Monday, November 30, 2009

The poop on polish...

There is a new floor treatment among us. It's called floor polishing. Yes, they really have found a way to polish concrete floors. Only, it's much more complex than polishing your car.

Why polish?

End-users (participants in industry) have levels of cleanliness that need to be met inside the plants that they operate in. Food and beverage plants have a higher level than let's say a paper-mill. Pharma-plants have an even higher obligation called CGMP (Current Good Manufacturing Practices). Well, for years and years the standard answer to maintaining these floors was painting or better yet applying a seamless polymer floor. This type of treatment is still in demand and is installed by professionals and do-it-yourselfers today.

Another way to achieve a "clean floor" is to polish. Polishing is really a vague way of describing a very complex process. Polishing starts with an 850lb grinding machine(pictured) and the removal process. Coatings from years gone by need to be scraped or ground off the floor. Next, a trained operator will run a grinding machine over the floor with a very coarse and aggressive "diamond wheel". This initial treatment helps to level the substrate. Any high areas will take away from the finished product.

Once the concrete floor has been leveled, further grinding continues, contstantly changing the diamond wheels for a less aggressive pattern. This process is similar to sanding a piece of wood. Once the floor is smooth and beginning to develop a sheen, a densifier is added to increase the floor's strength and resistance to liquids, including gas and oil. This densifier is similar to the material sprayed on "green" concrete called hardener.

Lastly, a burnish is put on the floor. Burnishing consists of running a 1500 RPM buffer wheel over the floor. This really increases the sheen and adds that mirror like finish many people are trying to achieve. Further burnish will be needed later on to refresh the sheen.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Marine deck coatings, what to use?

Boats used in salt water get abused. If you have ever taken a cruise you will notice that a portion of the crew is always working on the appearance of the boat. It is a non-stop function due to the abuse of the sun, salt-water and the wind.

It is a captain's and/or owner's responsibility to make sure that the boat is protected and that the walkways or decks are safe from slip/falls.

There are a few ways to accomplish this:
  • Coat the decks with an epoxy coating containing a non-skid additive
  • Coat the decks with deck paint and broadcast in a non-skid additive
  • Apply heavy duty non-skid tape
Commercial fishing vessels that process the catch on board or sort on deck need to maintain the deck surface as a matter of life or death. Fish netting/processing causes an excessive amount of slime/scum to build-up on the deck making it very hazardous for the mates. If you have watched the Deadliest Catch lately, you will get an appreciation for non-skid deck coatings. Those Bering Sea fishermen have to deal with ice build-up as well! Check out the blog from the show, it has some great stories.

Fast and strong Concrete Floor Repair, real or myth?

Customers demand fast and strong.
Today's spending mantra is: Wait to the last minute and then get it done fast!

Fast and strong used to be diametrically opposed to one another. Yesterday's epoxy resins sacrificed strength and adhesion ability for fast cure. However, fast setting urethane formulations have changed this dramatically.

We now have urethane resins that when mixed with sand (flour grain silica) will produce extremely strong, fast setting (traffic in one hour or less) structural repairs.

Where are these used?
  • Theme Parks
  • 24 Hour Distribution Centers
  • 24 Hour Food Centers
  • Airport Taxi and Tarmac
  • Prison and Correctional Facilities
What are they being used for?

  • pot-hole repairs
  • resurfacing
  • expansion/control joint rebuilding
  • stair tread restoration
  • slab leveling/bonding
How do they hold up? against:
  • UV Rays: Excellent, light stable
  • Weather: Very good, still flexible in extreme cold
  • Traffic: Excellent wear characteristics
  • Costly compared to epoxy based products
  • Fast setting is really fast, only useful on small repairs