Alan Phillips and his RapidShield team at Universal Highways have been working with a leading supermarket chain to revolutionize the way storage bay lines and safety symbols are applied in their distribution centres. As a result they have been able to provide operational cost savings, massive performance and life time benefits and created a more efficient and safer workplace.
The efficient and safe distribution of goods to its stores is key to the success of every supermarket business. Each distribution centre includes many marked storage bays, walkways, and floor safety signs and in this fast moving and high safety environment these need to be clearly defined, especially when bays are altered or new walkways added.
The usual practice at most warehouse and distribution businesses is to use conventional epoxy type coatings and sealers to create new lines and this means that parts of the operation could be out of action for up to 48 hours while they cure.
As part of an investigation into the possibility of speeding up this process and making the lines last longer a review of the latest floor coating technologies was carried out, and as a result arrangements made with Alan Phillips of Universal Highways to conduct a series of field trials using RapidShield, a new UV-curable floor coating system. Universal Highways is an approved Certified Flooring Contractor (CFC) for RapidShield.
Even though line application has been my business for over 25 years, conventionally applied epoxy lines only stay really visible for 2-4 months, sometimes weeks as they hold dirt and tyre marks very quickly” said Alan.
Once applied to a prepared, clean floor, RapidShield is cured instantly by a portable unit that emits UV-light, turning the coating into a solid film which creates a strong bond to the substrate, A durable, non-slip, gloss or matt finish with excellent chemical resistance is produced, which thanks to the fast cure can be used again within minutes, slashing disruption to operations.
The trials immediately proved the benefits of the product even in the very high traffic areas. By experimenting with combinations of clear and coloured RapidShield and conventional epoxy coatings a best practice document was finalized. Results showed that a hybrid system was the most suitable for large warehouses and distribution centres – With this, the lines and logos are first applied with a specified epoxy coating, this being then overcoated very quickly with clear RapidShield and cured.
Alan stated that this way the end customer gets the benefit of the speed of application of the epoxy line but the high performance and instant cure of the RapidShield. In areas such as food processing and packing a total RapidShield system can be offered.
In a first contract, 5,000 linear metres of yellow bay lines and dozens of walkman logos, zebra crossings and safety zones were created at one of the supermarket’s distribution complexes in the Midlands, where the local EHO had judged that many bay lines were too feint and had to be repainted. The company takes staff safety very seriously so this was a problem to be addressed quickly.
This posed a number of challenges for the RapidShield team; this was a 24/7 operation where disruption to work patterns and bays out of service for an excessive time was not acceptable. Speed was of the essence.
Said Alan: "this is the problem that we could only have solved with RapidShield. We were able to remove the old lines, prepare the floor and re-apply new lines and hand the floor back to the customer within a few hours of closure."
"The customer is delighted with the hard, high gloss lines and logos which resist lift truck tyre marks much better than epoxy coatings with 2-4 times the life expectancy. The fact that RapidShield is odourless contains no solvents or isocyanates and complies with VOC and HAP regulations means normal work continued around us while we were applying the lines."
"The customer was amazed by the speed and the ongoing performance of the coating and told us they could not have hoped for such an excellent result," concludes Alan. ”In any new build program this hybrid system is now specified as the safety sign and line system that must be used”