- Corrosive materials
Food processing plants are generally quite corrosive environments. This is due to a few factors; the chemical properties of certain foodstuffs and the use of water and chemicals during the cleaning process.
Foods may be corrosive simply due to their chemical composition, particularly those that are highly acidic such as citrus, jams, sauces and pickled foods. Also, some food products are treated with certain chemicals for preservative purposes, which can be highly corrosive to metals.
The food industry is particularly stringent in its requirements for hygiene and sanitation in food production plants. Large amounts of water and, with it very often, cleaning chemicals are used in daily cleaning procedures within a processing plant. In addition, water is also used extensively in steam heating, cooling, and cooking. Water is one of the most corrosive elements within a production plant, and although its use cannot be avoided, its impact can be reduced. Conveying equipment should be designed and manufactured with corrosion-reducing attributes such as smooth surfaces, minimal projections, protective coatings and the use of corrosion-resistant materials.
- Dust control
The control of dust within a food processing plant is a critical challenge that must be addressed. A number of foods produce fines and dust when handled. This dust can pose a serious health hazard for people working within the production plant, as exposure to fine dust can cause skin and even respiratory conditions. Some substances, such as flours and sugars, when moved, also produce dust that can be highly explosive. This creates a safety risk that can have potentially disastrous consequences. Under these conditions, it is vital to ensure that conveyors are design to be fully enclosed and supplied with necessary dust extraction systems to remove dangerous dust particles.
- Other challenges
Some food processes that involve the blending or mixing of products require the homogeneity of the mixture to be maintained, particularly when the product is being transferred from one process to another, such as from mixing to packaging. It is vital that the right type of conveying equipment is used in order to ensure that the mixture integrity is preserved.
Other issues in a food production plant many include potential safety risks, when handling hazardous or explosive products. Sanitation and product contamination may also be an important concern.
Ultimately it is critical that the correct type of conveyor be used for the specific product application. It is vital to work with conveyor suppliers that have experience within the food industry and understand the many challenges that may be encountered in food production; who can advise you on best practices and are able to custom design conveyor systems and solutions that are tailored to your exact requirements. This will ensure better and more consistent end-product quality, less downtime and that the equipment lasts longer.
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