Grant Wigney, owner of National Waterproofing and Industrial Flooring – the commercial flooring melbourne experts – answers this question and more in this article.
National Waterproofing and Industrial Flooring
Factory 30, 282 Chesterville Road, Moorabbin, Victoria
03 9555 0655
11 March, 2014
The range and complexity of businesses operating within the food and beverage industry is vast, dealing with products and services that could impact on the health of individual consumers. It is not surprising to find, therefore, that this sector is subjected to some of the highest number of laws and legislation linked to sanitation and food safety. Hygiene standards, health and safety regulations and inspections are all part of the daily routine for those in the food and drink industry, so ensuring their work area is fitted with the right type of industrial and commercial flooring is crucial.
There are a number of flooring solutions that are available commercially to suit a range of industrial needs but it is important to take into consideration what role the floor plays in ensuring strict cleanliness standards are met whilst being subject to a lot of wear and tear. Prior to installing any form of flooring, the proper planning and analysis of what conditions the floor will be subjected to, is the hall mark of a quality flooring specialist. Taking time to understand the range of substances that will come into contact with the flooring, along with other environmental conditions such as heat and lighting, starts to narrow down the choice of floor solutions for the food and beverage industry.
Flooring requirements within the food and beverage sector
Not only will the flooring in the food and beverage industry need to withstand a certain amount of both human and mechanical traffic, the latter in the form of pallet trolleys or forklifts, but also it will come into contact with a number of both liquid and solid substances. Depending on what type of food or drink is involved, these could range from acidic juices found in wineries or hot fat from the fast food operatives. In abattoirs or meat processing units, there could be heavier chemical abrasions that come from blood products or meat residue. The flooring will have to stand up to a number of challenges whilst ensuring that the surface does not present a slip, trip and fall hazard to the workers.
Smooth finish without cracks or joints
Due to the amount of daily traffic, dripping liquids and hazardous solutions that can be tracked across the flooring, it is imperative that any floor should not only be waterproof but not have any cracks where bacteria can accumulate. If it is not a seamless floor then harmful bacteria will soon gather in the joints and start to breed, which impacts on the very high standards of cleanliness and hygiene required of the industry.
Non porous surface
Likewise, the flooring has to be 100% waterproof because it will have to stand up to daily washing, not just with hot water but with chemical cleaning agents. The flooring has to have a non-absorbing surface so that it repels fats, oils, acids and other food and drink residues.
Easy to clean and maintain
Unlike domestic flooring in a residential kitchen, flooring in the food and beverage industry needs to have rounded floor edges that go up the sides of the wall coving. This makes the floor easier to clean and stops dirt and bacteria from collecting in the crevices and corners.
Taking all of this into consideration it becomes very clear that resin flooring made of epoxy or polyurethane resins, is the only answer for the food and beverage industry. Epoxy flooring has all the characteristics needed to fulfil the requirements listed above, as does polyurethane. Both are durable, water resistant although epoxy flooring does offer greater resistance to chemicals, whereas polyurethane is more resistant to UV lighting and its softer nature does make it slightly more susceptible to gouging.
Epoxy flooring is the better choice all round for both industrial and commercial floors in the food and beverage sector where durability is a concern. Plus it is the number one choice due to its superior adhesion, resistance to scratches, cuts and gouging, and water and chemical resistant properties. Where temperatures are to exceed 60 degrees (hot water) or 90 degrees (dry heat), BASF Ucrete DP heavy duty non-slip polyurethane flooring system would be the preferred alternative.