An effective warehouse floor begins with its construction.  Now, an award-winning new product installed during the concrete pour is set to improve the way warehouse and distribution centres perform – solving construction joint problems, reducing vehicle damage, and adding value for the lifetime of the building.

The problem with construction joints

One of the most significant potential problem areas in a warehouse or distribution centre floor is undoubtedly the construction joints. Essential in concrete floor construction (even ‘jointless’ concrete floors), joints can quickly crumble or ‘spall’ once the building is in use unless they are protected from the impact caused by materials handling vehicles pounding over the joints every day. The vehicles suffer damage too, as the jarring effect of travelling over a damaged joint results in wheels needing to be replaced prematurely. For the warehouse operator, this all means costly repairs, disruption to operations, and vehicles out of action.

Defending construction joints

Traditionally construction joints have been protected with heavy parallel steel strips. While effective in many instances, directional traffic situations – where vehicles pass over the joint at 90° – have always presented a challenge. Vehicles often need to slow down to pass over the joints, making a tell-tale clunking noise as the wheels drop between the two sides of the joint. So important is the issue of construction joints, their position can actually influence the layout of a warehouse, such as where racking can be placed; and thus have a direct effect on the efficiency of the building and how it can be used during its lifetime.

A new approach

Taking a different approach to the problem, Permaban has recently launched a new style armoured joint, Permaban Signature®. Rather than defend the joint from impact with parallel steel strips, the product’s unique half-hexagon shape stops impact from happening at all. Vehicles can pass smoothly, and noiselessly, over the joint regardless of the angle of approach.

The corrugation runs the full depth of the joint, ensuring maximum strength. Dowels built into the joint ensure consistent load-bearing across the entire floor.

Signature works with gap sizes as wide as 40mm, making it suitable for use in large bay ‘jointless’ concrete floors, and in cold store and freezer stores, where joint sizes tend to be wider due to the behaviour of concrete in low temperature. The product’s innovative design was rewarded at the 2012 UK Concrete Show with the “Most Innovative New Product” award.

First installations around Europe

Leading warehouse operators around Europe are now seeing the benefits of Signature, and installing the product in their new developments – including DB Schenker, where 400m of Signature has recently been installed at their new Ilvesvuori Logistics Terminal at Nurmijärvi, Finland, about 23 miles north of Helsinki.

The 25,000m2 building features a large-bay jointless steel fibre reinforced concrete floor, and Permaban’s Signature joints have been used throughout. The floor comprises bays of around 1,500m2, and the joints were used to create a firm boundary for each bay, so flooring contractor Lattia-Miredex could ensure a smooth quality finish to the floor’s surface.  Permaban’s Finnish distributor, PiiMat, provided technical guidance and support throughout the specification and installation.

Further installations are now taking place for other leading logistics companies and property developers in Russia and France.

More information about the Signature joint can be found at www.permaban.com.