Working together for a safer world
Consistently high standards of hygiene in food and beverage production are essential to ensure that products are safe for human consumption. Risks to health can come from many different sources, including bacteria, viruses, parasites and moulds, as well as toxins and chemical residues from cleaning agents, agricultural chemicals and more. Effective air filtration and fluid management play a vital role in ensuring safe production conditions. Freudenberg offers a comprehensive range of solutions to enable safe processes within the food and beverage industry.
The food and beverage sector is a core segment for Freudenberg Filtration Technologies (FFT) in particular, meaning that it receives priority allocation of Research & Development resources and has its own full-time Global Market Segment Manager. Since the middle of 2015, that role has been filled by Steve Langford, who talked to us about the opportunities that the industry offers: “Given the global focus on hygienic processes, traceability and health safety, there’s no question that the food and beverage segment is going to become more important for Freudenberg in the years ahead. Effective air and liquid filtration is essential in achieving food safety compliance and manufacturers also have to think about things like the quality of seals and lubricants they use. So I’m very optimistic about the future.”
FFT and the global Food and beverage industry
FFT’s multi-stage Viledon air filter systems deliver air purity up to clean room levels. They are based on a “zone concept” used across the food and beverage industry. This divides production facilities into “high-risk”, “high-care” and “low-risk” zones according to the Hygiene requirements of the product being produced.
The “high-risk” zone is a highly sensitive area that processes and stores products and ingredients susceptible to contamination and/or microbial growth. The “high-care” zone is for foods that do not have any particular susceptibilities and where there is no possibility of subsequent microorganism growth through the supply chain. “Low-risk” zones are used only for the storage of pre-packaged goods.
FFT Solutions meet all international standards
Two main guidelines are used in determining the purity level of individual production rooms: the EN ISO 14644-1 standard and the “Good Manufacturing Practice” (GMP) guidelines. Other standards include VDI 6022 and the more recent Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) concept. This is used for risk analysis of critical control points in food and beverage production processes, examining all processing steps from the raw good to the finished product.
Another recent FFT innovation is the company’s new Tank Pressure Unit. Using a modular fan filter unit, this device enables air to be cleaned inside beverage silos and small filling enclosures. The fully welded stainless steel casing houses a multi-stage filtration system that filters the internal air and maintains air volume at the Minimum design condition throughout the life of the System.
Cool solution to a hot problem
Typical of the way in which FFT works with the food and beverage industry was a demanding project involving a well-known UK confectionery manufacturer. The challenge was to install six additional stove compartments to heat raw confectionery. After heating and shaping, air is used to cool the products. The velocity of air used in the existing cooling process needed to be significantly reduced to avoid the problem of excess product coating being blown into the filters. At the same time, energy used during the cooling process had to be dramatically reduced due to a limit on the available electrical load.
The FFT solution not only allowed the new stoves to be used at the same time as the old ones, but also decreased the velocity of the cooling air from 5.0 to 2.0 m/s. This reduced substrate loss, eliminated filter damage and extended the working life of the filters.
FCS – Reliable at extreme heat
Freudenberg Chemical Specialities (FCS) has developed synthetic high-temperature oils that ensure the reliable lubrication of all drive, control and conveyor chains in ovens used for industrial food processing. These lubricants can function at temperatures of up to 250 degrees Celsius and are specifically approved for sensitive applications, such as food processing.
As avoiding contamination is one of the biggest challenges in the beverage industry, respectively approved special lubricants are available for filling, capping, seaming, labelling machines, conveyer Systems and many other applications. Kluber’s synthetic highperformance lubricants with NSF H1 registration for the production of beverages help customers obtain a lot more than friction reduction, lowering operating temperatures and increasing components’ service life.
FREUDENBERG VALUE: INNOVATION
- Devicemed, the leading platform for medical technology experts, honored Freudenberg Medical (FM) with its 2015 Outstanding Innovations Award in recognition of FM’s broad offering in surface coating technologies which, according to the jury, enabled groundbreaking developments in medical technology. FM meets the needs of both medical technology companies as well as physicians and patients: from surface treatment processes to reduce friction
- to coatings implants with anti-inflammatory drugs, for example. These drug eluting combination products enhance the safety of medication dosage.
FST – Keeping contaminants out
The focus of Freudenberg Sealing Technologies (FST) in terms of the food and beverage industry is also preventing contamination from such things as cleaning agents in particular. Cleaning of plant and equipment necessarily plays a major role in the industry. This often involves high temperatures and aggressive cleaning media. In addition, beverage production is especially vulnerable to flavor transfer from one batch to the next and therefore requires uncompromising Hygiene.
Alongside such obvious sources of contamination, sealing systems also need to protect against the growth of bacteria under screw heads or other mechanical components. In these situations, FST’s Hygienic Usit washer hermetically seals the area between screw head and surface. Its unique geometry allows the connection to be thoroughly cleaned without any risk of Penetration by cleaning agents and minimizes the need for Service and maintenance work.
Partners in Hygiene: FST and Krones AG
Krones AG is a major player in the beverage industry. One out of every four beverage cans opened worldwide is produced using Krones solutions. The filling and packaging processes involve hundreds of valves, all of which need to be securely and reliably sealed to prevent contamination. In 2011, Krones founded its Evoguard subsidiary, which specializes in the development, design and production of valves and pumps. FST currently supplies Evoguard with shaft seals, seat gaskets and an entire series of top-quality O-rings and butterfly-valve seals.
Shaping the future of the industry
FFT colleagues have once again been involved in defining standards within the food and beverage industry. The latest edition of the industry-standard BEHR’s Food Hygiene Manual will include a chapter by Karsten Schulz, Manager Product Segment Engineering. In his article, Schulz talks about the importance of good air quality for safe food production, explains technical terms and definitions including the zone concept and provides an overview of the different functions and types of air filters. His comprehensive chapter also describes the hygiene requirements for air conditioning systems (VDI 6022) and cleanroom technology in food production.