Food & Beverage Industry – How to Specify Industrial Water Filtration Equipment in the Food Industry

Water filtration applications in a Food and Beverage facility

In a typical Food and Beverage facility there are many different water and process applications, each demanding its own specific level of water purity. The presence, flows and purity of each of these streams is driven by the Food and Beverage plant design, e.g. canning, dry-goods, soft-drink, brewery.

These can include:

  • Pre-treatment of well, surface or city water
  • Boiler water treatment
  • Condensate treatment
  • Process water treatment
  • Cleaning and sterilization service water
  • Hygiene Services
  • Waste water disposal.

Regardless of the application, there is a good chance that some type of industrial water filtration will be required in order for the Food and Beverage application to operate at its peak efficiency.  

Defining the Types of Water Filtration Systems

Water filtration options can be divided into two major categories, based upon the filtering media used

  • granular and
  • membrane.

Granular water filtration has been used for many decades in the Food and Beverage Industry, and will be familiar to most. Examples of granular media filtration include sand filters; activated carbon filters for taste, odor, and chlorine removal; anthracite filters; and fine garnet filters.

These types of filters can remove suspended particles down to about 10 microns in diameter (1 micron = 10-6 meters). With the use of certain coagulant or flocculation polymers fed prior to these filters (fed as filter aids), some success has been seen in the removal of particles down to almost 1 micron.

The spacing between the discrete filtering media particles serves as the pores. Suspended solids trapped out by these filters will be collected on top of the filtration media bed, or within the pores.

Membrane water filtration uses membranes to remove suspended particles. Unlike granular filters, the membranes are designed with pores and are capable of removing much smaller particles. The ultimate membrane filtration is reverse osmosis (RO), where dissolved solids (metal ions) can be removed. This is not really a filtration mechanism in the truest sense of the words, as the semi-permeable membranes used in RO do not have pores. It is more properly thought of as a demineralization mechanism.

Membrane water filtration is best characterized by the size range of the filterable particles, as follows:

  1. Microfiltration (MF) can include woven or wound depth-type cartridge filters, or true membrane filters. Can remove particles from about 0.1 micron to over 1 micron.
  2. Ultrafiltration (UF) can remove particles from below 0.01 microns to over 0.1 microns. Can remove some large molecular weight organic dissolved material.
  3. Nanofiltration (NF) can remove particles from below 0.001 microns to 0.01 microns. Can remove smaller molecular weight organics.
  4. RO can remove particles from 0.0001 microns to 0.001 microns. Can also remove DISSOLVED IONIC SOLIDS.

Material Handling Equipment: Increase Efficiency and Reduce Fatalities

A majority of all industrial occupations involve overexertion that invariably leads to accidents and hazards. Handling and storing materials in different industries involve diverse operations such as hoisting tons of steel with a crane; driving a truck loaded with concrete blocks; carrying bags or materials manually; and stacking palletized bricks or other materials such as drums, barrels, kegs, and lumber. A survey reveals that an estimated 30 percent of the workforce is exposed to the hazard of lifting everyday. Materials handling equipment are an essential solution for reducing the risk of physical injuries for employees at work place.

Manual material handling implies unaided moving of objects, which often leads to twisted and awkward postures resulting in musculoskeletal disorders. Moreover, with the increase in the female population at workplaces and a generally older workforce, risk of injuries due to manual material handling has certainly increased. Having the right material handling equipment has become essential for a smooth and efficient workflow and high productivity.

Material Handling Equipment can be custom built in any shape or form to suit any application. Material handling equipment is used to transport, stack, recover and feed bulk materials. The concept of material handling equipment is to provide bulk material handling solutions to industries worldwide. Rollers, belts and chains are among the items that can be incorporated into a custom-built piece of material handling equipment. A variety of hydraulic and electric drives are also available. Every piece of equipment is ruggedly constructed for many years of operation.

The perfect choice of material handling equipment and good design of the material handling system and facility layout can increase productivity and reduce investments and operations’ costs. When deciding what material handling equipment to use, it is important to take into account the general characteristics of the equipment types available in the market.

Among the major materials handling equipment are Conveyors, Stackers, Reclaimers and Hoppers. Conveyors often referred to as conveyor belts are made of two end pulleys with a continuous loop of rotating material feeding through them. Conveyors are used to transport materials such as coal, ores and grains. Stackers are another form of material handling equipment used to stack bulk material onto a stockpile. Reclaimers work closely with stackers. Reclaimers are used to recover bulk material that has been placed in a stockpile. Hoppers are also a type of material handling equipment. Hoppers help to feed bulk materials into other machines.

Material handling equipment is undoubtedly the best solution to improve productivity while reducing the potential of workplace injury. Versatility, reliability, state-of-the-art technology and superior execution are making modern material handling equipment an utmost necessity for a variety of industries. Reduce the total amount of required manual material handling and minimize the hazards associated with these activities by creating a unified material handling system making the right material handling equipment selection. Reduce costs and improve efficiency in industrial material handling by providing the perfect selection of material handling equipment.

Radio Frequency Emissions From Used Industrial RF and Microwave Equipment

In today’s increasingly safety conscious work environment, it is important to maintain Radio Frequency (RF) emissions to the lowest values consistent with practical considerations for manufacturing.

Exposure Standards

At a minimum, users of industrial RF and Microwave equipment should adopt internal RF emission standards that are at least as stringent as current federal OSHA guidelines. Check your state OSHA regulations for their compliance standards.

For owners and operators of industrial RF welders, heat sealers and pre-heaters as well as Industrial Microwave ovens and Industrial Microwave dryers, the relevant federal OSHA regulation is currently:

(Standards – 29 CFR) Non-Ionizing Radiation. – 1910.97

Used Industrial RF and Microwave Equipment

Industrial radio frequency and industrial microwave equipment of recent and reputable manufacture will be designed and built to comply with current standards, however, older equipment or equipment purchased used will not likely have shielding that would comply with today’s standards.

Used equipment or equipment that has had its shielding removed or modified may function yet expose operators to RF energy levels many times current standards. RF levels on control panels and surrounding metal structures can be high enough to burn personnel if touched while the RF is in operation.

Inadequately shielded industrial radio frequency equipment or industrial microwave equipment frequently interferes with, and may even damage, nearby electronics, especially if those electronic devices are poorly designed.

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When purchasing used equipment, the buyer rarely has the expertise or the devices necessary to test and evaluate the equipment prior to purchase. To the untrained eye, a machine may appear to be well shielded. However, that shielding may be completely ineffective if improperly designed or applied. Frequently, 40+ years old equipment will be retro-fitted with “shielding” to increase its saleability.

It should be noted that purchasing older equipment and retro-fitting it with effective shielding frequently costs as much as new equipment.

New Industrial RF or Microwave Equipment

New equipment emits a fraction of the RF energy that similar equipment did just a decade ago. Even so, the best designed and built equipment still requires maintenance.

Industrial RF and industrial microwave equipment is no exception. They are both electronic and mechanical devices and proper care is required. Proper maintenance of shielding, ground returns and neutralization is essential to prevent any degradation in performance, which could result in non-compliance. Maintenance programs should be coordinated with the manufacturer. A regular program of RF emissions testing will determine the effectiveness of maintenance and adjustments to shielding.

Users may purchase RF Survey / Industrial Compliance meters to check their equipment for leakage or may hire outside services to conduct regular surveys.

In order to maintain peak performance and minimum emissions, repair services should only be performed by a qualified industrial RF or industrial microwave service technician.