Practice at 'De groenten van Hak'

Professional lubrication improves operating results

High-performance food grade lubricants contribute to uninterrupted machine life. Production processes are improved and downtime reduced. Less wear, lower energy consumption and lower maintenance costs reduce the cost price per product.

Interflon introduced a lubricant with an extremely low friction coefficient in the early 1980s after Wim Horsmans discovered a technology for making microscopically tiny particles from a PTFE variant with which a stable lubricant could be realised. Despite disappointing results from various suppliers in the past, MicPol® could be used to create a lubricant with an extremely low friction coefficient. This development – that started in Horsmans’ shed – has now grown into an international company boasting more than 300 employees and branches in 44 countries. Interflon consultants advise on site and can draw from many years of experience in the food industry among more than 6,000 customers around the world.

A total package

"Interflon’s sustainable lubricants lower friction more significantly than other, conventional lubricants,” says Armand Gomis, Sales Director at Interflon. “They have longer lubrication intervals, they dispel moisture, repel dirt and dust, prevent corrosion and cannot be washed away. This lowers maintenance costs and generates energy savings. Interflon’s food grade lubricants have been tested and certified by Public Health and Safety Company NSF®. Food grade products must comply with the directives of the Food and Drug Association (FDA) for responsible use in the food sector (HACCP). NSF is the only internationally recognised, independent authority for testing and approving lubricants for use in the food industry.”

Securing

In addition to a set of high-performance food grade lubricants, it is essential to have an efficient lubricating plan in place. Gomis: “It’s not enough to simply purchase a good product. Using the right product in the right place in the right dosage ensures optimal productivity and reduces maintenance costs.” A proper lubricating plan is required to secure this, i.e. a clear action plan for scheduling where, when and what is to be lubricated with which lubricant in what quantity. ILAC (Interflon Lubrication and Control) is a software package in which all these steps can be scheduled, registered and documented. The planning, management and automation of lubrication and maintenance activities are thus recorded. Deviations or machine failures can be registered, as can hours accounting. In short, clear insight is provided into the entire machine maintenance.

Actual practice at HAK

Companies in the food industry are faced with increasingly tight margins, making the price per product extremely important. Lubricants are more significant here than one would initially think, including in the popular vegetables from Hak.

Ad Kas – Team leader technology

“Our factory operates 24 hours a day, 5 days per week,” says Ad Kas, Team Leader of Technology at Hak Giessen. “Flexibility is important in our technical department because the processing of seasonal vegetables can never be predicted 100%. Every type of vegetable requires its own processing and treatment cycle in the pre-processing stage. Huge amounts of water are used to wash vegetables during processing and high-pressure cleaning demands a lot of our installations.”

The changeover

“One of the reasons to switch to Interflon several years ago was the jar positioning machine. The chains needed replacing each and every year, resulting in high labour and replacement costs. We explored the possibilities together with Interflon and decided on Interflon food lube AL in combination with an automatic lubricating system. One year later, we discovered that there was no need to replace the chains. The chains now run much more smoothly, reducing noise pollution, and only need changing once every four years. We never used to lubricate, so it was an advantage that Interflon already delivered a wide range of c NSF-certified products in those days. We now exclusively use food grade lubricants, but it was a different matter 20 years ago.”

Finding solutions is always key to optimisation

“Over the years, Interflon kept coming up with new product developments. As it did when our apple cutting line suffered recurring problems with the bearings that had to be replaced during the season. Conventional grease was washed away by the volumes of water, despite the machine being lubricated three times daily by each maintenance shift. Production processes regularly shut down for half a day. By using Interflon Food Grease EP we are able to highly protect the bearings, which now only need replacing when the machine is overhauled for ensuring optimum production.”

Specialists

“Interflon provides professional support. They go a step further than simply supplying their products. They think along with us and substantiate this with independent test reports. We are currently exploring the use of additives in the drives of our sterilisation tower, which is used to pasteurise and sterilise our products. It runs nonstop under high temperatures of 90-123 °C. We are comparing two identical drives. The initial tests show that the drive with an additive has less wear and pollution than the drive without an additive. We have also extended the annual oil change to two years. This test is still running, but will perhaps contribute to future cost and energy savings, which also fits nicely in our Sustainability policy,” says Kas.

Source: Voedingsindustrie oktober 2012 Writer: Jopie Bijl

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