Food Engineering

Coatings are Key Ingredient on Fast-Track Pasta Project

March 26, 2003


Pasta Montana (Great Falls, MT) was built during one of the coldest winters and wettest springs in the state's recent history. Yet, the $20 million, 62,000-square-foot, facility produced its first pasta in August 1997, 10 months from the day when the plant's footings were dug.

"This building was built under the toughest conditions," says Mike Bailey, facilities manager. "There had to be perfect choreography among all people and functions to make this project happen."

Locating a supplier with coatings expertise became a critical factor since all coatings used inside the plant had to be USDA-approved for incidental food contact. Time constraints also demanded that the coatings' project stay on schedule. Pasta Montana needed technical assistance on site as well as a coating system that would meet optimal performance.

"Once the precast walls and ceiling were completed, there was an urgency to get machinery in place," notes Bailey. "Before machinery could be positioned, however, we had to get the ceiling and floors coated and in condition to bear weight."

It took about two weeks of eight-hour days to apply a one-coat system of Sherwin-Williams White Waterbased Dryfall B42W1 to 90,000 sq. ft. of precast double-T roof panels, with a dry film thickness (DFT) of 3 to 5 mils.

After acid etching, pressure washing and drying, 40,000 sq. ft. of flooring were coated with a two-coat system of Haze Gray ArmorSeal® 1000 HS. Half the area was done in one eight-hour day. The next day, the other half was done and a finish coat on the first area was applied. The floor was coated and cured to a DFT of 6 to 8 mils in a minimum of time. Once cured, a layer of sealant and a coat of non-skid wax were applied.

"In addition to USDA approval, the coatings meet our stringent standards for sanitation," Bailey points out. "It's essential that everything clean up completely and easily. And, last but not least, these coatings have to stand up in an environment of 50 percent or greater humidity at all times."

The Sherwin-Williams Co., 101 Prospect Ave., Cleveland, OH 44101-0819. Tel: (216) 566-3349.