Why Stainless Steel Is A Mainstay In Food Processing
From cutlery to kitchenware to food production to power generation, there are a plethora of uses for stainless steel.
What is stainless steel? Simply put, it’s a steel alloy (a metal made by two or more metallic elements) that contains chromium, which helps make it resistant to tarnishing and rust.
Two of the most common types of stainless steel are Stainless Steel 304 and Stainless Steel 316. Each of has their own pros and cons. Stainless Steel 304 is the most common grade of stainless steel. It is widely known for its resistance to corrosion and value. Since 304 can withstand corrosion, it is most often used in food production and for kitchen applications.
One disadvantage of 304 is that is at risk of corrosion from saline (salt) environments and it is also susceptible to corrosion from chloride solutions.
Stainless Steel 316 is the second most common form of stainless steel and is nearly identical to 304. The biggest difference is that 316 contains molybdenum. The adding of molybdenum helps to increase resistance to corrosion form elements like chloride.
Since 316 is more resistant to some forms of corrosion, it is often used in the processing of chemicals, food processing, medical instrument manufacturing and can also be used in different environments.
The food processing industry relies very heavily on stainless steel equipment, especially when it comes to maintaining a sanitary environment. Many food processing plants invest in equipment such as sanitary pipe supports, sanitary strainers and clamps. This is because products, once they are created have to be stored, reproduced and transported in a sanitary way.
Benefits of equipment like sanitary pipe supports, clamps and strainers include:
- Temperature resistance: Stainless steel is resistant to corrosion, but it is also resistant to temperatures. That means clamps, sanitary valves and sanitary pipe supports are going to hold up in extreme cold and in extreme heat. Since different aspects of food processing involve the use of varying temperatures, this makes stainless steel easy to use.
- Easy cleaning: The food processing industry involves the use of a lot of equipment and it’s been established that a clean environment is paramount. Fortunately, stainless steel is very easy to clean, which helps eliminate bacteria spreading to food as well as contamination. Using equipment like sanitary pipe supports, sanitary clamps and strainers puts consumers at a much, much lower risk of eating and drinking food that’s contaminated or is outdated.
- It holds up well: Under regular conditions, stainless steel pipes can very easily exceed a lifespan of 100 years. Since it holds up so well, it’s ideal for use in food processing. If food needs to be stored, stainless steel holds up. This can be a big relief for manufacturers, since they won’t have to worry about constantly replacing equipment.
In the food processing industry and in other industries, stainless steel is the perfect choice for equipment. It holds up against corrosion and time while offering strength and helping to contribute to a sanitary work environment.