Combating Cable Failure Combating Cable Failures in the Food and Beverage Sector

Editor: Dominik Stephan

Hygiene is an absolute priority for the food industry. The tough hygiene and safety requirements also apply to electrical components used in food processing equipment. It is particularly important for components, e.g. cables, to be resistant to chemicals, aggressive acidic and alkaline industrial cleaning agents as well as other physical and thermal stresses, as they are prone to failure otherwise.

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The food processing industry is focusing on every possible aspect to maintain quality standards
The food processing industry is focusing on every possible aspect to maintain quality standards
(Picture: Lapp India)

With regulations on hygiene getting more stringent by the day, the food processing industry is focusing on every possible aspect to maintain quality standards and prevent contamination of products. Right from raw materials to personnel and equipment hygiene, everything needs to be factored in for ensuring best quality food products. And of course equipment hygiene encompasses all components, even electrical parts that include cables.

These must be resistant to a wide range of chemical, thermal and physical stresses so that they can be used in refrigerated areas and moist environments. These difficult conditions mean that it is not always easy to find the right product. Cables catering to the food processing industry have to meet the prerequisite of withstanding destructive effects of extreme temperature and humidity, which is common in the industry. The common causes of cable failure are mentioned below.

Equipment Infestation with Microbes

The degradation of organic substances is caused by microbes and bacteria. Despite undertaking sufficient cleanliness measures, this natural process cannot be completely avoided. This typically occurs in agroprocessing units, slaughterhouses and also during waste disposal. In the presence of high levels of temperature and humidity, cable sheaths can also become a nutrient medium for microbes and bacteria. The consequence is decomposition of the insulation material.

Hydrolysis – Why Steam is dangerus to Cables

In food processing industries, steam jet cleaners are used to meet hygiene requirements. If, however, cables come into contact with steam or hot water, the hydrolysis phenomenon will occur. This means that substances are flushed out of the sheaths, initiating degradation reactions. The insulating material will become brittle; the speed at which this process progresses depends on the temperature prevailing in the cable.

Dealing with Cables in Food & Beverages

Lapp Group recently catered to a leading player in nutrition, health and wellness segment, which was looking for suitable cabling solutions for meeting its various requirements. This food company was in the expansion phase of its processing plant to meet growing market demands in the country...