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Smoothing the way to improved food safety

19 September 2022

Find out about the benefits of using H1 lubricants in food production. 

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Food safety is a serious topic, in terms of consumer products being manufactured and the production processes involved, which is why Klüber Lubrication GB has been helping UK manufacturers run efficient production processes for more than five decades through the development and supply of specialty lubricants, which helps industry increase productivity, reduce maintenance tasks, and achieve higher food safety standards.

The benefits of using H1 lubricants in food production: The global food industry has seen a rising demand for products manufactured under considerations of resource conservation and the safety of employees and consumers, which requires high standards of sanitation and hygiene be followed across the production process from start to finish. Although the complex machinery involved in today’s manufacturing is designed for lubricants to have zero to little contact with food products, this cannot always be guaranteed in everyday operations, so controlling cross-contamination is critical and better lubrication processes are the foundation of this.

How can lubricants improve energy efficiency and productivity? There’s a misconception that food-grade lubricants compromise performance, but by using the latest technology these lubricants now have all the attributes of a conventional lubricant and in some cases perform better. Even at high temperatures, loads and in wash-down environments, the appropriate NSF H1 lubricant will still reduce friction and wear, protect against corrosion, dissipate heat, and have a sealing effect.

Today’s specialty lubricants can be instrumental in substantially reducing direct environmental impacts like CO2 emissions and waste, as well as optimising production factors like energy efficiency, water consumption and workplace safety.

A typical breakdown of operating costs reveals potential savings of up to 6%. Klüber Lubrication make it possible to put that potential into practice. The distribution of average savings is: 2% savings on labour, 1% on spare parts and 3% on energy.

What role does preventative maintenance play in ensuring a high-quality production process? To ensure compliance and support best practice initiatives it is important to create a preventative maintenance plan detailing maintenance tasks, lubricants used per asset/machine, the lubrication point and frequency/method of lubrication, but it’s important to have all stakeholders involved from the beginning. The front line for preventative maintenance is the user of the equipment (the operator), so many customers have begun implementing Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) with a common theme being the transfer of lubrication practices to the operators. 

We offer proactive training for operators and engineers so that if problems arise, they’re caught early enough to avoid failures leading to significant downtime. We can also assist in developing lubrication schedules and identifying correct procedures for storage, labelling, sampling, and applying lubricants to help prevent mixing food grade and non-food grade or even different chemistries that may not be compatible.

Food safety as standard
Worryingly there are still some food manufacturers that haven’t made the important change from traditional oils and greases to food-grade lubricants and although there is no general law stating that H1 lubricants must be used, Klüber Lubrication recommend H1 lubricants as the safest solution when contact with food is unavoidable. 

As well as being a thought leader on the topic of H1 lubricants, Klüber Lubrication were the first lubricants manufacturer to raise awareness and lead discussions on the topic of MOSH/MOAH. Whilst MOSH/MOAH free lubricants for all applications would be ideal, this is not practicable. However, for applications where direct food contact by a lubricant or technical processing aid is unavoidable, Klüber Lubrication have developed a plant-based range of products – Klüberfood 4DC – which are MOSH/MOAH free.

The use of (NSF) H1 registered lubricants in the food industry has become standard when it comes to safety and Klüber Lubrication are at the forefront of product technology with six state-of-the-art ISO21469-certified production facilities around the world which are compliant to produce food-grade lubricants, as recognised by NSF. Klüber Lubrication also have the technical knowledge to support with HACCP management to help companies excel in their audits ensuring consumer safety and brand protection.

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