Food and beverage processing facilities present a unique set of flooring challenges, due to their intense operational environments, so it is very important to select the correct resin flooring option. The floors must be able to endure extreme temperatures, thermal shock, animal fats, hot oils, caustic cleaners, and strong acids.
So, what resinous floor is right for your food and beverage processing facility? Keep reading to find out.
Resin Flooring Options
Resin flooring systems are available in a wide range of shapes and sizes, and they have been designed to properly meet the operational requirements of each working area within a food and beverage facility.
There are many different products to choose from, but this blog will explain the three main categories of resinous flooring options: Urethane Cement, Methyl Methacrylate (MMA), and Epoxy.
Urethane cement products are a very popular choice within the food industry, as they contain many beneficial properties.
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One of the most desirable properties of Urethane floors is that they offer chemical, thermal shock, heat, and impact resistance. The chemical makeup of Urethane resin systems is very similar to that of concrete, and it prevents the material from cracking when subject to large temperature swings.
Urethane cement resin flooring solutions are also non-porous, which can prevent bacteria and mold spores from developing. Also, Urethane resin flooring produces a low odor, it’s non-toxic, and it can be made slip-resistant for worker safety.
Drawbacks of Urethane
The drawbacks of Urethane cement products mostly derive from the installation process. Urethane cement has a very fast cure rate, which is typically around 6 hours, as opposed to an epoxy which can be 24-48 hours.
This fast cure rate makes it more difficult to install, due to its exceptionally short pot life. A typical installation requires highly skilled laborers who are capable of more complex surface preparation.
However, the good news is that this obstacle can be resolved by hiring a knowledgeable and experienced resinous flooring expert.
Methyl Methacrylate (MMA)
Methyl Methacrylate (MMA) systems offer certain performance advantages to the food and beverage industry when compared to other resin flooring options.
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decorative epoxy flooring
The main benefit of Methyl Methacrylate resin is its quick curing speed and its ability to be installed at extremely low temperatures. MMA greatly reduces production downtime, as it fully cures in just one to two hours. MMA is also beneficial because it contains high levels of resistance to most acids and alkalis.
MMA systems are ideal for non-processing areas because they can include attractive flakes or aggregates, which are aesthetically pleasing and slip-resistant.
Methyl Methacrylate Drawbacks
The major drawbacks to MMA systems are that they are highly flammable, they have a very strong odor, and it can be difficult to install due to its fast cure time.
While the odor is quite strong, it is harmless and it can be minimized during installation with proper ventilation. It is also important to note that MMA should not be used in environments that are exposed to high heat or live steam.
Due to these factors, MMA systems are categorized as a specialty product installation, which requires specialized contractor training.
The greatest advantage of Epoxy systems is that it is extremely affordable. Additionally, Epoxies offer attractive, chemical resistant, and slip-resistant flooring options.
Drawbacks of Epoxy
There are many downsides to using Epoxies in a food and beverage facility, including a limited resistance to organic acids, which are found in a large number of natural foodstuffs.
Epoxies also offer no resistance to thermal shock, making them unsuitable for rigorous food and beverage environments. Many Epoxy systems are advertised for their high compressive strength to food and beverage processing facilities. However, while this is true, it has little relevance in this setting.
For most food and beverage manufacturing facilities, Epoxy is only suitable for non-processing zones such as packaging and staff break areas, which are not subject to the same high protection demands.