Floor Coatings for Food and Beverage Industry Requirement

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Food and Beverage Industry

Food and Beverage manufacturers face many challenges which require unique flooring solutions, including moisture, temperature extremes, chemical intensive cleaning, and traffic from carts, crates, forklifts and more. Not to mention, your facility has several inspections to pass. To cover all these needs, food processing facilities require seamless, sanitary, and easy-to-clean floors which stand up to high impact, traffic, moisture, and chemicals.

Challenges of flooring requirement of food and beverage industry

The food industry represents one of the most technically challenging sectors for floor specification professionals and relies heavily on the correct choice of flooring materials to deliver a clean, safe and sanitary environment that meets a wide range of critical health and safety requirements.

The floor of a food processing facility is typically exposed to all sorts of food by-products, including fats, oils, blood, sugar solutions, and natural food acids. Some of these substances can cause serious damage to concrete because of their corrosive nature. In addition, these contaminants can infiltrate uncoated concrete, resulting in uncontrolled growth of bacteria, ultimately degrading the processed food’s purity. 

One area of these facilities that require increased attention is the floors. The floors must have a seamless covering or coating while all flooring throughout the facility must be hygienic. Certain areas also require slip resistance for worker safety.

There are a number of factors that clients in the food and beverage industries must consider when selecting a new floor finish. Floors in food manufacturing or food preparation premises must be able to be cleaned effectively and thoroughly, must not absorb grease, food substances or water, harbour pests or bacteria, and should be laid to a safe design so as not to cause the pooling of water.

 The list of must-haves for the food and beverage industry flooring may include:

  • Seamless surfaces
  • Slip-resistance
  • Thermal shock resistance
  • Exceptional durability
  • Ability to withstand vigorous, ongoing cleaning procedures
  • Chemical-resistance
  • Moisture-resistance
  • Impact-resistance
Food and Beverage

Different types of floor coatings for food and beverage industry

From food processing and packaging plants to beverage production and bottling, the food and beverage industry brings its own unique set of problems and priorities. Even within a single establishment, different areas may require very different levels of performance from their respective floors. Food labs and processing facilities need to withstand heavy foot traffic, while a walk-in freezer or an area with an oven must perform in extreme temperatures.

Epoxy floorings

The flooring systems in food & beverage facilities should meet specific requirements. They must be seamless – clear of cracks, divots, and imperfections – to create a hygienic, sterile surface. They must also be easily cleaned and sanitized on a routine basis. Epoxy is a great choice in this regard. Resinous coatings increase aesthetics and value, mitigate operational hazards, comply with regulatory standards, and lower total maintenance costs. Epoxy floors are ideal for food and beverage facilities that use chemical products, alkalis, and intense heating and cleaning processes. The seamless coatings create a nonporous barrier that eliminates that hinders bacterial growth.

Epoxy floor coating makes renders concrete exceptionally durable. They also offer benefits of anti-fatigue and can be easily rolled-out on the cement without mortar or glue. Epoxy flooring protects the underlying concrete from moisture, stains, grease, and cracks. Epoxy coatings are normally applied over concrete floors to provide a high-performance, smooth, and durable surface that can last many years and withstand heavy loads.  Depending on the product being applied, you might need to apply an epoxy primer and finisher coat. The primer is applied just like paint and is allowed to settle for several hours before the epoxy goes on. 

Methyl Methacrylate (MMA) floorings

MMA stands for methyl methacrylate. This is an acrylic resin and the system consists of a primer, a main coat and a topcoat to seal the finished floor. MMA resin-based flooring systems cure within one hour in temperatures ranging from -25degrees Celsius to more than 30 degrees Celsius. These are excellent options for industrial flooring where quick return to service is a major requirement. When it comes to rehabilitating old and damaged surfaces, MMA is an excellent option.

 MMA resins cure so quickly the facility can be back to accepting traffic within 2 to 3 hours. It is possible to install these floor settings in temperatures that are below zero and more than 35 degrees Celsius. Industrial settings such as cooling chambers or when work must be done in winter when there is no heat makes no difference to these floors. MMA resin-based flooring systems do not degrade when exposed to UV light. They are resistant to organic acids, and lye has no effect.

MMA-based resin shows excellent inter-coat adhesion. In fact, there is no mechanical preparation needed and the existing floor material does not need to be removed. The bonding property of MMA resins is so strong that the coats bond to themselves and to the substrate extremely easily. Once the top coating is in place, almost nothing can affect this floor.

Urethane Flooring 

Ethyl carbamate (Urethane), is not related to polyurethanes in any way, and is a derivative of sugars that is a potentially carcinogenic component of food and alcoholic beverages. Ethyl carbamate is actually an ester of carabamic acid, and is not included in the manufacture of any polyurethanes. The term “Urethane” is used interchangeably with the term “Polyurethane” when talking about the manufacture and installation of floor covering products. Both terms refer to a polymerizing carabamic compound that produces flexible, non-toxic floor coatings.

Urethane floor finishes are one of the most historically used products in the food and beverage industry. It is because urethane floors are so flexible, they allow for high levels of foot traffic and large machinery usage. In addition, urethane floors provide an extra level of abrasion resistance due to their flexible nature, and will remain glossy and new-looking even if in contact with abrasives like glass, sand, or concrete.They are able to provide a number of performance functions such as slip resistance, chemical resistance, and abrasion resistance. Urethane floors are also used to provide waterproofing and pitch for water drainage and are seamless solutions for hygienic protection. From an aesthetic standpoint, urethane floors can add decorative finishes and designs to both commercial and industrial spaces, with unlimited color options. Urethane floors are sought after for the protection they offer against thermal shock and thermal cycling. 

Polyurea flooring

Polyurea flooring systems presents the most-advanced, fast-curing and fast-hardening system in concrete flooring technology. It can withstand more abuse and impact than any traditional epoxy coating, offers much better protection against harmful agents like oils, chemicals, and gas, and doesn’t stain, crack, or peel. If you decide to use polyurea floor coating, your floors will look gleaming and new for many years to come, if maintained properly. This floor coating is fast-curing, taking only one to two hours to harden, and one day to be ready for use. This is an important advantage in comparison to classic epoxy coating systems, that take 3-5 days to harden completely. 

Polyurethanes are ideal in the food and beverage industry as they are able to withstand the sector’s unique challenges. Without an adequate finish underfoot, food and beverage plants are vulnerable to a long list of unwanted costs and problems. With an impressive average life-span of approximately 15 years, many food producers have installed polyurethane coatings in order to protect their facility for the long term against the costs and concerns of a failing floor.

Conclusion

From food processing and packaging plants to beverage production and bottling, the food and beverage industry brings its own unique set of problems and priorities. Even within a single establishment, different areas may require very different levels of performance from their respective floors. So choose wisely as per your project need.