Most facility managers will agree that the flooring in food & beverage production and processing sites is put through its paces. No matter the sector, regular footfall, abrasions from wheeled machinery, dropped items and regular cleaning with harsh chemicals are just some of the conditions that can affect the performance of a site’s floor.
Specifying a long-lasting finish during the design stages of a food and beverage plant is incredibly important due to necessary industry-specific requirements and for reducing the likelihood of costly repairs further down the line.
Fatal Factors for Flooring
Food and beverage facilities have to contend with several factors that can be detrimental to the lifespan of a floor, such as thermal shock from extreme temperatures. This commonly occurs in areas where industrial ovens reside and the flooring is regularly exposed to high temperatures, as well as in cold storage zones that must remain chilled far below zero to ensure the longevity of the produce.
Steam cleaning is also a common cause of thermal shock, as many sites will regularly subject the floor to sustained cleaning that reaches temperatures over 120°C. Cleaning of this nature could be expected in food and beverage facilities where produce is dropped and needs to be cleaned quickly and easily to avoid germs and the risk of contamination.
Other fatal factors for flooring failures can be as a result of heavy machinery being moved or wheeled around. Abrasions on the floor finish can easily occur from moving equipment, potentially leading to cracks or damage to the exposed surface. Taking care of a correctly specified floor can help to avoid these costly concerns.
F&B Facility Flooring Solutions
The ideal flooring solutions for facilities of this nature are thick polyurethane finishes with a resistance to thermal shock, harsh cleaning chemicals and wear. In fact, if properly maintained this type of flooring material will last approximately 15 years within even the most intensive food and beverage site.
Additional beneficial assets that are useful in these environments can be incorporated into a polyurethane floor, including slip resistance and antibacterial additives that can work to improve the overall safety and hygiene of the facility. Specifying flooring that contains all of the desired attributes can reduce time and cost, and result in a ready-to-use site that adheres to the facility manager’s every need.
One such high-performing flooring solution containing all of the properties mentioned above is the Flowfresh range from Flowcrete. The Flowfresh range offers excellent slip, wear, temperature and chemical resistance, and is suitable for steam and hot water cleaning processes. In addition, this range offers total protection against a number of bacteria, including MRSA, SARS, E-coli and Salmonella Typhi making it the number one option in hygienic flooring. Using a natural silver ion based agent, Flowfresh reduces the bacterial population on the surface of the floor by up to 99.9% when combined with a regular cleaning regime.
The reliability of this time-proven flooring solution is clear to see from the brands that have utilised it. McVitie’s needed such a flooring solution, and chose Flowfresh RT and Flowfresh MF in their manufacturing plant in Glasgow, UK back in 2012. Similarly, Eurostock foods, recently rebranded as Bawnbua Foods, applied Flowfresh HF in their UK manufacturing plant in 2010. With some of the world’s largest customers, including TESCO, ALDI, Ocado and Sainsbury’s, the integrity of produce from sites such as Bawnbua Foods cannot be compromised.
Thanks to a strong chemical resistance to acids and sugars, as well as bacterial resistance, Flowfresh HF was also chosen by the Heineken brewery in South Africa in 2009. And from beer to doughnuts, Flowfresh MF and Flowfresh RT has been supporting the Krispy Kreme and Coldstone Ice Cream processing facility in Indonesia since 2016.
Not only will this material stand the test of time due to its durable finish and resistance to corrosive produce and chemicals, but the Polygiene® antibacterial technology within each system remains active for the lifetime of the floor, even when damaged or worn (unlike coatings or surface treatments). Therefore, food and beverage producers can rest assured that their facility will not only remain hygienic, but will be supported by a high performance floor for an extended period of time.