clean and functioning factory.
Dairy factory floors are subject to numerous stresses daily, including, cattle, forklift trucks, heavy machinery, milk spillages and intense cleaning routines.
These factors combined can potentially cause permanent damage to the floor and a failing surface will not only affect the movement of people, vehicles and animals but also cause an unsafe hygiene risk.
Contaminants can easily accumulate within hard to clean cracks or gaps and this substantially increases the possibility of spoiled products, sick cattle, damaged reputations and regulatory failures.
When considering the best flooring option for your dairy factory, it’s important to think about hygiene, water resistance and whether you can afford to shut down for long periods.
There are many things to consider when choosing a resin flooring system for your food and drink manufacturing floor.
We strongly advise our clients to closely consider the cost of resin flooring in the long-term, as frequent repairs and shutdown time will quickly add up.
It’s therefore crucial that you choose a system that is less likely to require constant repairs and disruptions to business.
Acrylicon provides clients in the food and drinks manufacturing industry with tailored resin flooring systems ideal for all areas of their premises and solutions come with a hygiene and performance warranty.
We acknowledge that any form of renovation work can impact daily trade, particularly in a customer-facing industry.
With this in mind, Acrylicon creates a bespoke installation plan that can not only be outside of opening hours, but also to suit you, to cause as little disruption as possible.
Thanks to our minimal flooring downtime, even when opting for food and drink resin flooring repairs, you will not have to close your premises.
For your peace of mind, Acrylicon guarantees:
- Fast cure time
- Chemical stability
- Bond Strength
- Chemical bonding
- Chemical resistance
- Mechanical strengths
- Hygiene benefits
- No join lines
For more information on your food and drink manufacturing flooring, get in touch today.