Hygienic aspects of electrical installations in food factories
By A Murray, Consulting food process engineer
Electricity+Control, May 2014 (pages 4-6)
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- Stainless steel is the material of choice for food process installations.
- Control panels should be water-tight. The hygienic design necessary for the top surface of the panel should be sloped at 30º rather than flat to prevent, as far as possible, dust or moisture remaining on the surface. Unfortunately standard or off-the-shelf enclosures (which are usually the cheaper option) are supplied with flat tops.
- Where enclosures are fixed to a wall they should, for hygienic design, either be mounted flush with the area between the back or the panel and the wall sealed with a silicon or similar material or they should be mounted away from the wall at a sufficient distance to allow cleaning in the space behind the panel.
- Electric motors used in the food industry should be to a minimum IP55 classification.
- Over short runs distribution cables may be run inside the conduit.
- Over longer distances stainless steel wire trays should be used.
- The importance of good lighting design common to all industries is also applicable to the food industry.
- Controls in the food contact and the splash areas must be of hygienic design. This applies to devices such as pressure gauges or temperature gauges in pipelines and level measuring instruments in the domes of tanks.
- The purpose of the food producing industry is to produce safe, wholesome food from specified raw materials.
- Most food management programmes incorporate the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) system.
- More stringent standards being applied by regulators, retailers and the consumer public are making stricter adherence to hygienic design measures a necessity.