Food safety tops list when choosing lubricant - SKF

By Joseph James Whitworth contact

- Last updated on GMT

Lubricants from SKF
Lubricants from SKF

Related tags: Beverage manufacturers, Food safety, Food

Food safety is the main area of interest for food and beverage manufacturers when it comes to choosing lubricants, according to SKF.

The firm said this is the view from its own perspective and that of the wider market of customers.

Jean Christophe Brossard, head of food and beverage at SKF, told FoodProductionDaily why food safety was the number one focus.

“All food and beverage manufacturers, small or big, have a risk management system in place, usually it is HACCP, to ensure no contamination,” ​he said.  

“Regulation is increasing such as the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and the weight it carries is a key element as a recall of contaminated food costs money and can heavily damage brand image.”

Lubricants in food industry

The food industry requires lubricants that resist wear, friction, corrosion and oxidation, are food grade, internationally approved and can perform under stringent conditions of the manufacturing environments.

Brossard said the food and beverage industry was a key sector for the firm.

“It is an important area which we focus on, I head a central and global team in various countries including Latin America and Asia to understand the industry, and understand the way food manufacturers operate and challenges they face,” he said.
“Then we can make sure we have the right products and help them increase profits and efficiency in operations.
“Food and beverage is diverse and complex which means many different processes for the industry like cereal, to meat, etc.”

Four processing steps

The firm has identified four processing stages for which it has products to cover each step.

First is preparation, which focuses around moisture and contamination to stop lubricant loss and bearing failure.

Processing by heat for applications in baking, frying and roasting means re-lubrication for chains and bearings which increases cost.

Processing by removal of heat such as freezing, chilling and cooling can also cause maintenance problems.

The final step is post-processing and packaging, including excessive re-greasing that can contaminate products and packaging.

SKF provides certified lubricants, such as the range it launched late last year, which are NSF/H1, Kosher and Halal approved.

The range includes: LGFP 2 General purpose grease, LGFD 2 High load grease, LGFT 2 High temperature grease, LGFC 1 Low temperature grease, LFFM 80 High moisture chain oil, LHFP 150 General purpose chain oil, LFFT 220 High temperature chain oil, LDTS 1 Dry film lubricant, LFFH 46 Hydraulic oil, LFFG 220 Gear oil and LFFG 320 Gear oil.

Brossard said the products were launched as one more element to help industry.

“Lubrication has a strong impact on total cost of ownership. The ability to have a lubrication management strategy considering efficient seals, lubrication systems and lubricants, re-lubrication free technologies can impact the overall cost,”​ he said

“We have introduced it into a number of markets and received positive feedback. We are at the start, so there are a number of activities to get them known to the market, food and beverage manufacturers are numerous so we need to make sure the market is aware.”

Right lubricant for right application

Brossard said another area of importance was the total cost of ownership.

“You need the right lubricant for the right application, a good lubricant does not necessarily mean good lubrication, it needs to consider other elements such as cleaning, worker safety and are the right systems in place to dispense the lubricant,” ​he said.

“It depends on the processes [whether you use a lubrication system or a person] the output, size and how often you lubricate also depends on the application that you are using the machines for.”

Raw material prices only have an indirect impact on the company, said Brossard. 

“In terms of raw material prices, it has an indirect impact as the chemical compounds we use are different than the raw materials and they go through a lot of different steps in the process.”

He added that bio-based lubricants was a growing trend which the firm was looking at but for the moment the high quality food versions released are not bio-degradable.

Related topics: Processing & Packaging

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