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How clean is clean?

13 May 2019

Food machine washdowns can spread bacteria a new video from SKF shows you why this is and what you can do about it. 

When it comes to the food zone, food and drink manufacturers employ strict cleaning processes to ensure the safety of their products. However, mounted bearings present an often unaccounted risk, as they are magnets for bacteria. In fact, bacteria can even enter bearings and spread as the result of the cleaning washdown process.

This is because bearings rely on suitable lubrication for longevity and reliability, but the grease in these units attracts contaminants. High pressure washdowns can exacerbate the problem, forcing water, cleaning fluids and particles past seals and into the interior of the component.

SKF decided to test the levels of bacteria in and around bearing housings following simulated washdowns in laboratory conditions. As can be seen in the video, the results are eye opening: bacteria remained high and in some cases even increased after machine washdown.

The hygienically designed, fully sealed alternative - SKF Food Line ball bearing units – Blue Range
It was with exactly these issues in mind that SKF set out to design a range of bearing units specifically for the food and beverage sector. The company went back to the drawing board for the new range, starting with a blank sheet of paper and building up a design, component by component, to improve hygiene, performance and compliance with food safety regulations.

The new SKF Food Line bearing unit range incorporates a host of innovations that address many of the long-standing issues associated with conventional bearing units: 
• An over-moulded rubber base seal in the housing that prevents contamination and bacteria growth between the unit and the mounting frame
• A special back seal and end cover to prevent process material from entering the bearing from either side
• A patented locking mechanism on the end cover, to ensure it cannot be accidentally dislodged
• Angled surfaces and a smooth surface finish to reduce material accumulation and ensure liquids drain away easily, regardless of bearing orientation 
• A special multi-lipped sealing arrangement (another patented innovation) to keep lubricant inside the bearing and contaminants out 
• Factory-installed lubricant that is designed to last for the full life of the bearing unit, eliminating the need for regular relubrication and all the associated costs and risks. 

To watch the video Click here.
To learn more about SKF Food Line products Click here

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