The aquaculture sector consists mainly of small and medium-sized and so-called micro-enterprises operating in coastal or rural areas. To maintain the highest quality of fish, it is important to follow strict hygiene rules throughout the entire plant. This applies not only to technology and production processes but also to finishing materials, including floors.
Experts from Flowcrete Polska, a leading manufacturer and supplier of technologies and materials for resin floors application, suggest what features should have flooring solutions in rooms where aquaculture activities are carried out.
1. Hygienic surface
A seamless floor with as few joints on its surface as possible is the optimal solution for food production, as it is easy to keep clean. Besides, areas, where dirt can accumulate with the risk of bacterial growth, are kept to a minimum.
2. Resistance to expected everyday loads
The floor of an aquaculture facility should have adequate mechanical strength, including impact resistance, abrasion resistance, etc. Its properties in this area must be carefully considered per the expected everyday loads, which may include, inter alia, intense pedestrian traffic, scrubbing cleaning, forklift or other vehicle traffic. Any damage to the floor is a potential risk of food contamination, as dirt can accumulate in difficult-to-clean gaps and cause the growth of bacteria.
3. Antimicrobial properties
Antimicrobial properties are a desirable feature of the floor in food production plants, including aquaculture facilities. For example, Flowfresh cementitious polyurethane systems have a special silver ion additive, Polygiene®, which reduces bacteria on their surface by up to 99%. It is built into the floor matrix, which means that it is still effective, despite the natural gradual wear of the material.
4. Certificates, eg HACCP International
Certificates granted by independent, international organizations confirm that the floor meets the highest standards in food production. An example of a document recognized all over the world is the one issued by HACCP International, which was given to Flowfresh floors.
5. Anti-slip properties
Aquaculture means working in a wet environment. For the safety of employees, one should ensure that the floor has adequate anti-slip properties. In this regard, it is worth using the guidelines, for instance by the Building Research Institute (Instytut Techniki Budowlanej). In the case of Flowfresh SR cementitious polyurethane floors with the addition of quartz sand, it is possible to adjust the degree of anti-slip to the conditions and usage requirements of the facility.
Working in wet conditions also requires designing and applying the floor with an appropriate slope and integrating it with drainage system – linear or point – depending on the project design. This ensures quick drainage of water to prevent the formation of stagnation or puddles on its surface, which could be the habitat of bacteria and increase the risk of slipping and falling of the employees.
6. Resistant to sea salt and organic substances
Especially in the case of breeding living organisms in salt, special care should be taken to ensure that the floor has adequate chemical resistance, especially to sea salt, which is very destructive to concrete substrates and joints. Other substances that the floor may come into contact with, e.g. organic such as grease, blood etc. or chemical cleaning agents can also have a negative impact of these materials. For this reason, before choosing a flooring solution, it is worth checking its chemical resistance in this regard.
7. Resistance to temperature changes
When deciding on the method of protecting the substrate, it is necessary to answer the question which processes will be carried out in individual rooms of the facility – what temperature will prevail in them and whether there is a risk of its sudden changes that may have a destructive effect on joints and concrete floors. Based on the knowledge of the specific conditions of use, a flooring system of appropriate thickness and thermal resistance should be chosen.
Resin floors offer a wide range of customization options of an individual solution to specific needs, including in terms of the degree of anti-slip, depending on the conditions and requirements of use, mechanical or chemical resistance. For this reason, when designing production facilities, e.g. from the aquaculture sector, it is worth using the help of experts in resin floors.