Posted on in the category News, Flexcrete in the Press.

Hygienic coating in Beverage Manufacturing Plant, Taiwan.

The nature of the brewing and beverage industries imposes specific demands on internal walls and ceilings. Surfaces are typically subjected to extreme conditions such as high humidity, very wet conditions due to the amount of water used for cleaning and flushing, and thermal shock caused by sudden changes in temperature. Production plants are also susceptible to heavy mould growth from the presence of migrant yeasts and sugar particles present in the atmosphere during the brewing process.

The inherently porous nature of cast insitu concrete, renders and even the dense surface of precast elements will provide an ideal host environment for the colonisation of mould and bacteria. In beverage plants, where it is essential to maintain walls and ceilings in a hygienic condition, finishes must be smooth, impervious and easy to clean in order to resist attack from micro-organisms.

There are various different finishes available on the market for refurbishment or new build projects involving the protection and decoration of concrete surfaces, but all offer varying degrees of performance and reliability. Plant managers have the choice of products such as ceramic tiles, wall cladding systems, fungicidal paints and specialist hygiene coatings.

In the case of hygiene coatings, there are products on the market that have been independently tested to prove that they offer a complete defence mechanism against mould, bacteria, yeasts and algae. Unlike fungicidal paints, the anti-microbial system incorporated in the coatings does not leach out when the surface is subject to condensation or intense cleaning regimes. This means that the coatings remain effective against micro-organisms throughout their design life.

The seamless finish achieved by hygiene coatings is a distinct advantage in sterile environments, as they allow no hiding place for bacteria and enable much greater ease of cleaning than alternative products incorporating tapes, seams, joints and fixtures.

The latest generation hygiene coatings prevent the growth of micro-organisms and limit the spread of harmful germs through an innovative combination of encapsulated in-film protectant and silver ions. One such product, Biodex Sheen – a tough, waterborne, anti-bacterial and anti-microbial hygiene coating – has been used to refurbish 10,000m² of internal walls and ceilings at a beverage plant operated by Taiwan Tobacco & Liquor Corporation, the leading manufacturer and distributor of beer, wine and tobacco products in Taiwan. The coating was supplied by Flexcrete’s distributor in Taiwan, Parallel Industrial Co., Ltd.

Taiwan Tobacco & Liquor Corporation operates a total of nine wineries and distilleries and three breweries in Taiwan, as well as cigarette production facilities. The company distributes its products through more than 40,000 sales outlets and as Taiwan’s largest alcoholic beverage producer, Taiwan Tobacco & Liquor Corporation sells more than 5 million cases of beer and wine each year. The company’s most famous products include the award-winning Taiwan Beer and Long Life cigarettes, and other products include Japanese style liqueurs, Chinese herb liqueurs and distilled spirits. The firm primarily sells its products in Taiwan but a number of brands are sold internationally with major markets including Japan and the United States.

Due to the constant presence of migrant yeasts and sugar particles in the atmosphere at the Taiwan Tobacco & Liquor Corporation manufacturing plant, the internal wall and ceiling areas around the vats had become highly susceptible to mould and yeast growth. A locally manufactured anti-bacterial coating had previously been applied, but without the sophisticated in-film protectant technology adopted by specialist manufacturers, micro-organisms can thrive as the backbone polymer provides a rich source of nutrient. Following thorough cleaning and preparation, Biodex Sheen was used to provide a total seamless finish with active yet encapsulated protection against the growth of mould, bacteria and yeasts. As well as the vat areas, Biodex Sheen was also used in several other areas such as the walls and ceilings in the cold store facilities.

The waterborne nature of Biodex Sheen was absolutely critical for this project, as the coating could be rapidly and safely applied by roller and brush without any risk of contamination as it is non-toxic, non-leaching, non-tainting and ultra low odour. The use of solvent-free materials was a vital consideration, as odour contamination of products can potentially have serious, and costly, implications in beverage plants.

Two coats of Biodex Sheen can be applied in a single working day using standard painting techniques, so disruption is kept to an absolute minimum. Once in service, Biodex Sheen is highly resilient and is able to withstand conditions of high humidity and extreme temperature changes from -50°C. to +80°C. without cracking or flaking. The advanced styrene acrylic micropolymer resin binder crosslinks to afford excellent adhesion which remains unaffected even when substrate moisture escapes to the atmosphere through the membrane. Biodex Sheen is available in a range of attractive colours, of which white was chosen for this project.