Floor markings at Albert Heijn distribution centre, Zwolle

The Albert Heijn distribution centre in Zwolle comprises 117 docks where hundreds of trucks are loaded daily between 23.00 and 18.00 hours. ‘And they are always on schedule, because late deliveries are not accepted at the stores. To be able to apply new floor markings under such conditions you must work very fast and follow a tight planning. SolidLux could be the solution. SolidLux floor coatings are instantly cured by UV light and immediately load and impact resistant. By using this technology and adapting to the truck drivers’ schedule it should be possible to apply the new floor markings without closing any of the docks’, anticipated Gert Stroeve, a Facility Management project manager at Albert Heijn.

Practical and achievable

Stroeve was pointed into the direction of SolidLux via Lenferink, a building finishing and property maintenance company based in Zwolle, which is always on the lookout for new solutions and developments on behalf of its customers. Lenferink organised a mini-symposium on SolidLux; a floor coating which the manufacturer claims can be applied very quickly, cures instantly, and is immediately impact resistant. ‘It was certainly interesting’, comments Stroeve, ‘but I was mainly interested to see if this product could be used for floor marking. Because that would be a perfect solution for us, seeing that our distribution centre is signposted with several kilometres of floor markings that need repainting every couple of years. A time consuming affair that must be completed in difficult circumstances, often under low temperatures, meaning it may take up to 8 hours for the floor coating to cure. That’s why we usually carry out this type of maintenance on Saturday nights, as this is the last moment left that our centre actually closes. Over the years we’ve virtually become a 24/7 services provider, so we’re always looking for solutions that do not interfere with or disturb the primary processes. In fact I have experimented myself with floor markings using light projection. It’s probably the most flexible form of line marking but not easy to implement and the investment is substantial. From that perspective, SolidLux is definitely a more practical and achievable solution.’

“In terms of speed and robustness SolidLux delivers on its promise, even where used in the cold storage cells. And that makes for a very versatile, practical solution for floor coating and marking.”

Maximum mileage, minimum fuss – team work

Lenferink, a certified SolidLux application firm, subsequently performed a number of floor marking pilots at the Albert Heijn distribution centre. ‘We conducted tests under variable conditions with various colours, which at once allowed us to refine our technique and planning system’, explains Franck van Hooff of Lenferink. ‘The challenge for us, as application technicians, was to achieve efficient coordination of the ‘production train’: preparing, priming, and finishing. We have extensive experience of traditional floor marking, but in this case you were dealing with a completely new technology using UV lamps. But, with every mile we’re improving our efficiency and seeing the benefits (time saving being the most important). And that’s truly a team effort. We have received some feedback on the colour scheme, however, in terms of speed and robustness, SolidLux delivers on its promise, even where used in the cold storage cells. And that makes for a very versatile and practical solution for floor coating and marking.’