Published on 02 August 2020 15:34

How Resin Flooring Delivers Seamless Hygienic Finishes for the Food and Drink Industry

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Key Learning outcomes
  • The reasons for resin flooring
  • Systems for food and beverage facilities
  • Standards and legislation for resin flooring
  • Surface preparation
  • Keys to success
Resin flooring will provide a hard wearing, resilient and durable floor surface with a strong, permanent monolithic bond to a substrate which is resistant to abrasion and thermal shock including power washing and steam cleaning. An impervious surface is achieved with comprehensive resistance to chemicals and process liquids creating a finish which is hygienic and cleanable as certified by HACCP International as a food grade floor system.

Most of the time resin flooring is being installed onto concrete or cementitious surfaces, this provides a great basic substrate. But in food factory facilities and other industrial buildings it isn’t suitable as a hygienic finish where food production or other sensitive processes and material handling are in operation, unless it's treated with an appropriate topping. Problems with concrete include not being hygienic as it can be corroded by animal fats, sugars & proteins and it is porous which can allow bacterial growth. Concrete can create dust and be continually dusty because its weak on the surface and can ultimately break up meaning it is difficult to clean and can have a poor aesthetic finish which isn’t suitable for certain facilities

1.0 The reasons for resin flooring

In line with the limitations of concrete there are typical problems which occur with some flooring systems in food factories which lead to flooring failures and a compromise of hygienic standards.
Issues include coating systems which are too thin so they aren’t suitable for heavy impact or for exposure to heat and thermal shock which can cause de-bonding and ultimate breakdown of a flooring system. Where existing floor systems have broken up in places this can compromise hygiene and cause potential slip hazards. Any cracks or crevices can be dirt traps and allow for possible bacterial growth. Resin flooring offers solutions to these problems being seamless and durable. The main proven systems promoted for the food and beverage industry sector are polyurethane based resin floor screeds or PU Screeds.

Key performance criteria for PU Screeds. :-

Bond Strength: As a single application PU Screeds have superb adhesion to become monolithically part of a concrete substrate and they are impervious with excellent wear resistance and impact resistance. The bond strength is so good that when tested for adhesion the concrete substrate will fail before the PU Screed does. A bond strength of >3 N/mm2 is achieved in line with BS EN 13892-8 2002 testing which confirms substrate failure will occur before the resin flooring does.

Compressive strength: Physical properties include achieving a very high strength of over 50 N/mm2 for pu screeds when tested to BS EN 13892-2. A normal strong concrete would achieve up to around 30 N/mm2 at the most by comparison. This confirms the hard wearing finish of pu resin flooring.

Water Permeability: The water absorbtion of PU screeds is nil meaning they provide an impervious surface as required in the food industry. As surfaces are impervious this allows for drainage and hygienic joins to drain systems, control of expansion gaps and the facility for installing coving where required. Screed formulations can also have antimicrobial content which can reduce and protect against bacteria and fungal growth. This performance should be confirmed with testing to ISO 22196.

Thermal Shock Resistance: PU screeds can withstand high and low pressure cleaning including steam cleaning up to 120°C and freezer temperatures down to -40°C when installed at 9mm thickness. This makes them suitable for daily mechanical cleaning which is required in many food environments. With excellent chemical resistance and an impervious finish PU Screed options available provide the balance required between non-slip and cleanability.
Polyurethane resin floor screed installed at 9mm thickness in a food factory
Polyurethane resin floor screed installed at 9mm thickness in a food factory
 
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