In the Midwest, beer rules. So when a large and popular Midwestern brewery needed a new protective floor coating in one of its production facilities last winter, time was of the essence.
That’s why Indue Sales & Services, Inc., a turnkey provider based in Hudson, Wisconsin, which manufactures and installs its own coatings, was a natural fit for the job. The project entailed coating more than 6,000 square feet (557.4 m²) at the brewery, with 38 full-time crew members and 20 part-timers completing the work within three days.
The coating materials used in the brewery project were all urethane-based and from Indue’s unique line of products. According to Dan Koehler, vice president at Indue Sales & Services, the turnkey model served as a major perk for the client, which wishes to remain unnamed.
“It’s one of the big advantages of working with us,” Koehler said. “Since we make all the products, it’s easy for us to get more if we need it. It’s only one line of communication for the client. If they ever have an issue or question about the products, they can come right to us. It makes us faster and more efficient on the job, and it saves everyone money and time.”
On the fourth day after starting this project, traffic returned to the brewery floor, and Indue’s work received glowing reviews from the client. Here’s how they did it.
Starting a New Brew
To begin the process on day one, the crew removed the brewery’s existing tile using Bosch jackhammers. They then prepped the surface using Metabo grinders with diamond blades. The grinders were attached to Ruwac vacuums. Crew members wore hard hats, hair and beard nets, safety glasses, respirators, high-visibility T-shirts, and steel-toed boots at all times during the work — representing standard safety equipment when working at a food plant.
With the tile removed, the floor needed to be re-sloped to the drains. To do this, the crew needed to get the correct pitch in the sloping process. Crew members used a PLS4 line laser from Pacific Laser Systems to map out and measure the pitches. They then installed the Indu-Rok product — a rapid-setting, water-borne mortar left to set for 12 hours. During this stage, crew members also used an air filter from Advanced Containment Systems, Inc. (ACSI) to draw in any accumulated dust.
As Koehler said, “We basically reshaped the floor down to the drains.” He added, “One of our niches is knocking out all of these tiles, reshaping with concrete, and then coming back the next day and grinding and re-prepping the concrete and putting the coatings over it.”
On the second day, the Indue crew used the same Metabo grinders to prep the set Indu-Rok surface for the next layer of the coating system. They paid particular attention around drains, doorways, and any adjacent flooring before keying in saw cuts of approximately 0.25 in by 0.5 in (6.4 mm x 12.7 mm) on all exposed edges. These edges are what receive the brunt of impact from traffic, Koehler said, adding that this process also helped to add thickness and toughness while smoothing the transition from the old surface to the new surface.
The crew then beveled down to those cuts, which smoothed out the transitions and added strength to common failure points. “This area was rather tight and limited in space,” Koehler said. The crew “had lots of detail around the drains, machine legs, and equipment.” Some say the devil is in the details, but this crew embraced the challenge!
After vacuuming the surface, the crew proceeded to the Indu-Crete MT (MaxTrowel) layer, which was red in color. Koehler said the urethane MT product was developed specifically for food manufacturing environments. To help with coordination of the installation, the crew prepared a mix area with plastic sheeting first, and then a layer of cardboard. Crew members again used ACSI’s air filter to draw out any dust.
From there, a coordinated effort began between mixing and troweling the Indu-Crete MT. The crew troweled it out at a thickness of approximately 0.25 in (6.4 mm), using spike-and-loop rollers to smooth out any ridges and to bring more liquids to the top. Bringing these liquids to the top helped the new system accept the size of the aggregate used by the crew.
“Any less liquid, the aggregate wouldn’t hold as well,” Koehler said. “Any more liquid, and you can get splash marks or snakes from the action of broadcasting.”
While still wet, the crew broadcast Estes’ Ceramacolor Quartz, S grade, also in red to excess. “We’ve found this size and shape quartz not only adds color consistency throughout the coating system, but it also provides just the right amount of non-skid,” Koehler said.
The mixture was then allowed to cure overnight.
Bottling It Up
To begin the third and final day of work, the contracting crew swept up and vacuumed all the excess aggregate, making sure to get into all of the nooks and crannies. While this particular job at the brewery did not have joints, Koehler said that if it did, this is where they would have chalked these and flushed with a polyurea.
The crew then installed its urethane cement coving material called Indu-Crete WC (WallCove). They primed the area first with a thin coat of WC Primer before mixing and installing the WallCove.
“WallCove is easy to install and cures quickly, allowing us to apply the topcoat an hour after installation,” Koehler said.
To top the coving, the crew used TTC (ThickTopCoat). This is a urethane topcoat for use over coving and walls. After the coving was coated and excess aggregate swept up, the crew then applied a tinted Indue-UTC (UrethaneTopCoat) at a rate of approximately 150 square feet per gallon (13.9 m² per L) over the remaining S-grade aggregate. The crew applied the UTC over the surface and the floor.
“We developed UTC with the best raw ingredients and ease-of-use in mind,” Koehler said regarding the manufacturing side of the house. “It is unique in that not only is it tough, ultraviolet [UV] stable, and chemical and heat resistant, but the mix ratios can be tweaked for hot or cool installation environments.”
The crew then allowed the topcoat to cure for the last night.
Experience Brews Success
By the fourth day, the topcoat had cured and traffic returned to the brewery floor! According to Koehler, the client gave the contractor rave reviews for the work. “They loved it,” he said. “They were very impressed. We’re a pretty professional company. We come in, we look good, we dress well, and we make sure all of our equipment and trucks are top-notch.”
According to Koehler, the vast majority of his company’s business comes from food and beverage manufacturing facilities, and that experience came in handy during the brewery project.
“We understand the environment, the time constraints, and how to communicate with these people,” Koehler said. “We understand them pretty well and the concerns that they have.”
Specifically, it was the emphasis on communication that proved critical on this project.
“In the last year, we’ve become more and more confident in the process, especially in this type of job,” Koehler said. “I think this was one project where we learned that the line of communication was so important. And that reinforces the importance of doing that on every job.” With that emphasis in mind, Indue and the coatings crew toasted to a job well done. Cheers!