Bakery Equipment Lubrication Solutions
While lubricants are an absolute necessity in any production facility, their use in the food industry poses some unique challenges. Fortunately, a host of innovative lubrication options can keep the production process going and still ensure absolute food safety.
Lubricants and greases are essential in processing equipment and machinery. It reduces the metal-to-metal contact between parts in gearboxes, pumps and compressors to name but a few. This contact between moving parts leads to component wear, which can be considerable in the 24 hour operations common in the baking industry.
Using a quality lubricant can prevent this mechanical wear, surface degradation and fatigue, which results in smooth running equipment with optimum performance and lower operating costs, an extended equipment life, increased load carrying capacity, reduced downtime and reduced maintenance and repairs.
In choosing a quality lubricant, factors to consider include water resistance, tackiness, cohesion, resistance to acid, alkaline and chemicals in cleaning products and the ability to perform in extreme temperatures and at high speeds. These features ensure the lubricants effectively protect the equipment and stay where it is applied, to reduce the costs and labour requirements of continuous re-lubrication.
In the food industry, an additional factor comes into play: the possibility of food contamination through accidental contact between the food and the lubricants used. This poses a huge risk to food producers, since food contamination can do enormous damage to a company’s brand reputation and food recalls are very costly. And since lubricants are widely used right throughout the processing chain, including packaging and distribution, the risk is not contained to any specific process or area.
For this reason, there is simply no other alternative in the food industry but to use high quality food-grade lubricants throughout the production facilities. This ensures that if contamination of the food products does occur, there will be no danger to consumers and the contamination will not affect the taste, colour or smell of the food product.
Fortunately, technology and innovations from lubricant suppliers ensure that using food grade lubricants to comply with food safety regulations does not entail a loss of performance or productivity in the equipment.
A variety of lubricants are required in the food industry, including hydraulic fluid, gear oil, can seamer fluid, heat transfer fluid, rotary cooker fluid, greases, sugar dissolving fluid, vacuum pump fluid, chain oil, flushing fluid, penetrating oil, coolant, air compressor lubes, lubricant aerosol and silicone fluid.
There are also various different types of lubricants available. In addition to non-food grade and food grade lubricants, there are also mineral, synthetic and Hydro Treated lubricants. In addition, some variants are Kosher, Halaal, food allergen free, GMO-free and suitable for vegetarians.
Mineral oils may require more additives to boost performance, but the addition of additives are curtailed by food grade rules, so minerals oils may in some cases have performance deficits. Synthetic lubricants, on the other hand, generally offers a higher VI, better load carrying and thermal stability. This leads to a wider temperature range, reduced wear and lower oxidation. The end result is a longer oil life.
Severely Hydro Treated Base oil, which is derived from a mineral oil, is classified as a synthetic lubricant in some parts of the world.
With so many options, bakers are well-advised to team up with a specialist supplier of lubricants, who will be able to assist them to make the right choice for their specific needs among the alternatives.
Bearing in mind that one lubricant will not do the job in every application throughout the food processing facility, bakers also need a supplier who will be able to conduct an audit and recommend the right selection of product to cover all the relevant areas and types of equipment. This is often achieved through a colour-coded floor-plan detailing the right lubricant for the each area.
Fortunately, there are a number of world-class suppliers in South Africa who can assist bakers in containing their costs, selecting the right lubricant for optimal efficiency, and ensuring absolute food safety.
Fuchs Lubricants South Africa supply CASSIDA specialty lubricants from FUCHS LUBRITECH, which satisfy the highest safety requirements along with the highest technical performance. They thereby provide for a smooth production process, a high level of efficiency, and a longer operating life for your machinery and systems.
The FUCHS Group develops, produces and markets high-grade lubricants and related specialties for virtually all industries and areas of application. Formed in Mannheim in 1931, the Group employs almost 6,000 people worldwide at 62 operating companies. FUCHS is the world’s largest independent lubricant manufacturer.
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