Food and beverage processing machines typically operate under extreme conditions. Because of this, they must be regularly lubricated to maintain optimal performance. Instead of manual lubrication, most manufacturers opt for automatic lubrication systems for their food and beverage machinery.
If you’re looking for safe, practical, and effective lubrication solutions for your food and beverage machinery, keep reading. In this article, we’ll cover the different types of food-grade lubricants, as well as the benefits of implementing an automatic lubrication system in your facility.
Using the Right Type of Lubricant Is Essential
Food machinery lubricants reduce the friction between different components of the machinery, which in turn increases the efficiency of the machine itself.
When choosing the right lubricant for your machinery, you have to consider the application you’re using the machine for. There is no one-size-fits-all lubricant, especially for food machinery.
What Is a Food-Grade Lubricant?
Essentially, a food-grade lubricant has to have the ability to:
- Protect Components Against Corrosion & Friction
- Withstand Chemicals, Water, & General Food Products
- Dissolve Sugars
Food-grade lubricants must also meet restrictions and requirements that are set by regulatory organizations, such as the USDA.
The Three Main Types of Food-Grade Lubricants
There are three main types of food-grade lubricants: H1/ISO 21469, H2, and H3. The USDA oversees the classification and compliance of these lubricants.
NSF H1 Lubricant
H1 lubricants are used when the threat of incidental food contact is high (typically in food processing plants). They are often used to create a film of anti-rust grease on food processing equipment. This is important because metal can rust quickly in the humid environments within many food processing plants. H1 lubricants are also used on the seals or gaskets of tank closures. Though H1 lubricants are cleared for incidental contact with food, it is common practice to use the smallest amount possible.
H2 lubricants have to meet a set of criteria created by the USDA. Unlike H1 lubricants, H2 lubricants cannot come into contact with food (not even incidental contact). To ensure that this doesn’t happen, H2 lubricants are usually used on parts that are below the production line. These parts may include oiled bearings, hydraulic systems, turbines, gears, oil circulators, air compressors, and oven chains. As with H1 lubricants, there are many different formulations of H2 lubricants, each with their own unique characteristics.
Lastly, H3 lubricants are typically used to prevent corrosion on trolleys and other types of storage equipment. This grade may also contain some type of edible oil, including corn or cottonseed, mineral oils, and other GRAS oils.
Benefits of Automatic/Chain Lubrication Systems
Now that you understand the different types of lubricants, you may be wondering…how do I know which type of lubrication is best for my application…and how can I keep up with this maintenance?
That’s where automatic/chain lubrication systems can help. Automation lubrication systems are designed for the food and beverage industry, and can be customized based on your application. That means you don’t have to worry about falling out of compliance, or accidentally using the wrong type of lubricant.
The main advantages of an automatic lubrication system include:
- Less Downtime: An automatic lubrication system requires less labor than manual lubrication, and it extends the life of your machinery, ensuring fewer shutdowns and costly repairs. 24/7 Maintenance: You don’t have to worry about knowing when to lubricate your machine’s components—the system does all of that for you.
- Better Performance: When your machine’s components are getting the maintenance they need, when they need it, your machine will last longer.
- Enhanced Safety: Manual lubrication comes with its own set of risks. When you opt for automated lubrication, you’re making the workplace safer for your employees.
Learn More About Automatic Lubrication Systems for Food & Beverage
If you’re looking for an automatic lubrication system for your food and beverage machinery, turn to DropsA. Founded over seven decades ago, we’ve become a trusted name in the lubrication system market. We offer a wide array of solutions, including single- and dual-line systems, and we’re ISO 9001-certified.
You can view our lubrication solutions here. If you would like to request a quote or learn more about a specific product, please fill out our online form, and a team member will be in touch with you shortly.