Where can I use engineered plastic in an industrial food handling & processing environment?
Like other industries, engineered plastics have a broad range of applications and use cases in the food handling & processing industry. Often when people think of food-safe plastics, Teflon (PTFE) comes to mind. While PTFE is a great food-safe performer, a wide range of engineered plastic is available to tackle various demanding applications. Plastruct Polyzone has years of experience speccing the most appropriate material for custom food handling components & fabrications.
Let's explore some food-grade use cases:
Engineered Plastics Such as Acetal, Ertalyte & Nylon have high strength & stiffness and dimensional stability making them ideal for close tolerance mechanical parts that can be used in automated equipment or on production lines that handle food products.
Depending on the specific polymer used, plastic gears are moisture-resistant and will not rust, rot or
corrode when used in wet applications. They are also lighter weight and better at dissipating unwanted energy than metal gears, meaning they are more durable and can reduce noise in the work environment.
Bottling Star Wheel:
Star wheels are a common part used on conveyors and bottling lines to redirect or orient a product before the next stage of the conveyor assembly. When compared to a stainless steel component, a polymer star wheel can provide the following benefits; lightweight, better wear resistance, low friction, noise reduction, and lower cost.
Engineered Plastics Such as UHMW-PE, Acetal & Nylon have a low coefficient of friction coupled with excellent wear resistance. Meaning these materials will be long-lasting and perfect for high-traffic wear applications or where your production assembly is prone to sticking or hang-ups.
With a low coefficient of friction, UHMW or other polymer guide rails are great for guiding a product along the production line while causing minimum resistance, preventing any hang-ups. Additionally, the wear-resistant properties of engineered plastics mean they will last longer than a steel counterpart.
In areas of heavy slide wear or abrasion where material slows or jams or where premature wear damage is being caused by repetitive surface friction, a UHMW wear pad can redirect the wear damage and act as a sacrificial part. Also the low coefficient of friction will allow material to flow freely and lead to less wear & abrasion damage, minimizing production down time for maintenance.
We make custom drag conveyor flights/paddles to fit any system in some of the most demanding food grade applications including high operating temperatures. The non-stick surface and low coefficient of friction make them perfect for sticky or cohesive applications.
A Plastruct Polyzone Specialty, Bulk Material Handling Liners are used in areas where a bulk solid flows through an assembly, such as a hopper or chute. Handling Bulk Solids efficiently can be tricky and can lead to back-ups known as rat-holing or bridging. Promoting a consistent material flow through an assembly can save significant amounts of maintenance labour and dollars. A polymer liner also protects the original steel substrate from wear damage and prolongs the life of expensive equipment.
Hoppers & Chutes:
A polymer liner with a low coefficient of friction prevents material hang-ups and inconsistent material flow. Promoting a consistent flow pattern through your chute or hopper allows you to maximize your production throughput and save your equipment from unnecessary damage. Polymer liners are also moisture and chemical-resistant, making wash downs quick and easy.
We custom supply and install a special membrane for pneumatic conveyance/fluidizing beds commonly used when handling flour or other fine powders. This membrane is porous to allow air to penetrate and disturb the stagnant powder but does not let the fine materials through
to the backside of the liner.
When faced with a unique problem, you often need a custom solution. Our wide range of fabrication capabilities along with our machine shop can give us the ability to produce small or large plastic assemblies that are able to withstand some of the harshest food processing applications. Our fabrication capabilities include, but are not limited to; Heat-Bending & Shaping, Polymer Butt-Welding, and Polymer Extrusion Welding.
Custom Fluid Tanks:
We custom fabricate high-strength fluid handling tanks large or small to withstand some of the most demanding applications including chemicals or food-grade materials. We will work with your team to custom design a tank to meet your size and shape requirements, along with assisting in speccing the most appropriate material, spec wall thickness, and baffle requirements.
Bins, Pipes & Other Plastic Welded Parts:
With over 20 years of experience and a wide range of plastic fabrication capabilities, we can custom bend and weld food-grade plastic into just about anything you would need. From storage and handling bins to custom pipes/tube or scoops for vertical lift conveyors, we can make it.
Increase safety in your production facility by installing or replacing damaged guarding around moving or hazardous machinery. With custom machining and bending capabilities, we can custom-make guarding to fit virtually any piece of equipment. Polycarbonate is a clear plastic with high-strength impact properties.
For sensitive food handling applications, detectable plastics are available to ensure a safe, compliant, and uncontaminated product. The FDA Blue material makes it visually detectable to the human eye, along with custom properties that make the plastic X-Ray and Metal Detectable leaving your quality assurance department and food inspectors confident in a safe finished product.