Shock-resistant floors

The importance of thermal shock resistant flooring to food manufacturers is critical to the structural integrity of the facility. Allied Finishes provides customized solutions for the industry.

There are two common scenarios in food processing facilities that explain the importance of thermal shock flooring, which begins with a cold room, freezer or bubble freezer often located next to the production area.

First, in production areas, room – and therefore floor temperature – ranges from about 10°C in meat processing areas and above 20°C in the ‘hot kitchen’.

Secondly, washing the treatment areas uses water with a temperature of about 68 ° C.

Apart from a few rare exceptions, all matter expands under the influence of heat and contracts as the temperature decreases.

The stress caused by this law of nature on a concrete floor is amplified in intensity in the two scenarios described above.

With two adjacent sections of the concrete floor subjected to varying thermal effects, the floors can be severely pressed, to the point of cracking.

It can be really stressful for the floor to be exposed to varying thermal effects.

Regarding the frozen scenario, there are a few key things to keep in mind.

It is important to realize that if an area is being repurposed to become a freezer or cold room, cutting the floor and installing an expansion joint is very important. This allows concrete movement (deformation), and significantly reduces the risk of concrete cracking.

Another critical element is to ensure that the surface of the installed floor expands and contracts at a rate similar to concrete.

Polyurethane cement floor solutions react to temperature at a rate closer to concrete, due to the different properties of the solution.

Epoxy solutions are not far from polyurethane cement in this respect; However, they are usually not malleable under temperatures in excess of 50°C (softening under hot water washing).

On the other hand, polyurethane cement floors with specialized hybrid fillers and polymer content withstand temperatures up to 120°C (boiling water and steam), and when installed in higher thicknesses such as 9mm, they exhibit insulating properties that can reduce thermal shock.

When installing a floor in a freezer, cold room, or blast freezer, another important point is to ensure that the flooring solution has excellent adhesion to the concrete. This is because any deficiencies at the interface between the substrate and the applied surface will be subjected to the stress of application of varying and varying temperatures, resulting in distortion and failure of the floor.

Polyurethane cement floor solutions have an exceptional ability to adhere to concrete, even at temperatures below 0°C.

Methyl methacrylate (MMA) also has very good adhesion to concrete, and even below -25°C it can be mixed for curing within hours.

On the other hand, epoxy does not adhere well to cold concrete (usually 8°C minimum), especially if the substrate has a higher than ideal level of moisture content.

While MMA has excellent features such as a fast curing time, ability to process at very low temperatures, and good durability, the product has a very pungent and strong odor, which makes food manufacturers very reluctant to allow it to be used in their facilities.

For blast freezers, where room temperature will drop from temperatures in excess of -30°C to -30°C within a very short period of time, the flooring solution must be able to withstand this stress in being resilient and able to maintain its durability.

Allied Finishes’ range of antimicrobial solutions, SteriFloor, contains four polyurethane cement systems: SteriFloor Stärke, SteriFloor Schützend, SteriFloor Beschützend and SteriFloor Schnell. Polyurethane cement floor solutions are formulated to better withstand cold and hot (hot) thermal cycling. and extreme temperature changes, making it the ideal system not only for blast freezers, but for food processing facilities where freezers/chill rooms are located adjacent to major production areas.

A final note of importance is the use of epoxy flooring solutions in food processing facilities cannot be ruled out. There are many scenarios in which epoxy solutions are ideal, particularly when a low profile but stable non-slip solution is required in areas where extreme hygiene requirements must be supported.

The SteriFloor collection from Allied Finishes also includes two epoxy flooring solutions; SteriFloor Keimfrei and SteriFloor Sauber.

This article first appeared in the April 2022 issue of Food & Drink Business.

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