Flowfresh- The Bright & Hygienic Floor Solution for Food & Beverage Environments
02 Feb 2015
- Chemical attack is a huge problem in the food and beverage industry.
- Polygiene® is highly effective at attacking bacteria.
- Flowfresh has a similar coefficient of expansion to concrete.
Food safety is vital for consumer confidence and a hygienic floor design in food and beverage facilities is central to the safe production, processing and storage of produce.
A high level of cleanliness must be maintained in the face of a wide variety of challenges that flooring in large-scale industrial spaces inevitably experiences. This includes impacts from heavy equipment, hot water washes, exposure to harsh cleaning chemicals, frequent foot and forklift traffic as well as contact with a long list of corrosive food by-products.
These substances and conditions can cause untold damage to an uncoated concrete floor – and what’s worse is that unwanted substances can infiltrate a concrete layer, resulting in microbial growth and the spread of bacteria. Should this occur then not only will the floor be degraded but the hygienic integrity of the produce could also be compromised.
The Facts About Flowfresh
To deal with these issues, seamless, impermeable and crack-free resin-based surfaces are increasingly being specified on account of the materials easy to clean nature, hardwearing performance characteristics and ability to include antimicrobial additives.
Polyurethane systems, such as Flowcrete UK’s Flowfresh range, are the most commonly used resin solutions in the food industry, especially in the most heavy-duty industrial areas. The high cross-linked density typical of polyurethane floors makes them exceptionally robust and able to withstand abusive environments.
Chemical attack is a particular problem in the food and beverage industry, as it could break down the polymer structure of the floor, resulting in erosion of the surface, softening, embrittlement, blistering or delamination. The chemical resistance of a resin floor is affected by its thickness, resin/polymer basis and the reactivity of the chemical agent. The Flowfresh range offers a much more effective protection against chemical attack than epoxy or MMA floors.
Flowcrete Group Ltd has an exclusive partnership with Polygiene®, which is a manufacturer of natural silver ion-based antimicrobial agents. This additive has been incorporated into the polyurethane matrix of Flowfresh to offer an advanced surface protection against harmful bacteria, mould and yeasts. The effectiveness of this technique is exemplified by the fact that many world-class healthcare environments have embraced Flowfresh flooring.
Polygiene® is highly effective at attacking bacteria including SARS, E-coli, MRSA, C. difficile and Salmonella typhi amongst others. In fact international studies have shown a 99.9% reduction in the bacterial population on the surface of a polyurethane floor containing Polygiene®.
Unlike many antimicrobial alternatives, the Polygiene® additive is homogenously distributed throughout the resin system. This formulation means that its antimicrobial properties will remain active over the lifetime of the floor, even if it becomes worn or damaged.
All Flowfresh systems are non-porous, preventing bacteria and mould spores from surviving in the joints and cracks that are typical of alternative flooring systems such as tiles or acid bricks.
Thermal Shock Survivor
Many food and beverage processing plants will also need to account for thermal shock conditions, whereby the ambient temperature changes significantly and almost immediately, which can lead to floor failure.
Most often thermal shock happens when facilities that usually remain at room temperature are cleaned using very hot water or steam. This immediate change will cause the floor finish to expand or contract at a different rate to the substrate, leading to cracks, bubbling, peeling or delamination.
Flowfresh systems have a coefficient of expansion similar to that of concrete, therefore the material expands, contracts and moves with the substrate to prevent any lasting damage. A thick polyurethane system is especially advisable for cold stores, blast freezers, furnaces and the space underneath hot ovens, due to the inevitable long periods of exposure to extreme temperatures.
Different facilities will need to overcome different issues – and even various parts of the same compound will likely have varying conditions and challenges to face. Flowfresh systems can be tailored to meet the specific demands of the area they are being installed within.
Many industrial plants take advantage of the fact that signage can be incorporated into a Flowfresh finish to enhance on-site safety. The bright and colourful systems available in the range allow walkways to be clearly marked out, helping staff and visitors avoid getting unnecessarily close to machinery and produce.
The colourful nature of the product is also ideal for segregating different working areas. This is advantageous for locations where, for example, raw and cooked meats are in close proximity to each other, as they can be easily separated with a simple colour coded system.
A large proportion of food processing facilities have to cope with substances and workloads that could lead to slippery conditions underfoot. Broadcasting aggregates into the floor can enhance traction and reduce the risk of slips and trips. The quantity of aggregates can be adjusted depending on the needs of the area, as it is likely to be different in the main production zones to the staff breakout and amenities areas. It is also important to ensure that the floor is laid to a fall to enhance drainage and prevent the pooling of water.
By carefully considering the demands placed on the floor of a food and beverage facility, developers can ensure that they choose a product that will work with the environment. Antimicrobial flooring such as Flowfresh is a great example of this, as not only will it provide a robust and reliable surface for the equipment and staff but it will continuously work twenty four hours a day to eliminate bacteria.
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Notes to Editors
Flowcrete UK has its headquarters in Sandbach, Cheshire and is part of Flowcrete Europe & Middle East, one of the four divisions that make up Flowcrete Group Ltd.
Flowcrete Group Ltd. is a world leader in the manufacture of seamless industrial and commercial resin floor, wall and coving solutions as well as other specialist coating technologies. Flowcrete Group Ltd. is a subsidiary of RPM International Inc. and has international manufacturing facilities in Europe and Africa as well as Central and South East Asia.
Flowcrete supplies world-class seamless flooring solutions to transform environments across the globe including; decorative seamless resins, waterproof car park deck coating systems, seamless resin terrazzo, durable antimicrobial flooring, corrosion protection, self levelling underlayments, underfloor heating and now underfloor acoustic insulation.
Flowcrete's ambitious and dedicated team, led by President Craig Brookes, is inspired by excellence in people, products and service as well as continual innovation and sustainable growth. Flowcrete continues to use its global expertise to introduce environmentally friendly, hygienic and aesthetically attractive floors to create a better and more sustainable world.