High Performance Floor Protection for Frozen Food Manufacturer
Little Lady Foods was founded as a family business in 1961. Later in 1984, the company was sold to restaurateur Angelo Geocaris with the dream of taking his highly acclaimed pizza nationwide. With a shift in focus and a powerful management team, the company grew from $100,000 in sales in 1984 to over $300 million in 2008.
In the food business, time is of the essence. Little Lady was in the process of reconfiguring their production lines. Since production had to stop to install new equipment, the company took this as an opportunity to upgrade the old facility. Little Lady saw the chance to address an unacceptable condition with the production floor. Even though an epoxy covering was installed on the concrete, the surface had become porous, and even hazardous, as cracks and holes in the epoxy threatened the safety of the plant workers and the integrity of their products.
Concare was given a clear goal: Create a floor that was GMP compliant, slip resistant, thermal shock resistant and chemical resistant, all to be completed within 5 days.
A Hectic Environment
Little Lady Foods had numerous projects occurring at the same time. Each contractor was strictly scheduled by the hour to ensure that the project would be completed in a specified timeframe in order to meet the customer goals and minimize production downtime. The schedule did not allow for error.
The project manager at Concare along with the team of installers carefully crafted a plan to meet the designated timeframe. The project began with a thorough analysis of the floor in order to identify key issues:
Timing and Scheduling of Personnel
The facility was over 7,000 sq ft and half inch of old floor needed to be removed. Concare utilized their high production RR-300 milling machine to evenly and effectively remove the old flooring. Owning one of these Swiss-made machines, there are only 4 in the United States, Concare was able to remove the flooring in 3 shifts, saving on labor and time.
Never a Good Time
The project began with the removal of the floor. There were sections of the manufacturing facility where equipment remained in place and the team had to work with hand tools under the production lines.
That was the least of the worries. The third shift workers were faced with a critical issue: while removing the half inch of epoxy coating in one area, water sprung from under the floor. The newly formed water fountain had to be quickly contained. The team had to work fast.
The team assessed the situation and uncovered the sections of the floor where water was flowing. The management team was contacted and a solution was quickly underway.
Concare utilized hydraulic cement, a material that cures in the presence of flowing water. The cement was packed into the path of the water flow until it stopped. This issue was identified and resolved within a two hour timeframe.
With the time savings from the efficient preparation, Concare continued to maintain its focus and was still ahead of schedule. So the project manager from Little Lady Foods added to the project scope. The scope extended to an additional 3 rooms which added 15% onto the project.
Quality Control for Concrete Floor
The new flooring material selected was a urethane cement product. This material achieves the FDA compliance required, is slip resistant and withstands thermal shock. But preparation is key, so the Concare team had to comply with ICRI CSP-5 to CSP-7 specifications. To measure this, standard sample coupons were employed as comparisons for the work in progress, and only when they matched was the prep quality approved. This step is critical in ensuring the integrity of the flooring solution, and with their constant production schedule, there would be no time for rework. Additional inspections had to be made to ensure the absence of flowing water in the manufacturing floor where it had been discovered. Constant monitoring by the Concare management team, and the vigilance of its field supervisors, kept Quality at the forefront.
Since Concare formulated a proven process for removal and installation, the company took on the challenge. Despite the set-backs and additional work, Concare completed the project ahead of schedule by 12 hours with no safety incidents. This allowed further flexibility for the other contractors making their job easier to complete.