How To Choose The Right Bearings: Industrial Bearings And More

Producing food products is a demanding science. All of the industrial supplies and equipment that are used to manufacture foodstuff has to meet stringent requirements of quality and sanitation. When it comes to industrial bearings, the food industry has to look at unique options. For instance, would you want lubricating oil to contaminate food on the production line? Or what if bacteria were to grow in a machine’s housing? Consumers would be put off to say the least.
While industrial bearings have to be carefully chosen in terms of cleanliness and sanitation, they also have to be evaluated in terms of strength, hardness, durability, and cost. It takes a special set of materials that can meet all of those criteria.
Choosing Industrial Bearings And Inserts
The balls and rings themselves have to be made from high performance materials; regular iron will not meet the required FDA and USDA standards. A common choice within industry is to use stainless steel balls and rings. They combine high tensile strength with good corrosion resistance and will not contaminate food. However, they are one of the most expensive options, so other materials have been designed as balls as well.
Plastic blends and can be utilized by themselves or with stainless steel, especially in plain or non-rolled style industrial bearings. Coated iron is a less expensive option as well. A chrome coating will improve the balls’ hardness and corrosion resistance and increase their durability. Zinc coatings are also common for improving corrosion resistance and preventing contamination.
Housing Materials
Industrial supplies, like machine housings, also face strict standards since they will come into contact with food products during the production process. In general, housings have to be smooth surfaces to facilitate cleaning and help prevent the buildup of germs and bacteria that can occur in rough or porous materials. Polished housings are very common, and there are also anti-microbial coatings that can help protect industrial supplies and housings.
When considering materials of construction, housings are also typically stainless. The combination of strength, durability, and corrosion resistance is required. Industrial supplies in the food industrial equipment company will be subjected to acidic and caustic wash downs and cleanings, along with oils and other organic materials from the ingredients themselves.
Again, less expensive options are available. Plastic and polymer blends are also chemically inert and will resist cleaning solutions and food products. Plastics can be created with high tensile strengths and smooth surfaces. Coated iron is also applicable for housings. A nickel or Teflon coating will go a long way to preventing corrosion and contamination.
Industrial Bearings raw materials used in engineering industries And Lubrication
Using conventional oils and lubricants is clearly forbidden in the food processing industry. Lubricant contamination will spoil food, create a horrible taste, and is toxic if consumed. Always use FDA and USDA-approved greases for the food industry. These lubricants are called ‘H1’s’ and are free from odors and tastes and are nontoxic if any contamination occurs with the food being processed. H1 is also formulated to stand up to common food grade chemical washes and solutions used to clean industrial supplies.
Always keep industrial bearings well lubricated; this rule doesn’t change for the food industry. Purging and refilling lubrication reservoirs will also help to prevent cross contamination. If a particular machine is difficult to service, solid polymer lubricants can be employed. These solid strips slowly release grease while the industrial bearings are in operation to keep the system lubricated. This way, the lubricant can be refilled during outages and turnarounds when there is more time to maintain a particular machine.
Completing The Assembly And Other Supplies
There are some applications in food processing that require specialty seals as well. When high or low temperatures are used, such as during cooking or freezing, silicone materials will maintain a tight seal during those temperature changes.
For other parts of the assembly, stainless steel is still common. In particular, cages are typically stainless steel, or nylon to save on expenses. Set screws and grease fittings should be stainless as well. Flingers can be either stainless steel or iron and all collars should be corrosion resistant as well.
Mounted industrial bearings with graphite separators are also ideal for high or low temperature applications. The graphite material will act as a further lubricant at temperatures where other greases would fail. This type will increase service life while lowering maintenance costs in extreme temperature applications.
Overall, choosing the right industrial bearings and other supplies for the food industry only requires a little extra effort, but it goes a long way to ensuring clean meals for consumers.