Presenting unique challenges to the makers of oils and lubricants, such as Q8, Fuchs, and Mobil, the food industry relies on industrial fluids. The manufacture, preparation and processing of many foodstuffs requires machinery and equipment, which are dependent on high-quality lubrication.
The most important consideration when using any sort of industrial lubricant is that it does not contaminate the food. There are many regulations and processes in place to ensure that this does not happen, with knowledge and expertise growing all the time.
A key player in protecting the food from contamination is using the right lubricant in the right area. Food-processing oils are rated according to the risk of contamination that they pose to products for human consumption, while there are different types to suit the various machines used in the industry.
From small cottage-shop operations to large-scale food manufacturing and processing, there is a lot of machinery used. Typically, a food processing facility will be packed with pumps, mixers, tanks, hoses and pipes, chain drives, and conveyor belts.
As with all industrial machinery, it must be protected from the wear and tear of operation and, most importantly, the heat that is generated through the process. From protecting internal surfaces from the damage caused by friction and heat, to ensuring that there is no deposit build-up, there are many functions such lubricants must meet.
They must also offer good levels of oxidation, thermal and hydrolytic stability, at the same time as delivering excellent delivery. Add these requirements to the need for keeping instances of contamination to a minimum, and it is easy to understand why food-grade fluids are so carefully engineered.
Understanding what oil to use on food-processing machines is essential. With grades ranging from the most basic, with risk of food contact appreciably low, to the most sophisticated where the contact hazard is higher, seeking exacting professional advice is advisable.