Shadow boards are fast becoming the norm in progressive food factories looking to implement systems like 5S and lean management, so we would like to highlight some of the features that you should be looking for to ensure your investment lasts the distance.
- Firstly the board should be made from a durable non-porous material but not PVC sheet as this becomes brittle over time (we have seen where a bit much force was used on a hook and it smashed a hole in the shadow board). Also, you don’t want any boards with the likes of aluminium clashing around the edge as you would expect on a traditional whiteboard. There should be nothing on the boards that can corrode when in contact with water and chemicals. Neither should there be any components that can be easily removed and become a foreign matter risk.
- For the best durability you want the boards to be printed directly, not printing done on a vinyl that is then applied to the board. All printing should be protected by a heat applied laminate that is matt finish, scuff resistant and also resistant to chemicals and water blasting as commonly experienced in the food industry. Vinyl applied to the board with laminate on top of that means these two layers are quite thick and more likely to be damaged or delaminate over time. Whereas a printed board with laminate that is heat pressed on provides a harder, more durable finish that is far less likely to peel off.
- The hooks need to be durable so they can’t bend or break, are corrosion-resistant and easy to clean. You really can’t go past 304 grade stainless for durability in a Food Factory. The hooks are best to be secured to the board with bolts that sandwich the board as opposed to rivets as this is far stronger. We recommend the hooks are secured at two points to ensure they do not twist on the board. For ultimate hygiene, make sure there are no exposed threads from bolts that secure the hooks to the board.
- All the hardware required and the instructions on how to put the board up should be provided by your supplier. Many times we have seen boards that look nice but have been put it up shoddily so getting the correct mounting options is critical.
- Think about how you want to clean behind the boards for maintenance and hygiene before giving them to your engineer to put up. There are mounting options such as hinge kits, stand-off mounts and even magnets available to enable you to remove the board easily, clean behind it and put the board back in place. These may be a better long-term solution for high hygiene areas rather than directly fixing the board to the wall and using silicone to seal it as silicone can become unhygienic over time.
- Please check with your supplier how they intend to transport your new shadow boards. Although the board may be durable when fixed to the wall, they can easily become damaged in transit. Ensure the boards are placed on a single pallet that is larger than the size of the boards and appropriate packaging is used to protect the boards until installation.
If you are looking to transform your factory with market leading shadow boards that tick all the boxes, read here for more info and fill in the form below for one of our team to make contact with you.
Post by Nathan Senior