Clean rooms in the food industry increasingly rely on stainless steel equipment. They must maintain few environmental pollutants to prevent any tainting during the production, assembly or testing process.
Stainless steel provides a solution to equipment, machinery and furniture. It offers minimum particle generation and is resistant to sanitizers compared to other raw materials. Clean rooms in the food industry must comply with strict legislation. One of the key features of stainless steel is its resistance to damage during sanitation. Cleaning and cleaning products can lead to corrosion and pitting, especially when using of alkali, or acidic materials. Any surface roughness, or damage, can cause even microscopic holes and ridges. There, bacteria and contaminants can hide. Decontamination causes much less damage to high-grade stainless steel work areas than to other materials. This is even when using harsh chemicals and bleaches. Effective and non-damaging sanitation of stainless steel equipment should follow certain guidelines. Using the wrong method will also cause corrosion.
Stainless steel is widely used in the food and beverage industry. You can find it especially in manufacturing and processing as well as in storage, transportation, preparation and presentation. Polished stainless steel is the metal of choice in the manufacture of food processing equipment. Also, processing is a continually growing aspect of the food production industry. Due to the demand for convenience foods, meat slicing is contributing to the growth of the meat product industry. Hardenable martensitic stainless steel is widely used for cutting and grinding machinery and knives.
The type of steel used in many high protection clean rooms is grade 316L. It is more resistant to corrosion and pitting and also non-hardenable. Especially relevant, it is particularly resistant to acids. As well as clean rooms in the food industry and marine rooms use 316L, you can also find it in furnace parts, jet engine components, tanks and evaporators. Of course it is also predominant in chemical and pharmaceutical sectors.
Most containers, pipework and food contact equipment are made from either 304 or 316L type austenitic stainless steel. The guidelines on the materials of construction for equipment in contact with food is published by the European Hygiene Engineering and Design Group (EHEDG). They explain the use of stainless and why both grades do comply.
Grade 316L is widely known as “food grade” stainless steel. Most food producers frequently use it with more corrosive foods. These are those with higher salt content, such as meats. The increasing demand for meat products consequently means increase of industrial meat processing. Therefore, an industrial production method will lead to an improved and more frequent and concentrated cleaning. This is mandatory to prevent harmful bacterial contamination.
Broadly recommended cleaning methods for stainless steel within the food industry include:
Recommended disinfectants for stainless steel include types of hypochlorite, tetravalent ammonium salts, iodine compounds and nitric acid. Of course, you should strictly follow the rules of manufacturing bodies and the advice of your equipment manufacturer. This will lead to prevent either food contamination, or the degradation of steel equipment.
Montanstahl produces various types of stainless steel profiles and sections. They are especially dedicated to the food and beverage industry and the clean room technology:
Subject to the specific design indications, we make these products available both in 304 and in 316L grade. In addition, we can produce those also in higher corrosion resistant material grades, most of all in duplex stainless steel.