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Going Down The Drain In The Best Possible Way

Frank Netherwood, technical manager for Blucher UK, explains the elements of floor drainage systems:
FLOOR drainage systems are used in virtually all food preparation areas from commercial kitchens to food production factories. Several factors should be considered to ensure the drainage system meets the demands placed upon it.

I Hygiene: This is paramount. Stainless steel drainage systems are selected for food applications because they are resistant to corrosion, inert, easily cleaned without loss of properties, and can be fabricated into robust structures. Good design will ensure that gaps, crevices and hiding places for waste material are eliminated or at least kept to a minimum. For drains and channels, this can be easily achieved, but also consider the grating, which must withstand a variety of traffic and differing loads.

Gratings are generally non-slip and offer a high level of hygiene. These are commonly a mesh or ladder type grating. These in themselves are fairly hygienic but also have areas such as sharp corners and edges where waste food can build up.

So a cast stainless steel grate is often the best choice. This is designed to withstand high loads. It is manufactured in one piece with smooth edges and classed as non-slip.

I Risk of blockages and overloading: Food waste and associated packaging is often washed down the drainage system and can cause a blockage. So filter baskets should be installed in all outlets. The flow rate and number of cleaning systems operating at any one time effect the volume of waste transpor ted and therefore the dimensions of the drainage. During normal operation, the channel or drain may only take a minimal amount of waste water from the general production process.

However when the flooring or machinery is cleaned there may be an especially high amount of water. Do make sure the cleaning regime is fully understood and that the additional load on the system from cleaning is taken into consideration when determining the size of the channel or drain.

Chemicals used in production as well as the cleaning process and associated concentrations should be examined to ensure that the correct grade of stainless steel is selected.

I Loading: After considering the material grade, its thickness should be looked at. A thin walled channel or drain is more likely to be damaged around the edge which in turn could cause hygiene issues.

The overall strength of the drainage system can affect its longevity.

Strengthening devices such as continuous anchor rails along the length of a channel, for example, ensure that cracks between the edge of the channel and floor do not occur. The under- side of the channel or drain edge is also a weak spot.

During installation these should be filled with cement or similar to avoid distortion in use. This can be done either on site or during manufacture. Finally, if forklift trucks are likely to run along the length of a channel, take appropriate measures to prevent banana-ing of the grates, such as installing lock down gratings.

This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal website. You can find them at www.contractflooringjournal.co.uk.