Food processing units require a lot of chemical and physical raw materials that go through several procedures such as extraction, purification, emulsification, pasteurization, canning, filtration, drying, etc. To make these procedures successful, every food processing unit requires equipment and apparatuses. Before assigning tasks to these instruments, they are assessed based on their cost, longevity, robustness, and whether they fit the purpose. Apart from these factors, emphasis should be made on their hygiene and safety too.
Food processing units have a hygiene-critical environment. If the standards are compromised, it can take a heavy toll on consumers and land your company in costly food recalls and reputational damages.
Just like the instruments, their parts, such as sprockets and bushings, must be assessed, too, since they play an important role in keeping the machines together for work. Food processing bushings implement millions of cycles for transferring food and material. Therefore, here are some tips that will guide you in your selection.
1) Choose material that doesn’t swell-
Bushings are made up of non-food grade nylon, and similar materials can easily absorb water and harvest bacteria. Microbiological contaminations can be hazardous for food processing units and can lead to food recalls. Therefore, bushing materials must be investigated before their use. However, choose only those thermoplastics that do not swell when it comes in contact with stagnant water.
2) Choose the right colors-
Brightly coloured bushings can contaminate food since the materials directly contact the bushings, and color can transfer from bushing to the food product. Therefore, bushings are mostly white to ensure quality controllers that nothing foreign has entered the system that can change the color of the bushings and food.
3) Choose the ones that don’t require lubricants-
Lubricants are used for the smooth functioning of the bearings; therefore, food-grade lubricants can be safely used in food processing plants without stressing that they will contaminate the processed food with toxic chemicals. However, bushings and material handling equipment are made up of materials like thermoplastic that do not require lubrication. This prevents food particles to trap into lubricating compounds and later pollute the production chain.
4) Choose those with better chemical resistance-
Equipment that is used regularly must be cleaned once every week. Cleaning the machines and their parts is important in the food processing industry. Ensure that the bushings that come in contact with food chemicals or cleaning chemicals should not degrade. If the machinery is easily degraded, it can require frequent repairs and replacements, causing money drains. Therefore, choose bushings made up of high chemical resistance material such as thermoplastics. Many other materials that have been preferred for bushings have shown chemical resistance over a range of acids and alkalis.
5) Choose the one with optimal operating range-
Steam cleaning procedures are advised for several food processing industries since they may use bushings made up of thermoplastics that can withstand high temperatures. Experts should test the materials before opting for steam cleaning since some plastic bushings will melt when exposed to high temperatures.