On the Safe Side: How Pneumatics Protects Our Food

经过迈克·帕尔齐奇(Mike Parzych),Product Marketing Manager, Norgren.

In February, the Abbott baby formula plant in Sturgis, Michigan, closed due to concerns that its formula may have been contaminated with a bacteria implicated in the death of at least one infant. This shutdown of one of the nation’s largest baby-formula facilities occurred at a time when supply chains were stretched thin, exacerbating a serious formula shortage that had been plaguing families across the country. After several months of continuous supply depletion, Abbott was finally granted permission by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to reopen the plant in May. Unfortunately, supply chains inevitably need time to recover. At the time this article was written, formula shortages were expected to continue impacting Americans for months to come.





注意事项for washdown.适当设计时,气动组件非常适合频繁进行洗涤,尤其是考虑到电子组件的最小参与,需要保护它免受水的影响。但是,有一些考虑因素可以确保可以进行安全的饮食清洗。首先,必须认真选择用于食品和饮料的材料。

同时,很大程度上取决于正在加工的食物类型。几种由不同化学特性组成的食物类型 - 在可能与其他食物接触的设备表面上留下了不需要的食物材料。例如,糖是水溶性且易于去除的。但是,蛋白质是碱性的,很难去除。这意味着要进行洗涤过程的组件必须能够承受适当的,有时刺耳的清洁化合物而不会腐蚀。这些标准不仅限于与食物直接接触的组件。飞溅区和非食品区域中的组成部分也必须具有耐腐蚀,可洗和卫生状态。

Considering these requirements, appropriate material choice is paramount when designing a pneumatic system. Metals such as aluminum, brass, and copper can be susceptible to corrosion, and care must be taken when cleaning them. Due to its resistance to corrosion, stainless steel is a favored selection for components such as valves and actuators in a number of applications – most especially in more frequent washdowns.

In fact, stainless steel is specified in many industry and regulatory standards as the preferred surface for food equipment. For example, 3-A Sanitary Standards identify 300-series stainless steel as the preferred surface for use in the milk industry. Other grades of stainless steel are appropriate for alternative purposes such as handling high-fat products or meats. Titanium is a corrosion-resistant option, particularly appropriate for products containing high levels of acid, salt, or other corrosive materials. Depending on the chemistry of the cleaning solution, plastics such as acetyl resin are another viable alternative.


Other design features that make pneumatic cylinders optimal for use in low-to-moderate force washdown applications include rod wipers, which limit the potential for external contamination during pressure spraying; rod scrapers, which are more rigid and are suitable in applications where material can harden on the rod; and corrosion-resistant bearing and bushing materials, such as polytetrafluoroethylene.

Preventing contamination.此外,气动成分的物理设计对于防止食物应用中的污染至关重要。裂缝,缝隙和其他难以清洁的区域是有害细菌(例如大肠杆菌和沙门氏菌)生长的主要位置,这可能导致食物中毒。因此,必须注意选择最小化气动设备中这种潜在细菌储存库数量的产品。与食物接触的任何表面都应光滑。此外,焊接接缝应是连续的,没有凹坑或裂缝,任何角的角度都应在一个角度或位置,可以轻松清洁它们。





饮料分配。It does not matter whether it is dispensing hot, cold, or frozen beverages, a foodservice or drinking establishment requires fluid control and pressure management to continue satisfying its customers. For example, pressure regulators are used in commercial establishments for precise CO2 and nitrogen control for soft drink, coffee, and beer dispensing systems.

However, beverage dispensing comes with its own food safety considerations. For example, fluidics and pressure management solutions are indispensable to coffee and tea brewers. Valves provide consistent control when drawing cold and hot water, steam, or syrups and in semiautomatic and fully automatic espresso machines. Yet the introduction of contaminants to beverages through a coffee machine presents a safety concern. To address this, solenoid valves have been perfected for commercial coffee machines to prevent corrosion and limescale buildup and to provide quick heating with minimal heat loss.


所有这些都反映了整个行业范围内的更大的推动力,以保持标准以确保食品和饮料产品的安全性。例如,组件需要由NSF批准的材料构造。所有食品设备材料和饮用水系统组件必须为NSF/ANSI 51和NSF/ANSI 61认证。数百家制造商获得了NSF/ANSI 51的认证,而成千上万的制造商已获得NSF/ANSI 61认证。


What’s more, many of these automated solutions can use pneumatics. One example is the use of pneumatically powered grippers or vacuum cups at the end of robotic arms to handle food. Here, care must be taken to match the cup design to the type of food being handled. Vacuum cups can be made of FDA-approved silicone to be safe for food handling, and they are easy to clean through washdown or reversing the flow of air. When the cup becomes too old to avoid contamination, it can be swapped out for a new one without difficulty.




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