The 3 Biggest Conveying Challenges in Food and Beverage Processing

The 3 Biggest Conveying Challenges in Food and Beverage Processing

Bottles of an orange liquid are conveyed through a clean industrial facility.

If you work in food and beverage processing, you know that there are unique challenges to overcome. Between high sanitation standards, frequent equipment washdowns, and potential food contamination, there’s a lot to manage. 

In this article, we’ll examine these challenges, and how to handle them. We’ll also explore how Timken’s innovative products can provide solutions to these common food and beverage processing problems. 

High Sanitation Standards

There are few industries held to as high a standard of cleanliness and hygiene as food and beverage processing. This is necessary to ensure the safety and quality of food products. There are many procedures that need to be followed, including: 

  • Regular cleaning and sanitization of all equipment, surfaces and production areas to eliminate contaminants like bacteria, allergens, and mold 
  • Compliance with regulatory requirements from the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and USDA (United States Department of Agriculture)
  • Following industry-specific standards like HACCP for compliance
  • Use of hygienic design in equipment and facility layout to minimize risk of microbial contamination and make washdown easier
  • Training staff on sanitation procedures, including using cleaning products and chemicals, taking apart equipment, and following sanitation schedules. 

A worker uses a water hose to wash down equipment.

These challenges require rigorous daily attention and upkeep. Selecting the right products can make a big difference in your ease of maintenance, whether that’s replacements or during initial setup and layout. 

Frequent Equipment Washdowns

Washdowns cause constant pressure on your equipment and the parts within it, but without them, you cannot reliably remove food residues, debris, and contaminants. Washdowns in the food and beverage processing industry inevitably contain water and cleaning chemicals.

It’s important to ensure that critical elements of your equipment are protected. You can do this through hygienic design, and corrosion resistance. 

Hygienic Design

The Timken IP69K hygienic mounted ball bearing is a standout product for a multitude of reasons. Fully stainless construction excels in environments with high-pressure washdowns, extreme humidity, and temperature variations, all common in food and beverage processing.

This stainless construction includes the rings, balls, and cage of the bearing insert, making them fully metal-detectable. They are also excellent at sealing out dust and water. Even during aggressive testing, these bearings pass the test, preventing any water or dust from infiltrating the seal. Cutaway image of a hygienic mounted ball bearing.

The optically detectable, ultra-smooth surfaced blue bearing seal stands out above the rest, helping ensure any food contamination will be quickly identified. It also passes IP69K testing without even requiring an end cover. Plus, these bearings feature lubricant that complies with FDA guidelines for incidental food contact. 

The Timken IP69K hygienic-design bearing also offers housing variety, with compatibility for stainless, hygienic stainless, and hygienic blue thermoset housing materials. That makes this bearing compatible with needs across many industries, but is suited especially well for food and beverage processing. Another handy option for this bearing is the QuiKleanⓇ housing design, which avoids dead space between the housing base and the machinery and allows washdown from all sides. 

Mounted hygienic bearing

Corrosion Resistance

Another consideration in food and beverage processing is the corrosion that can come from frequent washdowns and chemicals. Corrosion-resistant mounted ball bearings can help guard against this damage. Stainless steel construction, combined with food-grade lubricant, help you keep food safety top of mind. 

Timken offers corrosion-resistant Poly-Round® mounted bearings that utilize stainless construction, and are designed to be lubricant-free– ideal for applications like food and beverage processing, where sanitation, contamination and rust are priority concerns. 

Corrosion resistant chains, such as Diamond ACE® (Anti-Corrosion Exterior) Chain, are another conveying solution. This gives you another layer of protection from acidic or caustic environments that will corrode standard carbon steel chain. Stainless steel construction is also available. Reduced-maintenance chain is also offered for those applications where regular lubrication is not possible or practical. 

Lovejoy branded steel tensioner part image Stainless steel tensioners are another way to help maintain rigorous standards for chain or belt applications in food and beverage processing. Lovejoy’s RunRight® stainless steel tensioners  effectively dampen belt vibrations by applying constant pressure, while also cleaning conveyor belts and compensating for scraper wear. 

Potential Food Contamination

Frequent washdowns can lead to a loss of bearing grease, requiring additional downtime to lubricate bearings at best, and food contamination at worst. An excellent option is a bearing with solid lube. 

Timken’s roller bearings with FVSL613 solid lube provide a grease alternative that’s ideal for the harsh operating environments in the food and beverage processing industry. This food-safe solid lube is a microporous polymer structure that’s combined with high-performance oils and additives, to contain up to three times as much oil as a similar volume of grease. 

A bearing lying flat, showing solid lubrication in place of standard grease or oil.

Solid lube completely fills the free volume in the bearing between the races, rolling elements, and the cage. During bearing rotation, the solid lubricant polymer releases the appropriate amount of oil to lubricate the rolling elements and raceways. This continually provides lubricant exactly where it is needed, and keeps contaminants out. This will increase uptime, reduce maintenance, and avoid food product contamination. 

IBT Industrial Solutions’ Experts Can Help! 

There’s a lot to navigate in food and beverage processing. Our team of experienced product specialists can help answer your questions, recommend the right products, and help you get your facility running at peak performance. 

We know health and safety are your top priorities. Let us assist you in finding the right materials and products that are washdown ready and right for you. We can also assist in maintenance, engineering services, training, and more! Reach out to us today. 

Curious about our inventory of food and beverage processing products? Explore our online shop at! 

Mounted hygienic bearing

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