Flotex FR can be maintained using standard cleaning equipment and is suitable for wet cleaning
Choosing floor coverings is challenging for cruise and passenger ferry operators.
Different areas onboard vessels have their own unique demands, so they must consider factors such as International Maritime Organization (IMO) certification, aesthetics, comfort, durability, sound absorption, slip resistance, sustainability and maintenance.
Flotex FR is a unique textile, flocked floor covering, which combines the cleaning and durability features of resilient flooring with the comfort, slip resistance and acoustic properties usually associated with textiles. It is IMO tested and approved in accordance with the Maritime Equipment Directive (MED).
Unlike most textiles, Flotex FR can be easily maintained using standard cleaning equipment and its impervious backing also makes it suitable for wet cleaning. Flotex FR is durable due to its dense surface pile and can be cleaned down to its base due to its upright nylon fibres and impermeable PVC backing. Having been awarded the prestigious Allergy UK Seal of Approval, Flotex FR is also proven to reduce allergens, improving indoor air quality for passengers.
A recent Cleaning Research International study compared the cleanability of a flocked pile floor covering with both a loop pile and a cut pile carpet. Identically sized samples of each type of floor covering were conditioned, weighed and then dirtied using 10 grams of standard soil. They were then reconditioned and reweighed before being vacuumed with an upright vacuum cleaner fit with a brush, a spray extraction nozzle and a contra-rotating brush cleaner. At each stage, the samples were dried, reconditioned and weighed to determine how much soil had been removed. The results clearly demonstrated the superior cleanability of the flocked floor covering, showing that a 77.7 per cent mean of soil was removed after the use of a contra-rotating brush cleaner. This meant it had the least amount of soil remaining after each cycle.
Ship operators will need to vary the method and frequency of cleaning processes for Flotex FR depending on the area of use onboard the vessel, the volume and rate of foot traffic, and the type of soiling being brought inside. Simple upright vacuuming is very effective as a regular cleaning method whilst hot water spray extraction or three-in-one spray and brush machine methods are better for deep cleaning. Fresh spillages should be spot cleaned as quickly as possible, while water soluble stains, such as jam or red wine, should be scraped, rinsed with hot water and brushed to agitate the pile and remove any excess liquid. Greasy stains, such as those from oil, will require the use of detergent mixed with a small amount of hot water and apply the same scrape, scrub and rinse method, ensuring that the detergent is fully rinsed out with clean water. Stains such as permanent marker or shoe polish can be removed using a safe solvent and chewing gum can be lifted with the help of a suitable freezing agent.
The amount of time it takes for a floor covering to dry is also a major concern for operators who are keen to minimise turnaround times. The study also looked specifically at this aspect and tested the drying characteristics of flocked floor coverings alongside six different carpet constructions. Each floor covering was subjected to two passes using an industrial spray extraction machine and the remaining moisture content was measured after various periods of time to establish how long each took to dry. After just two hours, the flocked pile sample was substantially drier than all the other constructions of carpet, with only 0.57 per cent of moisture remaining, and after five hours, the pile was almost completely dry. Other samples still retained significant amounts of moisture.
Flocked floor coverings are clearly different to any other carpets on the market in terms of cleanability. Factor in their faster drying times, durability, allergy benefits, acoustic and slip resistant properties, varied design options and it is clear to see why this innovative floor covering is popular with passenger ship operators worldwide.
Béatrice Balle Coureau is product manager of Flotex at Forbo Flooring Systems
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