Market Focus – Eat, Drink & Be Merry
Food, dairy products, beverages, beer, wine – most need to be moved from one point to another during their production processes, and flexible tubing or reinforced hose is often a transfer component.
Food and beverage industries are highly regulated, and because of that, the processing equipment with which products come in contact must meet certain standards. Associations such as the FDA, USDA, 3-A SSI (3-A Sanitary Standards, Inc.) and NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) have food contact guidelines that can have an impact on which tubing materials should be used for transfer.
Tubing factors to consider in food and beverage processing include odor and taste transfer, leachables, temperatures, ingredient compatibility, flexibility, durability, and pressure and vacuum capabilities. That's a lot to think about.
Take, for example, compatible ingredients. The ingredients in the food or beverage product – and there can be dozens – and those that make up the tubing need to work well together. Depending on what makes up the food – milk products, alcohol, acidic fluids – adverse reactions can occur with the tubing ingredients, leading to off flavors or even process system failure.
Some materials (nitrile rubber, for example) perform better with dairy products than other materials. Butyl rubber handles beer and wine very well, and some tubing material formulations are designed to guard against bacteria growth, which can affect taste. Flavor transfer can be a critical consideration when it comes to drinks such as beer, whose consumers can be quite particular about the quality and taste of the end product.
Certain tubing materials naturally handle high temperatures better than others. Silicone has a temperature usage range that can span 600°F, making it very well suited for below freezing processes as well as hot.
Other materials, specifically PVC, can offer the assurance of both NSF 51 and 61 listings. Flexibility, too, is a big consideration, as tubing or hose often needs to work around or through other machinery and equipment. In some cases the tubing will need to withstand vibration, abrasion and/or repeated handling, so durability is a concern. And when hose is needed for a suctioning process, the user must make sure it can handle the vacuum requirements involved.
It's important that tubing and reinforced hose used in food, beer, wine, dairy and beverage processes not be treated as an afterthought but as a critical component in the design of the fluid transfer system. Whether it's you, a loved one, your pet or a stranger who's consuming the end product, you'll want to ensure that the most suitable fluid transfer components are used.
If you need assistance figuring out what tubing material and style is best for your food, dairy or beverage fluid system, give us a call. We can help! You can also view NewAge's food and beverage tubing at http://www.foodandbeveragehose.com/.
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