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Why So Much Stainless Steel?

20 Sep 2013
Gene Matthews

Washdown and Hygienic applications can be quite the tough environment. In the first place, typically you'll find hygienic requirements on machines that process foods. You know how careful you are when cooking at home, making sure you wash your hands after touching raw meat. Keeping cooked meat away from the surfaces you had raw meat sitting, or washing the utensils you use to handle raw meat is common in the kitchen.

For similar reasons, machines that process food have hygienic requirements that call for a number of stringent requirements. These might include high pressure washdown (up to 1450 PSI), high temperature washdown (80 degrees C), and/or even the use of caustic chemicals.

AKMH IP69KIn high performance motion applications, the brawns of the motion, the motor, must be capable of handling this kind of abuse! Stainless steel is a great material to use to handle this kind of environment, but there are some trade-offs. Typical industrial motors use aluminum housings that help move the heat away from the motor windings as quickly as possible, but aluminum won't tolerate this kind of treatment - so bring on stainless. Stainless is not as good a conductor of heat as aluminum, so care must be taken in the design considering this factor.

Stainless will take most anything thrown its way - high pressure water, hot water or steam, and even many caustic chemicals that are used in cleaning procedures. In addition to using stainless, motors will also be designed in such a way as to eliminate any nooks or crannies that sneaky bacteria may hide. Food grade grease and shaft seal material is used as well to ensure food safety is met. All of these precautions allow the motor to meet the IP69K Standard.

What does this mean for your Packaging machinery in a hygienic environment? Increased reliability, significant reduction in cleaning times, elimination of protective enclosures or coverings, and elimination of those restless nights worried about food recalls!

What kind of washdown situations do you run into (not talking about car washes)!

About the Author

Gene Matthews - Author
Gene Matthews is Product Manager, located in Radford VA. He received his BS Electrical Engineering degree from the University of Illinois in 1996 and has been with Kollmorgen since 1999. Gene has worked in several capacities within Kollmorgen, including Technical Support and Applications Engineering, providing him with a full background in all things motion. When not focusing on motion, Gene is an avid runner, having completed many half and full marathons around the country. To catch Gene, contact him at: Gene Matthews
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