When you’re working a physically active job, every second you spend on your feet wears on you. On hard concrete floors, you can easily become tired, experiencing muscle pain and discomfort. This is especially true for parlour pit operators, many of whom spend countless hours monitoring automatic milking machines. Anti-fatigue mats are an incredibly important piece of equipment that can help you ease the stress and pain caused by standing in one place for hours at a time.
Anti-fatigue Mats Improve Operator’s Morale
Soft flooring can instantly improve the morale of your parlour pit operators, giving them the stamina to be as productive as possible. Cushioning materials, like EVA foam mats, have been proven to decrease discomfort and fatigue, helping your workers to do the best job that they can for you1.
The soles of work boots eventually wear down, and if your parlour pit only has concrete flooring, then your operators are going to experience discomfort from long shifts. But when you purchase anti-fatigue flooring for your parlour pit, your employees will thank you. They’ll appreciate that you’ve taken the time to make their lives that much easier.
High-Traction Flooring Protect
In addition, when working in a milking parlour, operators need specialised flooring which can be easily cleaned and disinfected from milk and discharge. Milk residue and bacteria combine to create a biofilm which can become incredibly slippery, and a slippery workspace is a hazard. When there’s liquid on the ground, you and your workers will need a high-traction flooring to keep your grip.
Antibacterial Flooring Is A Must For Parlour Pits
A milking parlour pit can quickly fill up with discharge from an automated milking machine. This discharge is filled with milk residue, bacteria, and the chemicals used to clean the teats.
The most important stage of the milk harvesting process is the time it takes to disinfect a teat. Chemicals are used to prevent mastitis in dairy cows. A simply spray of iodophor, a mixture of iodine and hydriodic acid used widely in the dairy industry to sanitise cow teats, can make all the difference in killing pathogens which cause mastitis.
However, the iodophor sanitiser is a health hazard for parlour pit workers, so much so that constant cleaning will need to perform to wash that away. Cleaning must also be performed on the milking equipment after each use.
After a full day of milking, a milky residue can pool on the surface of concrete. This residue is filled with bacteria and chemicals, and this can be a health hazard for your workers, which needs to be cleaned up.
EVA Anti-fatigue Foam Mats For Your Milk Parlour
One of the best anti-fatigue, high-traction flooring options for your parlour pit is EVA foam. EVA foam has a substantial cushioning ability and a high-traction surface that provides the perfect amount of traction even when wet.
EVA stands for ethylene-vinyl acetate and is an extremely versatile and durable substance. EVA is a closed-cell foam, which means that during the foaming process, small pockets of carbon dioxide are formed inside of the foam. These pockets are self-contained entities, not able to absorb liquid, and this means that EVA is water resistant. A soft and flexible foam, EVA is used in anything from toys to puzzle piece flooring. EVA is a highly durable material with a rubber-like flexibility. EVA is a step up from any open-celled foam, foam with open pockets that fill with air, because it is firmer and allows for greater shock absorption.
High-density EVA Foam’s Durability
Durability in foam mats is measured in density, with density being measured in kilogram per cubic metre (kg/cbm). This is a great metric to determine a mat’s ability to bounce back after compression. The 20mm Parlour Pit Mat offered by Stable Mats Ireland has a density of 120kg/cbm, which is an incredibly high density foam. To put this number into perspective, a medium density EVA foam is between 30kg/cbm and 50kg/cbm.
These mats work perfectly for anti-fatigue flooring for parlour pit operators to stand on, but these mats are not ideal for animals to walk on. Let’s discuss the differences between parlour mats and stable mats.
Density Difference Between Parlour Pit Mats And Stable Mats
When you ‘re dealing with animals who weigh several tonnes, you want to know that your flooring will continue to work the exact same from the first day, to the hundredth day, to the thousandth day. The way to reach that goal is to buy the best flooring for your needs.
As mentioned above, density determines durability. If you’re looking for a mat that will hold up against the pressure of large of heavy weight, then you should check out 20mm Cow Stable Jigsaw Mats which are designed for cows and horses to walk on. The density of these mats is 330kg/cbm, which is a much more dense, durable mat. These mats don’t scuff or dent as easily as the parlour pit mats and hold their original shape much better, making them the ideal choice for stables and walkways.
There is a slight difference in price between parlour pit mats and cow stable mats, with the parlour pit mats being slightly less expensive. A brilliant suggestion is to combine both types of mats in your milking parlour and adding parlour pit mats for the places that milking operators will walk.
High-density EVA Foam’s Heat Insulating Properties
Because of the closed-cell structure of EVA foam, it has great insulating properties. EVA foam can resist temperatures of minus thirty degrees Celsius and eighty degrees Celsius. The heat has a hard time permeating the tight-knit cross-linked bonds of EVA particles.
A great article on our sister site British Martial Arts Mats explains that these EVA mats have passed a European consumer standard test for flammability2. The mats offered at Stable Mats Ireland burn at an incredibly slow burn rate. This offers a layer of protection to your workers and your cows.
Antibacterial Properties of EVA Foam
Because of the closed-cell properties of EVA foam, it can also be easily cleaned and disinfected, and this allows it to be used in barns. Water cannot permeate the foam, so bacteria and chemicals cannot soak into the foam. Things that could ruin other flooring materials, seems to be easily staved off by EVA foam. Just a simple spray with a pressure washer, and you can clean the milk residue from the top of these mats.
It’s important to know, however, that fluids can slip through the cracks in the interlocking jigsaw connectors. Although the mats connect with very little gaps or seams, bacteria and chemicals can still build up in the seams and underneath the jigsaw shaped foam pieces. Therefore, you should regularly clean underneath to wash away grime underneath.
Easy to Install EVA Jigsaw Mats
The 20mm Parlour Mat listed above has one prominent feature that hasn’t been mentioned: It’s incredibly easy to install. Simple interlocking jigsaw connectors easily fit into one another, creating one large, gap-free mat. Once joined, jigsaw mats are hard to separate and the connectors are incredibly durable. These mats come with straight edging pieces for walls are to end a segment of flooring.
EVA mats are incredibly easy to cut to fit the size of the room. Using a simple Stanley utility knife, you can cut these mats to create a custom fit for your milking parlour. If you’d like to glue EVA foam mats to anything, contact cement works great to firmly fix a mat in place.
EVA foam mats are also incredibly beneficial to those who work in the milking parlour because they’ll be walking on anti-fatigue flooring with high traction. By purchasing parlour pit mats, your operators will feel less fatigued and suffer from fewer aches and pains, giving them the stamina to be as productive as possible. They’re also going to feel a lot more at ease in the parlour pit, knowing that there is less chance of slipping and falling.
Pair these mats with durable EVA foam stable mats to provide full ant-slip protection to your dairy.
Author – David Van Kooten
- EN 71-2:2011+A1:2014: Flammability