Apache routinely conducts tests for customers and in-house studies on the benefits of electropolished surfaces on food contact surfaces.
Highlighted above, is a study that compares high-end finishes under 200X magnification:
It shows the RA (Roughness average) reading in four finish examples of 304 stainless steel. In the study, the electropolished finish is more than six times smoother that the bead blasted finish.
What makes this study significant is that food processors can leverage electropolished surfaces to increase food safety performance. Our customer’s who choose electropolished food contact surfaces tell us that food safety is significantly enhanced, and sanitation efficiencies are realized in time savings and water usage.
We received a request for a maintenance audit on a high volume meat processing line that is a supplier to fast food restaurant chains. The first round of inspection uncovered several maintenance issues:
A Pump Feeder motor kept tripping the breaker and caused constant down-time.
The gearbox bearings were bad and was causing excess loading. The gearbox was replaced which fixed the issue. Reducing down-time for that Pump Feeder.
Mixers on the processing line did not pull sufficient vacuum.
Both mixers had multiple vacuum leaks through cracked welds, worn out seals, incorrect seals and improperly installed seals The seals were replaces and the cracked welds were repaired which allowed the unit to pull required vacuum 2 minutes faster, decreasing cycle times.
Inspection uncovered possible catastrophic failure of the agitators.
Both mixers had agitators with cracked welds. They were repaired during scheduled maintenance.
Vacuum Stuffers were underperforming.
Two stuffers in the processing line were underperforming and producing poor quality product due to lack of vacuum. Both stuffers had worn out pumps that were rebuilt and worn out seals that were replaced. These changes gave the processor a 28% increase in throughput out of the stuffer and better-quality product without air bubbles.
The cost for the maintenance audit, including a detailed report was $2000, plus travel expenses. The result was savings in energy, down-time, batch turnaround and overall increased production. This processor in fact, contracts with Mepaco every six months for a maintenance audit to avoid unplanned delays and to make sure their line is running as efficiently as possible.
Learn more about Field Services
Processors should be able to focus on critical operations and not have to worry about auxiliary equipment. That's what Mepaco's CD1000 Column Dumper delivers; a Column Dumper that is heavily built, engineered for easy maintenance, built to strict sanitary design standards, and like our processing equipment solutions, modifiable to meet specific production requirements.
The animation features a new option in Mepaco's Column Dumper, a 60 degree dump angle for applications where every particulate must be added to the batch.
For more information, download our Column Dumper Flyer.
Here's a quick infographic and guide with 7 common parts in food processing equipment that should be in stock for year-end / holiday shut-down maintenance.
1. Motors: Extra motors can prevent unnecessary emergency shut-downs and lost production.
LONG LEAD TIME
2. Agitators: Agitators are custom fabricated to your machine specification, and require longer lead time than typical parts.
3. Cylinders: Make sure you have cylinder back-ups, which can also have long lead times.
4. Safety Switches: Keep extra safety switches in inventory to reduce downtime.
5. Bearings: Mepaco's recommendation for bearings is 1 or 2 back-ups. Check to see if the bearing is a common stock item; if it is not common, plan for longer lead times.
6. Shaft Seals: Plan on 2 - 3 seals per shaft, depending on usage.
7. Gaskets: Gaskets are usually sold in bulk by the foot, check your inventory to make sure you have an ample supply.
If you want to review your parts needs, contact Monica Planasch, Mepaco's Parts Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We've developed an interactive PDF that includes industry news and best practices, paired with Mepaco's solutions and videos to help processors solve food safety challenges.
Look for these symptoms:
Mepaco equipment available with vacuum are Vacuum Stuffers, Thermablend Cookers and Mixer Blenders. If the cause cannot be determined, please call Field Services at 920-356-7334 for further assistance.
If you would like to learn more about food safety and sanitation equipment innovations trending in food processing equipment and systems, we are offering a Lunch & Learn presentation.
Our focus will be to customize this presentation to talk about your production needs, and safety and sanitation goals.
We will monitor COVID-19 travel and distancing regulations and if allowed, we can have the Lunch & Learn at Apache Stainless or at your facility. Just let us know and we will take care of lunch.
We will also offer a virtual meeting if that works best, and we will send attendees a gift card for lunch on us!
We look forward to hearing from you!
Contact a technical sales manager to schedule!
In terms of material used in food processing and commercial equipment, here is the list of stainless materials from smoothest to the roughest RA range.
Electropolished surfaces range from 6 RA – 14RA microinches. Electropolishing can change RA values up to 50% smoother, depending on the material being treated.
2B Mill Finish – This is a widely used stainless steel finish, common in industrial, chemical and food applications. It is corrosion resistance and has a typical range from 15RA (16 gauge) – to 40 RA (7 gauge) microinches.
No. 4/Dairy Finish – For processing industries, the Dairy finish is required to meet the basic 3-A standards. It uses a 180 grit and has an RA range of 18-31 microinches.
No. 4 Finish – This finish uses a 150-grit abrasive creating a polished brushed surface. The RA range is 29-40 microinches.
No. 3 Finish – The No. 3 finish uses a 120 grit abrasive. It has a semi-polished finish with an RA range of 36 – 58 microinches.
Bead Blasted surfaces have a soft satin appearance and low reflection. The process of bead blasting utilizes bead material such as glass or ceramic beads to produce a non-directional, textured surface. The finer the blasting media, the more corrosion resistance the surface performance. The RA values are typically higher than 45RA microinches, but are dependent on the blasting process and the stainless material.
Improve your Stainless Finishes IQ; read our complimentary e-book.
An equipment safety and sanitation audit can provide direction for implementing improvement procedures and specifying equipment updates that mitigate risk and solve for safety and production goals. Here’s an excerpt from our audit checklist:
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