Automatic lubricator filled with food safe grease on bread making machinery
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Food Grade Lubrication

Lubrication problems in the food & beverage industry

Water is a problem for maintenance teams in any industry. In the food & beverage industry the sheer number of processes involving water greatly amplify this problem.  Wash down zones, mixing vessels, bottling conveyors, the list goes on, there is always high risk of water ingress, and any lubrication system, as well as the food lube, must be able to cope with this.

Steam - water’s troublesome cousin - penetrates bearings and machinery easily. Steam is common in many processes, and many processing plants have to be regularly steam cleaned. This often results in high water content in lubricating oils and greases, causing a myriad of problems.

Lubrication solutions for the food & beverage industry

That solution is the ATS food luber, filled with a food grade lubricant.

The Food Luber is waterproof to 10m, suitable for any area with high chance of water exposure or submersion.

The white ‘Food Grade’ ring on the luber allows for easy identification and correct maintenance. This food industry lubrication system can be filled with any food grade oil or grease that our customers request.

This food grade lubrication system delivers a continual flow of lubricant, in exactly the desired amount. In turn this applies a positive pressure at the lubrication point, minimising chance of contamination from dust, water or steam.

Made from inert materials, the Food Luber will not interact with either the lubricant inside nor any food or liquid it interacts with.

Extreme temperatures complicate the situation even further. Refrigeration, freezing units, and ovens all require different lubricant properties, as well as a lubrication system for extreme temperatures.

Lubricating food processing plants is a huge maintenance challenge. In fact, this challenge faces all companies required to use food grade lubrication – food, beverage, pharmaceuticals, some agriculture, and even food packaging manufacturers.

As you’d expect, anything humans consume must meet rigorous health and safety standards, and since there’s a chance of lubricant contacting these food stuffs, the lubricant must also meet high standards.

After all, in any plant leaks can happen, and maintenance can be messy. So to ensure public safety, food grade lubricants must meet certain criteria.

Food grade lubrication requirements

Every lubricant, no matter what its specific function, must perform certain essential functions. For example they must dissipate heat, reduce friction and wear, and provide oxidation stability.

Unfortunately, many of the additives in standard or specialised lubricants are far from safe for human consumption. And that’s where lubricating food processing machinery gets tricky.

Not only should food lubes perform as excellent lubricating mediums, they must meet the following criteria...

Taste: Food grade lubricants must be tasteless, as well as odourless.

Inert: They must also be inert, so that they don’t react with other substances. 

Why is this important? Two reasons. Firstly, some greases or oils will break down plastics. This is called polymer degradation, and since plastic is so widely used in the food & beverage industry it’s very unwelcome!

The negative affects on this could even lead to migration of harmful chemicals from packaging to food or liquid. Therefore this is especially important for packaging manufacturers.

The reverse is equally important. Some foods, liquids, and chemicals, can break down oil or grease. this in turn leads to poor lubrication and failure of machinery. Possible resulting in contamination of the product.

On top of the challenges detailed above, lubrication systems for the food and beverage industry face a number of other difficulties.

Variety of lubricants is also a factor. Not just for different temperatures, but different applications. Chins, bearings, gearboxes etc all require different lubrication, meaning costs ramp up and maintenance programmes get complicated.

There is a lubrication system for food processing equipment that helps combat all of these problems at once.

Number one in the industry for reliability and safety, this food grade lubrication system will not only keep your operations running smoothly, but will minimise work load and maintenance.

With the best operating temperature range of any auto lubricator available, the Food Luber’s -40°C to +55°C temperature range means that you can use one lubricator in all parts of your operation, however large.

Using H1 grease is not an acceptable strategy over proper, clean maintenance programmes. The Food Luber provides a completely clean, no mess strategy to lubrication, minimising the risk of contamination.

Food Grade Lubricant Standards

The spec of food-grade lubricants is determined by the likelihood of them contacting food products. For example, the bearing on a cooling fan outside a refrigeration unit is much less likely to contact food than say a meat hook.

H1: There is a possibility of contact between lubricant and food

⁠⁠H2: there’s no possibility of contact between lubricant and food

H3: High possibility of contact on equipment which needs corrosion protection eg meat hooks – edible oils must be used

However! Filling all your lube points with H1 grease or oil does not mean that you can ignore good maintenance practices!

There is a threshold limit to acceptable contamination levels, even with H1 grease, and proper care and attention should always be taken to avoid any instance where lubricant may contaminate food or beverage products.

If in doubt of the risk level, always opt for H1 standard food lubricants

Image of electro-luber on bearing stand. The single point lubricator is filled with white food safe grease.
Image of ATS Electro-lube mini luber with white ring and white grease for food safe lubrication

white ring food lubricator

Features

Benefits

  • Waterproof to 10m
  • Continual reliable lubrication
  • Fill with ANY food grade lubricant
  • Inert material construction
  • Operating temp -40°C to + 55°C
  • Use in any foo/beverage/pharma application
  • Eradicate contamination
  • No more messy maintenance practices
  • 12 months maintenance free lubrication
  • Cut up to 70% of failures & downtime
Image of water bottles on a conveyor belt in the food and beverage industry. ATS lubricators are safe for lubricating all grease points within the food and beverage industry

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