Guest contributor, Will Healy III, Balluff
Ask 10 engineers working in Food & Beverage manufacturing what “washdown” means to them and you will probably get about 12 answers. Ask them why they wash down equipment and a more consistent answer appears, everyone is concerned about making clean healthy food and they want to reduce areas of harborage for bacteria. These environments tend to be cool & wet which usually leads the engineers to ask for 316L stainless steel & ingress protection of IP69K from component manufacturers and also ask for special component ratings.
So what are the basic elements of the washdown procedure?
- Hot! – Minimum 140F to kill microbes & bacteria.
- High Pressure! – Up to 1000psi to blast away soiled material.
- Nasty! – Water, caustics, acid detergents, spray & foam everywhere.
- Hard Work! – Typically includes a hand cleaning or scrubbing of key components.
- Regular! – Typically 15-20hrs per week are spent cleaning equipment but in dairy & meat it can be more.
What requirements are put onto components exposed to washdown?
- Stainless Steel resists corrosion and is polished to level the microscopic roughness that provides harborage for bacteria.
- Special Component Ratings:
- ECOLAB chemical testing for housings
- FDA approved materials
- 3A USA hygienic for US Equipment
- EHEDG hygienic for European Equipment
- IP69K is tested to be protected from high pressure steam cleaning per DIN40050 part 9; this is not guaranteed to be immersion rated (IP67) unless specifically identified.
If you are interested in what sensors, networking & RFID products are available for use in food and beverage manufacturing with a washdown environment, please visit www.balluff.us.