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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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:
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.
Here is a quick read on our products and industries that Mepaco serves.
Equipment Products: Cookers, Blenders, Dumpers, Metering Screw Conveyors, Mixers, Pump Feeders, Sanitary Belt Conveyors, Sanitary Design Lifts, Vacuum Stuffers and systems.
Food Manufacturing Industries: Dairy, Meat and Poultry, Pet Food, Plant-Based Foods and Proteins, Processed Foods and RTE, Fruits and Vegetables.
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