With demands on the dairy industry becoming more stringent, controlling bacteria, mold mildew and microbial growth in the processing environment inhibits food borne ailments and costly recalls, optimizing the bottom line. Today's dairy plant managers are extremely concerned about protecting our food supply and reducing contamination.

Equipment sanitation can be controlled and monitored. Historically, little attention is paid to the environment the equipment operates in. Walls and ceilings account for the largest surface area in most plants. While often not the obvious source, contamination does largely and often occur there.

Case in point; Gay Lea Foods, Toronto, Ontario, is an integrated dairy cooperative and processor, packaging and processing milk and dairy products. The company takes pride in being an innovator in the dairy industry by utilizing state-of-the-art technology. When Gay Lea required clean rooms at one of its Toronto plants, it looked for a complete system not only to provide a sanitary environment hospitable to its high tech equipment but a system that would decrease spoilage and effectively increase production-not to mention the added bonus of reducing maintenance costs.

Gay Lea's only acceptable choice was a system that was able to withstand the severe conditions found in the dairy processing environment. A system that was installed quickly and efficiently and was easily and quickly maintained (extremely important for a high volume plant producing perishables) and was USDA accepted. Gay Lea Food's choice was the Hunter Wall & Ceiling Systems, Toronto.

Durability and flexibility needed

Like many other multinational food industry decision makers, Gay Lea executives looked for a system with exceptional strength, flexibility, accessibility and integrity usually not found in conventional systems.

"Our main concern in the design elements was a system that included walls designed for easy cleaning that were also durable, and strong," says Zbigniew Ewertowski chief engineer and plant mgr. at Gay Lea. "In addition, the walls were required to support window, doors and conveyor openings. All wall joints had to be positively sealed as the room will be under positive pressure. A 10'x12' removable panel was to be incorporated into one wall for future accessibility."

The ceiling system had to be strong enough to be accessible and support light and H.E.P.A. filter systems.

"It had to be a sealed system," he says. "In completing this project custom sized doors and windows were required. We were looking for one company to handle the complete package."

Hunter had the components to build the kind of room Gay Lea needed. The wall and ceiling panels used had a FRP surface for easy maintenance and durability. Sandwiched in between was a 4'' expanded polystyrene core. The wall panels were full height with no horizontal joints. All flashings are stainless steel. To provide a positive seal, panels were joined using Hunter's extruded aluminum threshold system with no exposed caulking.

For the accessible ceiling a Hunter HD grid system was used. The grid has a 2" section and is extruded aluminum. The grid system is flexible enough to allow custom sized H.E.P.A. filters and panels.

Aluminum extrusions have been specially anodized to withstand chemicals and acids associated with dairy operations. Once installed this ceiling system meets and exceeds American National Standard A58.1-1982 for accessible ceilings.

Energy efficient light fixtures were used. This fixture has an aluminum body with 4-T8 bulbs and reflector for greater light reflection. The fixture has a sealed and gasketed aluminum lens frame.

The bulbs recommended provide high intensity lighting with a CRI of 85%. Specifically for the clean room a different fixture was used. This fixture was a 2'x2' fully gasketed, aluminum bodied, metal halide fixture, with a hinged lens. The doors were custom made with stainless steel hardware and trim and FRP wear surfaces.

Cooperation and communication

"Our systems are custom engineered to meet the special demands of our customers," says Paul Hunter, president of Hunter. "Our manufacturing process allows us to produce cost-effective specialty walls, ceilings, doors, windows and lighting systems, engineered for extended life and durability under food plan conditions.

"We have full confidence our panels are durable, resist abrasion, wear and tear, do not warp or peel and are resistant to bacterial growth that we automatically warranty them for five- years."

For Gay Lea the service and expertise provided by Hunter were as important as the durability of the products.

"I was very pleased with the knowledge and experience brought to this project by Hunter, Ewertowski says. "They handled everything from the floor up to the ceiling including the lighting. This installation proved the cosmetic, hygienic and monetary value of clean rooms. We have since used Hunter Wall & Ceilings Systems on three additional projects."

Hunter says his company understands the need for cooperation and communication.

"Our crews are well aware of the intensified needs for short time frames, sanitary conditions, safety, and communication when operating in this type of shared environment." he says. "Our systems are engineered to provide extended life and durability in dairy plant environments. Our policy is not accepting jobs that aren't a good "fit" for what we do best, even if it means turning down easy money".


Metecno-Aluma Shield

Metecno-Aluma Shield, a leading international manufacturer of insulated metal panel and door technology, offers Single Source integration of its metal insulated composite panels together with its Hercules® brand of insulated doors.

For cold storage applications as well as any other temperature sensitive enclosure need, Metecno-Aluma Shield can combine its AW-200, AW-300, AW-400 or AW-500 lines of wall panels with its HR-900 or MR-100 insulated roof panels together with any custom Hercules door design as a Single Source project solution. According to David Hewitt, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Metecno-Aluma Shield, the Single Source approach provides customers with a high level of convenience and technical support. "This concept offers customers a single warranty, single contact and single supplier for the complete building envelope.

