During food processing plant construction projects, the types of materials used to build walls, ceilings, floors and doors probably don’t get much attention. Rather, the factors that drive the heart of the operation – the equipment, product handling and ingredient segregation methods – usually get the spotlight. But don’t overlook the importance of the building materials when designing a new plant or making renovations. Everything from food grade wall panels to specialty floor systems are necessary to ensure food safety at your processing plant.
When it comes to flooring systems, acid-resistant brick, also known as dairy brick, with epoxy grout is the gold standard. However, it can be quite expensive. If budget is a factor, opt for fluid-applied flooring. Epoxy or polyurethane are good options, depending on the type of materials that could potentially reach the floor during manufacturing.
Whatever type of flooring system you select, make sure drains are located so you don’t have to push water very far. Otherwise, you risk standing water which can create slip-and-fall hazards and promote mold growth.
Doors can pose a significant risk for contamination so they must be considered in your building project. On the interior, doors should have proper air seals on the four sides. For exterior doors, ensure the rubber sweeps that line the bottom of the door are in good working order. To check for soundness, try to slide a piece of paper underneath the sweep or shine a flashlight at the bottom of the door. If the paper fits or the light shows on the other side, you probably need an upgrade. Depending on how much the door is used and weather conditions, you may need to replace the rubber sweep multiple times per year.
Walls and ceilings
In food preparation areas, you should avoid porous materials like concrete. Bacteria can grow in hard-to-clean areas and cause contamination. That’s why metal panel systems for walls and ceilings are generally recommended for food processing facilities.
Food grade wall panels made from insulated metal are simple to install, cost-efficient and easy to clean. Insulated wall panel systems are durable and hold up to the rigors of industrial cleaning: high-pressure hoses, hot water and cleaning chemicals. Even plants that conduct nightly cleaning can expect insulated panels to hold up for 15 years, though you may need to caulk the joint every few years.
Isowall® food grade wall panels
Isowall® panels can be fabricated for just about any building project. Laminated steel sheets are bonded to a rigid expanded polystyrene foam core, which has an r-value of 4.1 per inch. The panels are easy to install on walls and ceilings using tongue-in-groove fasteners. Isowall® panels meet Canadian Food Inspection Agency guidelines for sanitary rooms and contribute to LEED certification programs.
To learn more about Isowall® food grade wall panels, please reach out to us at Structural Panels, Inc., today. We look forward to helping you design a safe environment for your food processing facility.