The full menu op­tion for food safety and re­li­a­bil­ity

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - CORROSION CONTROL -

AN IN­CREAS­ING fo­cus on cor­ro­sion pre­ven­tion and con­tam­i­na­tion ex­clu­sion is driv­ing food and bev­er­age com­pa­nies to re­assess equip­ment spec­i­fi­ca­tions and main­te­nance prac­tices. SKF has de­vel­oped a com­pre­hen­sive range of cor­ro­sion re­sis­tant, safety com­pli­ant bear­ings de­signed specif­i­cally to meet the in­dus­try’s evolv­ing needs.

Prod­uct safety is the top pri­or­ity for food and bev­er­age man­u­fac­tur­ers, con­sumers and reg­u­la­tors alike. The lat­est in­dus­try re­quire­ments, like the US Food Safety Mod­erni­sa­tion Act,ISO 22000 and in New Zealand ”The Food Act 2014” ad­min­is­tered by the Min­istry for Pri­mary In­dus­tries, re­quire com­pa­nies to place in­creased em­pha­sis on equip­ment and pro­cesses de­signed to pre­vent prod­uct con­tam­i­na­tion dur­ing man­u­fac­ture.

Bear­ings used in food pro­duc­tion ma­chin­ery present mul­ti­ple chal­lenges in this con­text where the wide tem­per­a­ture vari­a­tions, high hu­mid­ity and chem­i­cally ag­gres­sive en­vi­ron­ments of­ten present in food pro­duc­tion can lead to ac­cel­er­ated cor­ro­sion and wear. That chal­lenge is com­pounded by wash- down pro­to­cols in­volv­ing pres­surised wa­ter jets and chem­i­cal clean­ing agents. Even main­te­nance and bear­ing re­place­ment pro­ce­dures cre­ate a risk of con­tam­i­na­tion from dropped parts or spilled lu­bri­cants.

The foun­da­tion of SKF’s of­fer­ing is the Food Line range of deep groove ball bear­ings, which fea­ture in­dus­try stan­dard stain­less steel rings, rolling el­e­ments, cages and seal back­ing plates. For the most de­mand­ing en­vi­ron­ments, the MRC Ul­tra cor­ro­sion re­sis­tant range uses pro­pri­etary high nitrogen cor­ro­sion re­sis­tant (HNCR) stain­less steel rings and ce­ramic rolling el­e­ments for dra­mat­i­cally im­proved fa­tigue life. As stan­dard, the bear­ings in both ranges are pre- lu­bri­cated with grease suit­able for in­ci­den­tal con­tact in food pro­duc­tion en­vi­ron­ments. In ac­cor­dance with FDA rec­om­men­da­tions, the syn­thetic rub­ber seals used in the bear­ings are coloured blue for op­ti­cal de­tectabil­ity. In ad­di­tion, the SKF Food Line stain­less steel deep groove ball bear­ing seals have EC ap­proval.

An al­ter­na­tive to con­ven­tional grease lu­bri­ca­tion is SKF’s Solid Oil tech­nol­ogy, a poly­mer ma­trix sat­u­rated with food grade lu­bri­ca­tion oil that keeps con­tam­i­nants out and re­sists wash- down chem­i­cals and wa­ter with­out emul­si­fy­ing. Solid Oil com­pletely fills the in­ter­nal space within the bear­ing, en­cap­su­lat­ing the cage and rolling el­e­ments. The re­sult­ing lack of in­ter­nal voids elim­i­nates ‘breath­ing’, in which tem­per­a­ture changes be­tween oper­a­tion and clean­ing cy­cles can al­low con­ven­tional bear­ings to draw in mois­ture, caus­ing cor­ro­sion. The Solid Oil ma­trix also con­tains two to four times more oil than con­ven­tional greased bear­ings, mean­ing lu­bri­cant life is ex­tended, re­duc­ing rou­tine main­te­nance re­quire­ments. This is a par­tic­u­lar ben­e­fit in hard-to- reach ar­eas.

SKF can use its ex­ten­sive ex­pe­ri­ence of the food and bev­er­age pro­duc­tion en­vi­ron­ment to de­velop cus­tom so­lu­tions for the most de­mand­ing ap­pli­ca­tions. One ma­jor ice cream pro­ducer, for ex­am­ple, was suf­fer­ing pre­ma­ture bear­ing fail­ures in its hard­en­ing tun­nels as a re­sult of cor­ro­sion due to mois­ture ingress in the bear­ings. The prob­lem was ex­ac­er­bated by breath­ing dur­ing clean­ing cy­cles, when bear­ing tem­per­ate rose rapidly from - 45°C to +25°C.

SKF re­placed the con­ven­tional bear­ings used in the ma­chine’s 32 hubs with MRC HNCR units, lu­bri­cated with food grade Solid Oil and fur­ther pro­tected by a cus­tom ma­chined, FDA ap­proved op­ti­cally de­tectable sec­ondary seal. The new de­sign has ex­tended ex­pected bear­ing life for the cus­tomer from one year to six, and elim­i­nated the need for pe­ri­odic re­lu­bri­ca­tion with tra­di­tional grease, sig­nif­i­cantly re­duc­ing the risk of prod­uct con­tam­i­na­tion and also pro­vid­ing fur­ther pro­duc­tiv­ity ben­e­fits.


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