And as the manufacturer of all the key components, we can provide more accurate engineering support to the project," he said. Metecno-Aluma Shield is an industry leader in metal composite panel and insulated door technology with over 50 years of experience. The growing Metecno family includes 27 companies worldwide. Additional details, technical specifications and other application data can be downloaded from the company's website.

Metecno-Aluma Shield
877/METECNO Write in 425

Milliken Chemical

Milliken-Kex, a business unit of Milliken & Company, is successfully addressing sanitation issues with a new line of rubber mats that feature outstanding antimicrobial and anti-fatigue properties for a wide range of demanding applications.

Called UltraSan™, the new mats are made from Elastoguard® rubber, introduced by Milliken Chemical Speciality Elastomers (MCSE) in May of 2003. The new rubber compounds use a proprietary silver-based biocide called Antimicrobial AlphaSan® to control, if not halt, the growth of bacteria and fungi on the mats, while avoiding challenges that organic biocides have posed in the past.

The UltraSan mats were developed jointly by Milliken-Kex and MCSE to address both anti-fatigue and antimicrobial concerns. These include through-holes and molded-in texture on both the mat front and back to provide cross channels to minimize water or solids build-up, while also protecting footwear from prolonged contact with moisture. Suction disks on the back secure and elevate the mat above the surface of the ground, making it less likely to slip if the floor is flooded, where conventional mat designs would be at a much higher risk of slippage. Beveled mat edges help to further reduce the risk of slipping and falling. The mats are soft lightweight, grease resistant, and easy to clean.

Milliken Chemical
864/503-6505 Write in 426

Crossfield Products

Crossfield Products' Dex-O-Tex Tek-Crete flooring provides exceptional resistance to chemical corrosion and thermal shock under punishing industrial plant conditions.

The urethane concrete flooring was developed to be installed in areas where other flooring systems failed. It is much easier to apply, and is now available in a wide range of colors. Tek-Crete is a tri-component material made of polyurethane resin, a curing agent, and blended silica aggregates. Designed for installation over new or existing concrete, Tek-Crete flooring cures in just hours, allowing installation with no significant loss of facility usage.

Dex-O-Tex Tek-Crete is used in beverage processing plants, chemical processing facilities, soup kitchens and other industrial buildings where corrosive or high-temperature liquids require a very rugged, durable floor. Tek-Crete resists solvents, organic and inorganic acids, salts, alkalis and other chemicals, and resists softening or damage from temperatures up to 110ºC (230ºF). In addition, Tek-Crete creates a non-slip surface, wet or dry. Tek-Crete is mixed at the time of installation and applied by trowel in a single coat to a thickness of 1/4" - 3/8" depending on specifications.

This rugged flooring dries to a textured surface that is slip-retardant under most wet conditions. There is no topcoat to wear off - when floor is scraped or abraded, it doesn't show. Also, its malleable-when hit with a ball-peen hammer, it doesn't shatter, it only dents.

Tek-Crete is available in different applications, including a troweled horizontal flooring applied in one coat to a thickness of 1/4" - 3/8"; a vertical base formulation, and a self-leveling floor applied in two coats to a thickness of 3/16" or 1/4".

Crossfield Products
310/886-9100 Write in 427

Chemetall Oakite

New Oakite FiSan Quat Treat is a phosphate-free, quaternary ammonium chloride-based flood treatment product especially designed to extend protection in production areas between sanitary clean-ups.

Granular for enhanced slip-resistant footing, color-coded Oakite FiSan Quat Treat is easy to apply. It is broadcast in thin layers on food plant flooring, either manually or through the use of a drop spreader.

Because Oakite FiSan Quat Treat is phosphate-free, it helps sweeten drains by reducing odors when floors are rinsed off at the end of shifts. If flooring is cleaned or rinsed during processing, reapplication of a thin layer of the product is advised.

Chemetall Oakite
800/526-4473 Write in 428

Parkland Plastics Inc.

Specialized paneling systems from Parkland Plastics provide an anti-microbial environment wall surface for dairy processing plants and other facilities requiring highly hygienic conditions. Parkland's Duro-Therm™ wall and ceiling paneling systems are 100% waterproof and clinically proven to prevent the growth of black mold, E. coli, staph and other fungi and bacteria.

The impermeable surface also resists harsh chemicals, allowing for washing with all types of cleaners and disinfectants. The sheeting material is permanently bonded to a fluted backing that promotes structural integrity while yielding an R3 insulation value. The panels are also lightweight and can be easily applied to nearly any surface, including studs, wood and steel framing, or unprepared walls. Duro-Therm has USDA and CFIA compliancy and is cost-effective compared to other paneling systems, making it ideal for industrial renovation or new construction projects. Parkland Plastics develops and manufactures 100% waterproof wall and ceiling paneling systems for a broad range of industries, including dairy processing.

Parkland also produces wainscot, matching moldings and a diverse line of specialty and utility panels.

Parkland Plastics Inc.
800/835-4110 Write in 429

Hunter Wall & Ceiling Systems designs, supplies and installs specialty wall and ceiling systems for the food industry. The systems are engineered to provide extended life and durability for food plant environments. For additional information, or to learn more about other projects completed, please visit www.hunterwallandceilings.com or contact Hunter Wall & Ceilings by phone during regular business hours at 888/818-3132.