With growing product recalls in Asia and globally, more consumers are asking: “Is there anything we can still eat without worrying about it?"
Food manufacturers constantly struggle with hazardous contaminants, often tiny splinters of broken processing machine components. Dennis Steffen, Product Manager igubal Spherical Bearings at igus said, “Bottling plant, meat-processing machine or packaging system: manufacturers must continuously improve their equipment's robustness and reliability while increasing the detectability of tiny contaminants. We support manufacturers in this food safety optimisation effort by continuously developing igubal FC joint system pillow block bearings, rod ends and fixed flange bearings. Our latest innovation is a spherical ball made of the new iglidur A181 material.”
Three times the wear resistance at just 3/4 of the cost of the previous version
The igubal FC joint system housing is still made of igumid FC - a robust, corrosion-free high-performance plastic that is resistant to moisture, acids, alkalis and UV radiation. Recently, the spherical ball inserted into the housing has been switched from FC180 to iglidur A181 - a successor that features high wear resistance.
“Thanks to new material composition, the spherical ball is up to 3 times as wear-resistant on stainless steel shafts as the previous FC180 version. This makes movements in the machine even safer and more reliable,” said Steffen. Like all igus products, igubal spherical bearings prove their longevity in numerous tests in the 3,800 sq.metre igus test laboratory. At the same time, the price was reduced by 25% - a positive side effect that makes it easier for many mechanical engineers to replace classic metal joint systems. “The price advantage is now enormous. igubal FC costs up to 85% less than stainless-steel variants.”
Eliminating lubricants improves machine and system hygiene
The igubal FC joint system with the new A181 spherical ball not only costs less than metal counterparts, but also improves the hygiene of machinery in the food industry. Unlike metallic spherical bearings, it requires no external lubricant that dirt and dust can stick to, forming gooey deposits and a potential contamination risk. Instead, igus incorporates a solid lubricant into the material that is released automatically over time, ensuring low-friction, hygienic dry operation.
Both the housing and the new spherical ball material are compliant with FDA and EU 10/2011. Steffen added, “The approval of the FDA, with one of the strictest hygiene guidelines in the world, and compliance with EU Directive 10/2011 confirm the joint system's high level of hygiene.”
To further improve hygiene, both bearing housing and spherical ball are dyed blue, a colour on which food residue and mould spores can be quickly identified during cleaning checks and that facilitates optical detection in case of machine damage. Food-compliant, detectable additives are also integrated into the housing material. In an emergency, they allow metal detectors to find even the tiniest fragments - in the range of one tenth of a gramme.