When you’re in the business of processing or packaging food or pharmaceutical products, nothing is more important than the end user’s safety. That’s why the USDA performs daily inspections of your facility. These inspections are extensive and are usually the only thing standing in the way of getting the job done on time.
You’ve probably taken several measures to ensure your team and machinery passes inspection every day, but by what other means could you save on labor and cost? Take a look at your production line. The most difficult parts to clean in preparation for inspection are probably the gearboxes that make your line function. If your gear housing isn’t built with naturally durable materials like stainless steel, it’s time to evaluate the benefits of investing in a stainless steel gearing solution.
The durability of stainless steel gearing cannot be understated. Whether you use an antibacterial chemical cleanser or an intense power-washing system, every inch of your facility needs to be exceptionally durable to withstand the harshest cleaning treatments. Stainless steel offers a unique advantage: it can stand up to pretty much anything you throw at it.
Stainless steel is an alloy that contains about 10-11% chromium. When exposed to air, the chromium in the metal forms a film of chromium oxide over the surface, which is passive and non-toxic. Even if the surface is scratched, the chromium oxide reforms seamlessly. So no matter how rough your wash down process is, stainless steel is strong enough to handle it. Stainless steel is also non-reactive, unlike aluminum and iron, so it is safe to process and package the most acidic food products around it.
If your production line doesn’t have time for bacteria, it definitely doesn’t have time for rust. Corrosion, rust, and flaking paint are serious issues and require costly maintenance and extra labor. Rust is not only unsafe around food and pharmaceuticals, but is also an undeniable indicator that it’s time to shell out for a new gearbox. If your current gear housing is anything but stainless steel, it will rust or corrode eventually. In fact, most gearboxes simply weren’t built to support rigorous wash down procedures like the ones in food processing and packaging facilities. Upgrade to stainless and save yourself from rusty gearing.
Stainless steel itself can only do so much; your solution also needs to be intelligently engineered. A stainless steel gear housing with many nooks and crannies will be impossible to clean completely, leading to delays in your inspection and pockets of dangerous bacteria. If you’re investing in a stainless steel gearbox, choose one with a smooth, rounded design. Cone Drive’s Stainless Steel series is engineered as such, with a circular design free of crevices for bacteria to hide. This eases the cleaning process and ensures efficiency.
Like many industries, labor cost and downtime are main concerns for your production line. Other gearing solutions that allow for corrosion or cannot withstand intense washing regiments will leave you waiting for a new part to arrive, leading to increased downtime and wasted production hours. Also, the cost to replace these gearboxes time and time again adds to your overhead expenses on top of the labor cost. Choosing a long-lasting and durable gear housing will save you money for years.