A variety of manufacturing and conveying systems help with the production, packaging, and delivery of products in the food and beverage industry. To ensure this equipment functions properly, these systems require reliable components to facilitate consistent efficiency across the production line. One of these components is a stainless-steel gear drive.
Choosing a gear reducer that provides unmatched performance while also being able to endure the severe chemicals and high-pressure washdown requirements found in the food or beverage industry can be difficult. Understanding the additional features now available in washdown-capable gear reducers made from stainless steel components will assist you in choosing the most durable option.
In this post, we will cover what stainless steel gearboxes are, along with the benefits they offer for a range of sanitary food processing applications, to include applications in other industries that require sterile manufacturing environments.
What Is a Stainless-Steel Gearbox?
Food processing as well as other applications use stainless steel gearboxes when they need to meet strict corrosion and hygiene protection requirements. For instance, environments with high levels of humidity or seawater exposure often use stainless steel gear drives to prevent corrosion. Beyond that, applications in the food and beverage industry use these components because their smooth surface is easy to clean and won’t trap moisture, particles, or bacteria, making them suitable for environments where strict hygiene requirements require daily washdown.
Washdown cleaning destroys typical gear reducers, from the use of high-temperature and high-pressure water jets, corrosive salt water, caustic and acidic chemicals, or chlorine-based sanitizers typically used in the meat, dairy, and ready-to-eat product manufacturing. Chlorine is especially hard on aluminum, causing a whitish-colored rust. In applications that require infrequent washing and sterilization, treated aluminum and cast-iron work well. However, stainless steel is the best choice for your application if components require frequent high-pressure washing and sterilization. Regular washdown cleaning of cast iron and aluminum coatings will eventually separate, creating areas where the water and chemicals used during the cleaning process become trapped and contact unprotected material.
Our stainless-steel gearboxes are entirely constructed from stainless steel. Each unit is sealed and leak-proof to operate safely and reliably in wet, hostile, or sterile environments, so you have the maximum performance while maintaining a high level of sanitation. Many of our competitors utilize a plated or coated housing with some stainless internal components, but this is not a true all-purpose washdown gear reducer. It might be corrosion resistant to a point, but an all-stainless box is foolproof.
Benefits of Stainless-Steel Gear Drives for Sanitary Food Processing
Stainless steel gearboxes come with multiple advantages that make them ideal for sanitary food processing equipment. The food and beverage industry relies on a variety of systems to enable sufficient speed, item transfer, and completion of the product cycle at large.
To meet this industry’s specific needs, gear drives for sanitary food processing offer the following benefits:
- The ability to support both dry and wet manufacturing environments
- No fear of rust or paint chips entering the food production process
- Eliminates the possibility of rust creating a hiding place for bacteria
- Requires no repainting or other aesthetic maintenance
- Does not attract unwanted USDA scrutiny
- Consistently reliable service for many years due to high wear resistance
- Designs that meet your unique application around torque, speed, load, and other factors
- The integration of gear reducers for minimized power losses and reduced equipment maintenance costs resulting from corrosion or failure
- Stainless steel gearboxes eliminate any exterior corrosion
Food Processing Gearbox Applications
With increased automation in food processing comes higher hygiene requirements. To meet these requirements, gearboxes must feature designs that can hold up to regular thorough cleaning cycles if they make contact with food items. Stainless steel gearboxes offer superior corrosion resistance and the smooth cleaning surfaces needed to maintain a hygienic environment.
Some of the many food processing applications for gearboxes include:
- Poultry Processing
- Brewery Bottling
- Washdown Dough Mixer
- General Food Processing
- Labeling Machinery
- Packaging Equipment
- Shrink Wrapping
- Filler Equipment
- Raw Material Handling
- Drying and Cooking Lines
- Drying Bottle Washer Machine
- Batching Equipment
- Loaders and Unloaders
- Rotary Shakers
The wide range of applications for washdown motors go beyond the food and beverage industry. Superior Gearbox Company’s Cleandrive, stainless steel gear reducers, are particularly critical components for use in applications in highly corrosive environments. Pharmaceutical manufacturing equipment and conveyors require systematic cleanliness and sterility for product quality and to prevent cross-contamination. Where motors propel machine-cutting fluids and water-cooling systems in a range of industries or even simulating rain and saltwater spraying in automotive test tunnels, a stainless-steel gear reducer can keep your machinery running.
Superior Gearbox Specific Capabilities
Stainless steel gearboxes help maintain valuable food processing systems and ensure consistently hygienic environments. However, it is important to locate the right components for your application to get the best results.
Superior Gearbox Company is a leading manufacturer of high-quality, cost-effective gearboxes for use in the food and beverage industry, including food processing applications. Depending on your specific application and requirements, we offer a wide range of gearbox designs, including helical, spur, bevel, spindle, and worm gear drives. We also carry a variety of bearings, gears, housings, and shaft materials to customize each component of the gear drive, which provides our customers with the ideal solution for their unique application.
Our engineering capabilities enable us to design a gearbox that can meet specific horsepower, power consumption, and torque requirements. Furthermore, we manufacture gearboxes that offer durable longevity and safety in particularly harsh and hazardous environments. Based on your individual needs, we will provide you with a gearbox design while keeping your desired timeline and budget in mind.
In addition to the food and beverage industry, our gearboxes work with applications in many other industries, including:
- Oil and gas
- Cement and concrete
- Pulp and paper
- Lawn and garden
Regardless of our customer’s requirements, we have the resources and expertise needed to meet them. With over 30 years of experience backing us, we offer some of the best gearbox designs available for nearly any application. Our engineering team can modify or reverse engineer an existing product or start from scratch to supply you with an entirely original design.
To learn more about our capabilities, contact us today and we’ll connect you with one of our representatives.