The Essential Guide To Food Factory Flooring
For effective flooring for your food factory, you’ll need a hygienic, long-lasting solution and one that doesn’t shut down your factory for long periods of time to carry out installation works. Shutting down your business will become costly and is something that needs to be avoided at all costs.
It also goes without saying that food factories should maintain high levels of sanitation and hygiene. Poor hygiene in a food factory will not only affect produce, but will also impact the health and safety standards within the setting.
To find out everything you need to know about food factory flooring, continue reading…
What Causes The Build-Up Of Dirt & Bacteria In Food Factory Resin Floors?
Simply put, a resin floor becomes filthy when dirt, moisture and germs accumulate within the floor. This can happen for a variety of reasons, but the most common are:
1) A section of your factory resin flooring has been damaged: When thermoset polymers are exposed to the elements, such as through a crack or impact damage, they can delaminate.
The damaged area can be cut out, but even when these are restored, cold joints will still be left around the patch.
This is typically compared to repairing a pothole in the road. In other words, over time, these joints will open, enabling water and dirt to penetrate the floor again.
2) Pores or pinholes on the resin floor’s surface: Once cured, some thermoset plastics, such as Polyurethane, will leave microscopic holes where gas has escaped during the resin floor’s curing process.
Again, over time, this can result in a considerable build-up of dirt and bacteria within a floor. It’s one of the most common reasons why your floor can seem unclean, even after you’ve cleaned it.
Is Your Cleaning Routine Damaging Your Floor?
Because each floor’s chemical makeup is different, cleaning and maintenance procedures should be adjusted accordingly. If you clean too aggressively or with some harsh chemicals, you risk affecting the floor or it’s slip-resistant characteristics, which is a risk you don’t want to take.
The resin floor you choose should come with its specific cleaning instructions and care and maintenance plan. You should also expect annual visits from the manufacturer to confirm that your resin floor is in good working order.
What Options Are Out There?
You may be thinking what options do I have?
Polyurethane, Epoxy resin and Acrylic resin are the three main choices for food industrial floors. All of them have advantages and disadvantages that should be weighed up.
Polyurethane (PU) flooring is currently the industry standard due to its relatively high compressive strength. This makes them scratch-resistant, making them a popular choice in high-traffic areas like a food plants. PU flooring can also withstand severe temperatures since it can expand and contract, making thermal stress cracking less likely.
Perhaps you’re thinking…
It’s effective at harsh temperatures? There aren’t any cracks? This is ideal for my food processing facility…
The downtime that comes with PU flooring, on the other hand, may be its largest drawback.
It can take 3-5 hours for PU to dry and 3-5 days for it to fully cure…
When something is fully cured, it can withstand chemical attacks, including water. If you drop water on the floor, the curing process can be disrupted, preventing the resin from reaching its full strength.
As a result, you’ll need to shut down your factory for at least 3 or possibly 5 days to allow for the installation. Just because it has a low initial cost doesn’t make it cheap!
When debris becomes trapped in the pinholes that can emerge during curing, it can become unsanitary and difficult to clean.
So now that we’ve seen the advantages of PU as well as the major issues of downtime and hygiene, let’s look into Epoxy resin flooring for your food factory flooring.
Epoxy, like PU, has a relatively high compressive strength, allowing it to protect underlying concrete layers against impact, wear, water, oil, and other pollutants.
But if you thought PU resins took a long time to cure, wait till you learn about epoxy resins…
Epoxy can take up to 7 days to cure, depending on the room temperature, requiring a much longer shutdown.
It also is extremely difficult to repair once it has been damaged and these repairs must be maintained on a regular basis, much like a pothole in the road.
Each repair will necessitate a factory closure of the area in order to allow for cure time, which will have a significant impact on food output.
Second, and possibly most importantly, Epoxy can discolour and corrode when exposed to lactic acid, which isn’t ideal when working with dairy products.
Acrylicon Resin For Your Factory Flooring
Did you know that there is a flooring solution without the drawbacks of Polyurethane and Epoxy? And this solution is Acrylicon Resin.
Acrylicon belongs to the thermoplastic resin family. Uncured resin reactivates certain resins, allowing them to cure and uncure. Thermoplastic resins (such as Acrylicon) – as opposed to thermoset resins – are different in that each layer chemically fuses to the previous layer, ensuring the total system, including the primer coat, is truly monolithic.
Therefore, it’s not possible to separate the individual layers that make up the system.
Because there are no joints in the flooring system, there is no chance of delamination; ideal for working in a bacteria-free food manufacturing facility.
Second, Thermoplastic resins have an unrivalled cure time. Acrylicon cures completely in two hours, allowing your food factory business to resume normal operations with minimal downtime.
Warranty is something you’ll want to consider with your factory resin flooring.
One of the biggest challenges of utilising a PU or epoxy floor is the lack of a warranty, which is generally the case.
This could be due to no one wishing to bear the financial burden of the problem along the supply chain and each level’s accountability may end as the floor is passed on to the next.
Due to the fact that you are just dealing with the installer in this procedure, there may be debates throughout the chain as to who is responsible for the problem, with no one willing to accept ownership.
You might be wondering who my warranty is with.
The blame may be passed through the supply chain as each party claims no responsibility for something that isn’t theirs, especially if your floor is specified based on price rather than quality.
This problem has an easy solution. Choose a firm that spells out the warranty you’ll get and explains what can void it.
Because all of Acrylicon resin floors are made, distributed and installed within the Acrylicon Group, we are able to supply this. In addition, Acrylicon Installers can only install systems according to the designers and manufacturers of our resins’ standards.
It’s crucial to consider what you really need from your food factory floor, as well as if you can afford to shut down for long periods of time.
If you’re trying to save money in the near term, be aware that it may come back to bite you in the long run. As a result, it’s critical to thoroughly understand what you’re purchasing and using.
Get in touch with one of our local specialists for a free, no-obligation flooring examination.