It's important for factories and other manufacturing related facilities to provide for industrial floor coatings. Floor coatings provide surface stability, environmental cleanliness as well as aesthetics. Safety is also an important factor in the need to have industrial floor coatings. Companies that provide for industrial floor coatings reduce the risk of accidents due to excess or lack of traction however after several decades, the environmental safety of using these coatings are now in question.
Industrial floor coatings provide a stable, non-broken surface (given the substrate is also hole or crack- free) for staff and products to move on. The coating also serves to protect the substrate from the wear and tear of wheel and foot traffic. Also, the smoother the surface, the faster people and products move. Coatings also provide a sense of order and cleanliness. Brighter coatings also add to the ambient lighting of the workplace. Safety comes into play because industrial floor coatings made from polyurethane or like materials provide sufficient traction to avoid accidents as against ordinary rough concrete/soil floors or overly smooth concrete/tiled flooring. Aside from commercial uses, industrial coatings are also best for gymnasiums and facilities for indoor sports.
However, the use of conventional polyurethane coatings is not without its own hazards. The material, polyurethane, that we've used for decades for industrial floor coatings is not safe in itself. The manufacture of polyurethane, a prime ingredient for industrial coatings involves the use of toxic chemicals known as isocyanates. Normally and preferably, isocyanates lose their toxicity after bonding with the other chemicals that form the polyurethane. They become inert. However, recent studies have shown that not all of the applied isocyanates completely bond with the other ingredients leaving behind what is known as post-reactive isocyanates. These post-reactive isocyanates are present in the fumes the coating generates during application on floors and other surfaces of a building.
Application personnel that lack sufficient protective equipment become susceptible to these fumes. Employees are exposed to these chemicals in minute amounts during their day-to-day interactions with the workplace and the facility's products can become tainted as well. These chemicals also leech into the environment when the coating is disposed for replacement. The effects of isocyanates of the human body include asthma, vomiting, as well as chest and throat irritation. Exposure to large amounts is fatal.
Such dangers then contradict the premise of safety on the use of polyurethane coatings. The risk was not known until recently but floor coatings have remained essential in the industry. Fortunately, new advances in technology has given rise to the manufacture of a non-toxic polyurethane alternative known as green polyurethane. Non-toxic or green polyurethane does not make use of chemically-bonded isocyanates but instead binds its ingredients at the 'nano' or atomic level. The ingredients lock together or intertwine to form an impermeable substance with the same properties as polyurethane.
Modern manufacturing techniques, also ensure that excess toxic chemicals are filtered out from the finished product. Thus choosing green polyurethane over conventional polyurethane renders the premise of safety of using industrial floor coatings complete. As green polyurethane continues to grow in popularity, floor coatings as well as other materials that use polyurethane become safer and the industries that use them can breathe safely.
John Primus is an industrial chemist from Southern California who advocates avoiding toxic industrial floor coatings for non-toxic green solutions like Green Polyurethane. John is a consultant for Hybrid Coating Technologies a Northern California high tech coatings company.
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Advantages of Industrial and Commercial Floor Coatings
Epoxy coatings are used to protect new floors, update old floors, provide an attractive finish without the huge costs, and improve the durability of floors. They are usually used in hospitals and laboratories due to their sanitary yet skid-proof qualities. They also require less maintenance.
Epoxy coatings are commonly used on concrete flooring in commercial and industrial buildings. They are practical and can be decorative. They can actually be applied to both outdoor and indoor surfaces, although more commonly used indoors. They are perfect floor covering because they are hard, efficient, functional, and durable and can last for years of continuous use.
These coatings may also be used on timber, tiles, and metals. Surfaces treated with epoxy coating are expected to be resistant to acid reaction, dust, solvents, gasoline, grease, alkali, and thawing salts. Because of this, epoxy coatings are favored in industrial and commercial settings. Industrial/commercial epoxy coatings can even increase floor reflectivity by as much as three hundred percent.
High reflectivity is important in businesses because this helps them save money and energy because there is less need for additional lighting fixtures. A brighter workplace also makes employees more comfortable as well as encourages them to be more productive.
Epoxy coatings do not harm the environment either. This makes them favorable to people who are conscious about the environment. The coating also helps create a congenial, dust-free, and healthy work atmosphere. In fact, their levels of toxicity is near zero. Their chemical emissions are low; and in case of an accidental damage, they can be easily repaired.
In addition, Industrial/commercial epoxy coatings offer numerous benefits. They protect the floors against wear and tear, degeneration, damage, and chemical corrosion. They help improve the mechanical and physical properties of the floor. They are also economical as a quality of flooring that is inexpensive to purchase.
They can also withstand heavy foot traffic which is inevitable in industrial and commercial buildings. Each day, crowds of people come in and out of these buildings; so the flooring needs to be strong and sturdy in order to stay functional.
Epoxy coatings are also resistant to water and chemical spills. This makes cleanup easier and faster. Furthermore, they are resistant to fire or flame retardant. They can withstand heat up to two hundred degrees Celsius. This makes them ideal for commercial airline products, explosive production, storage areas, and fire escapes, as well.
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