Testing hygienic wall claddings, comparison between PVC and PolySto FRP wall claddings for food production.

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Both PVC and PolySto FRP sheets can be used for walls and ceilings. PolySto FRP sheets, which are an ideal solution for hygienic walls and ceilings in a food production facility, have several advantages over PVC plates.

Five tests were carried out to demonstrate the advantages of FRP sheets over PVC sheets. The first test is a graffiti test with water and alcohol-based markers, the second a scratch test with knife, scissors and sandpaper. Followed by a mechanical connection test to compare the seal joints of the two products. Then an impact test and a comparison by applying hot water to demonstrate resistance to higher temperatures.

Graffiti test

The materials used are a water-based marker, an alcohol-based marker, a PolySto FRP sheet and a PVC sheet. Both sheets are possible alternatives to ceilings, whether in the form of ceiling panels or tiles. In both experiments we marked the sheet, first with the water-based marker and in a second step with the alcohol-based marker. By cleaning both stripes with a similar pressure, the water-based stripe is easily removed, but the alcohol-based stripe could not be removed from the PVC plate. Afterwards, we performed the same tests on the FRP sheet. We were able to remove both the alcohol-based and water-based markings. If additional cleaning is required, PolySto HygiClean tissues can be used.

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Scratching test

A scratched surface increases the permeability for liquids. This will eventually create an environment where bacteria can grow. To demonstrate that our walls and ceilings meet the highest hygienic standards, we conducted a scratch test on both the PVC and FRP sheets to test their scratch resistance.

A knife, scissors and sandpaper were used to scratch a PVC and FRP sheet under similar pressure. The PVC sheet was damaged while the PolySto FRP sheet proved its scratch resistance and remained undamaged. In addition, we have added the test results of the Wolf-Wilborn method that allows to measure the scratch hardness of surfaces.

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Mechanical connection

Apart from the previously mentioned characteristics of both wall claddings, the installation phase of both the PVC and the PolySto FRP wall cladding is also very important. The joints between the wall claddings can be damaged by high pressure cleaning, impacts, chemicals or aging. This test was carried out by pouring a viscous liquid on both coatings. Dirt has managed to penetrate the joints of the PVC cladding. These joints are not accessible for cleaning and therefore a possible source for the growth of harmful bacteria.

When testing on the FRP cladding, HygiSeal is used to ensure the integrity of the connections. PolySto came up with HygiSeal for the chemical welding of joints. This is a single-component hybrid construction joint that ensures a joint that is seamless, durable and anti-fungal. The smooth non-porous surface is also resistant to continuous high-pressure cleaning.

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Impact resistance

In industries, internal transport (trolleys, fork lifts,…) often crashes into the walls and this often leads to damage that allows bacteria to develop. It is therefore important to have a wall cladding that is well resistant to impacts. We pushed the same metal cart (Eurobin) against a PCV sheet and FRP sheet, after which we inspected both sheets after the impact. There was visible damage on the PVC sheet while the FRP sheet remained intact.

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Hot water resistance

This test proves the suitability of PolySto FRP sheets at higher temperatures. After applying boiling water to both sheets, the PVC sheet could be bent while the PolySto FRP sheet retained its integrity.

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