Opinion

Combating contamination with hygienic equipment design

By Gareth Lenton

- Last updated on GMT

Eriks UK director Gareth Lenton gives top tips for combating poor hygienic equipment design
Eriks UK director Gareth Lenton gives top tips for combating poor hygienic equipment design
Nine out of ten bacterial contamination cases in food processing are caused by poor hygienic equipment design – and gearboxes and motors are a primary cause.

At Eriks, we’ve identified three common problems that form the basis of a three-step action plan.

Specify motors equipped with anti-condensation breathers

 Condensation build-up can harbour bacteria, shorten operational life, and result in unnecessary downtime and increased maintenance costs.

An anti-condensation breather compensates for the pressure differential between the warm air inside the motor and the cooler air outside, which prevents condensation and water from building up inside the motor. This leads to less corrosion, less monitoring and longer meantime between failures.

Choose gears and motors that have smooth surfaces

Cooling ribs, hollow areas and sharp edges are perfect hiding places for food as they’re often immune to daily washdowns.

Bacteria then multiply in these spots and can eventually enter the food. Motors with round and easy-clean designs prevent food from accumulating, thereby reducing contamination risk. For the best results, look for motors without tag plates.

Switch to stainless steel

We know of one multinational retailer that wants its suppliers to exchange existing geared units for stainless steel designs.

It’s easy to see why: gear corrosion – specifically housing and bearing rust – can build up over time and even enter the food. Stainless steel geared motors speed up cleaning times and potentially save food processors up to 60% on cleaning costs.

While this plan only covers gearboxes and motors, food processors that implement it stand to see huge improvements in the lifespan of critical equipment, overall costs for cleaning, and the safety and quality of their products.

Gareth Lenton is director of the Power Transmission Technology Centre at Eriks UK.

Related topics: Food Safety, Processing equipment

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