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.
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.
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Every food processor has their own unique food safety challenges. Here is one process room scenario where attention to process layout, equipment modifications and training can significantly reduce foreign material contamination.
With rising energy and labor costs, there is a continuous need to improve operational efficiency, cut expenses, and increase uptimes. One area of improvement is to increase the life and sanitation performance of motors, gear motors and bearings.
In consideration of the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership), some processors choose food safe stainless motors. Stainless components are very effective in harsh sanitation environments - encapsulated stainless steel food safety motors, however, are twice the cost of a standard motor.
The use of painted components are common in food processing plants. Sanitation is tough on equipment with caustic chemicals spraying at 1000 psi. Once the components chip, there is a risk for the paint chips to enter the food stream - corrosion then sets in and reduces the life of the painted component.
Depending on the application, it's best to start with food grade components. Apply the Steel-It brand coating technology - a cost effective and high-performance solution to component durability - using a special application process. Mepaco has been supplying this coating technology for years. Customers have been very satisfied with the result and continue to specify the food grade coating on components for all new projects.
The specialty coating is USDA approved. It blocks corrosion, wear, and abrasion and lasts 5+ years in harsh environments. It is formulated with 316 stainless micro-flakes, making it durable for sanitation and can be subjected to detergents, food acids, alkali, and various chemical agents.
Contact a sales manager for more information about cost saving sanitation.
We recently designed an in-house meat attachment test to determine performance of stainless finishes used in processing equipment. In a device designed by our technicians, we tested an electropolished panel on the left, a pickle passivated panel in the center and a bead blasted panel on the right. The 70% lean beef patty with an internal temperature of 44 degrees, was placed on each of the stainless finish examples, and the mechanism was tilted to at least 90 degrees.
The video will show that the electropolished sample demonstrated the least meat attachment.
Mepaco, part of the Apache Stainless family, offers mechanical and chemical finishing in-house. Many customers specify our high-performance finishes to reduce food safety risk and to create sanitation efficiencies.
Contact our sales and application experts for more information.
Are you planning on going to Process Expo? Click here to see our show page!
We are highlighting systems and showing you how smart system designs and modified-to-order equipment, customized to specific applications, solves for processing goals:
- Increased Yield Performance
- Optimal designs for maintenance and operation
- Increased sanitation efficiencies
- Vigilant food safety compliance
We are also showcasing our new PosiFlo Chub Feeder that is a 28 cubic foot auger/loader with leveling ribbon and horizontal pump. We will demo the HMI unit that is integrated with the system. Other show equipment includes an industrial cooker, a sanitary design conveyor and a sanitary ergonomic lift.
Our tenured Mepaco sales and engineering teams are driven and dedicated to solving production problems for industrial food processing customers. Our specialists have an average of 20 years of experience from application support to equipment fabrication that forms an effective team to provide performance solutions.
Check out our show page and Ask the Experts at Process Expo!
The night shift has completed their work and the sanitation team begins flooding the process room with cleaning chemicals, water and spray to soak and sanitize every nook and cranny. And what often gets blasted away? The drain plug often goes missing. Sometimes the cleaning crew doesn’t even know it went down the drain. Sometimes the production staff starting up the next shift also doesn’t know it is missing.
Many food processing people have a similar story, so Mepaco invented a tool-less self-containing plug that is impossible to lose and easy to appreciate.
Mepaco’s plug ejects far enough to release the waste, but is restrained against a solid welded restrictive barrier that holds the plug in line, without limiting performance, or enabling escape.
Other plug designs don’t hold up to rigorous cleaning and aren’t designed to prevent the harboring of bacteria. While sanitation teams want easy to clean solutions that will pass inspection, production wants efficiency with no loss of product. Losing plugs are no longer a concern with these self-containing plugs.
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