Food processing technology
The process chain in food production begins with natural raw materials, which are subject to food-specific process steps such as separating and mixing, thermal, biological and chemical processes, and finally packaging in shelf-life-dependent storage materials before reaching the consumer. The machinery and equipment must be designed to ensure that no health hazard emanates from those areas in contact with the product. For the materials used, official approval is necessary at regular intervals. Other economically significant aspects are, for example, the requirement for wear resistance and high metering precision to minimize product losses.
For several decades now, high-quality ceramic materials have been used in reliable and long-life components with wide-ranging applications like, for example, material separation by means of micro- and ultrafiltration, filling of solid, paste and liquid foodstuffs up to atmosphere monitoring for film packaging and labelling of food containers.
Typical requirements for the properties of the ceramic materials depending on the specific application are:
- High geometric precision
- Mechanical strength
- Edge stability
- Wear resistance
- Superheated steam sterilizability
- Thermal shock resistance
- Compressive strength
- Easy cleaning after product changes
The specific requirement profiles are generally combinations of several of the above-mention properties. High-purity materials on oxide and non-oxide basis, sometimes even developed for specific applications, can easily meet such requirements.