Buckhead Beef Facility
A leading US meat and fish products company in Atlanta relies heavily on the uninterrupted efficiency of its freezers and coolers, as failures lasting more than a few hours can prove catastrophic. Established in 1983, Buckhead Beef® has been ranked #1 for the previous nine years of Certified Angus Beef® worldwide and grew to become one of the largest privately owned meat purveyors in the United States prior to joining the SYSCO family of operating companies on August 20, 1999 as a Meat Specialty Company.
Freezers and coolers are highly prone to corrosion. Typically steel parts attract moisture prior to coating and subsequently rust. Conventional epoxy protective coatings are particularly susceptible to micro-cracking due to vibrations and stresses induced by temperature changes, largely due to the coatings not retaining sufficient flexibility to overcome metal movement.
Severe corrosion was apparent in this case, with obvious coating failures. The problem was how to prepare the surfaces and re-coat in the shortest possible time without any VOCs, fumes or odors tainting the existing product and breaching FDA regulations.
There was also the need to keep the cooler and freezer rooms at near normal operating temperatures, as it was vital they be returned to service in the short window available, on a Saturday when the plant was closed.
VOC-free, odor-free Castagra Ecodur 201S has previously proven highly successful in similar applications, as well as highly demanding, sub-zero temperature applications in the oil and gas industry. In this case the cooler room was at 34F and the chiller at 20F. Ecodur is typically applied on clean, dry, prepped surfaces at 4 degrees F above the dew point.
The corrosion damaged surfaces were ground down to bare metal and wiped dry with alcohol. Because it has much greater adhesion and post-cure flexibility, it has a far longer and more robust performance life than conventional epoxies, urethanes or ureas. Ecodur also has the advantage of being odor free, non-toxic and has an ANSI/NSF 61 certification for use with surfaces in contact with drinking water.
The spray work provided the usual set of tough challenges due to the need to maintain temperatures at or near normal working temperatures. It was difficult to bring the spray material up to working temperature until the hose was raised off the floor and draped. Work site entry and exiting also had to be severely limited to prevent warm air getting in and causing condensation and dripping, so almost all the equipment was brought in at the same time.
Work began at 7am on the Saturday and the entire operation was successfully completed in a mere 10 hours and the Sunday shift went ahead as normal which would have been impossible had a conventional epoxy been used. Ecodur has an exceptionally fast cure rate, and is typically ‘dry’ within 30 minutes, even at these very low temperatures. When the application crew left, the surfaces were deemed ‘traffic ready’.
The client reported no odors and overall satisfaction that a potential threat to his production re-starting on time had been avoided. There were also no solvent disposal issues as solvents are not contained in Ecodur, nor used in its application or clean-up of equipment.