Here at Innotech, we proudly claim our equipment is designed and built for harsh washdown environments. But what do we mean by that exactly? Let’s take a closer look into the elements that makeup an effective washdown design.
The Enemy: Pathogens & Toxins
Food safety is always a top priority for food production facilities. The CDC estimates that 48 million people get sick each year due to foodborne illness in the US alone. Should a cause be traced back to a production facility, the result for the manufacturer could be catastrophic.
Pathogens, especially bacteria, tend to be found in places where water collects, pools, and remains stagnant. It seems fairly obvious then that equipment should have as few of these areas as possible. While that’s an easy statement to make, translating that into working equipment designs presents a challenge. So how do our Innotech engineers do it? The short answer contains a combination of materials, components, and design elements that minimize pathogen risk while maximizing cleanability.
Material & Component Selection
Most of our designs incorporate stainless steel and UHMW when working with food-grade applications. (For a more in-depth look, check out our previous blog post on material selection.) But components also need to be rated for use in these applications. Motors, for example, need to be completely sealed so as not to leak oils or toxins. We use high-end motors for most of our builds due to their cleanability and robust operation. We favor Keyence sensors for their durability and service history. Everything that rolls out of our shop requires robust operation in any environment, and so skimping on components does not work for us or our customers.
Design Elements for Cleanability
As previously stated, our main goal in design is to prevent pathogen growth and buildup. Elements such as standoffs reduce the surface area where water can pool. The location and installation of fasteners are considered so as to reduce unseen or hard to access areas where bacteria can grow. Many of our equipment designs come with easily adjustable components. Telescoping legs for example eliminate the need for shims or other leveling fixes, which are areas that can harbor bacteria.
Our professional fabrication team pays extra special attention to each detail to ensure every surface is ready for a washdown environment. In addition to enhancing operator safety, durability and aesthetics, precision welding, surface finishing, grinding, polishing – all of these steps are taken to reduce the likelihood of bacteria growth. Electrical components are an important part of any build. Wiring, sensors, PLCs, and controls are all shielded for use with pressure washdowns.
Have a project requiring washdown-ready equipment? Get in touch with our team to discuss your application!