What are the roles of steel in the food industry?
- Storage of food materials
- Fabrication of machinery used for processing food
- Safe and secure delivery of finished products
From its roots in basic agriculture and trade and barter systems, the food industry has steadily remained as one of the world’s top industries. Being a key component in economic development, having a proper food industry is crucial in providing sustenance to the population. In turn, this helps other industries move forward, take for example steel in the Philippines and their crucial role in industrial development.
While the food industry supports progress and development, other industries provide the same kind of support to them as well. For the steel industry, this is helping in both infrastructure support, like providing angle bars in the Philippines, to providing materials necessary for the manufacturing of their products. With steel being an important element in the food industry, it is important to understand its role in helping create quality products that are safe to consume and distribute.
The Role of Steel
The role of steel in helping the food industry is crucial, as it provides a wide variety of advantages for their manufacturing capabilities. Steel is used for a majority of the food storage and processing facilities, ensuring that food would remain free from contamination and kept fresh at all times, while making sure that processing produces quality products. Here are some ways steel in being used in the food industry:
- Storage of food materials – As stated, steel is used for storing both food ingredients and finished products. The properties of steel, such as being resistant to heat while also having excellent cooling properties, easy to form and shape, highly chemical resistant, and having high durability makes sure that these products and materials are safe from any factors that may compromise them.
- Fabrication of machinery used for processing food – Steel is used in a wide variety of manufacturing facilities, and the food industry is no exception. Steel is used for important machineries, such as conveyor systems, cutting equipment, industrial ovens, food mixers, and packaging. The properties of steel allow these machines to withstand the rigors of everyday usage, allowing for a steady and uninterrupted production line that only delivers quality products. Cooking and cutting is a crucial part of the whole manufacturing process, and the use of steel materials ensures that these industries would produce efficiently.
- Safe and secure delivery of finished products – Being an industry that provides perishable goods, it is important to ensure the quality and freshness of food products when they are being distributed to their retailers.
Shipping and delivery can be done through aircraft, ships, and trucks, with each form of transportation having their own set of advantages and challenges that can affect product quality. Steel provides a strong and sturdy material that ensures that food shipments would be safely delivered to their designated locations.
Types of Steel Used in the Food Industry
Stainless steel is the primary material used in the food industry and picking the right type for each area of the industry ensures that processing and manufacturing would not be compromised and remain steady. Here are important steel types used in the food industry, along with which area of the industry it is being used.
- 304 (austenitic) – Used for machinery parts, pipework, bowls, and food vats for storage and processing. Known for its strong resistance to corrosion.
- 316 (austenitic) – This type is used for food that contains corrosive properties like meat and food with salt content. This type of steel requires to be regularly cleaned and must be under excessive amounts of stress.
- 420 (martensitic) – This is the material used for professional-grade cutting materials and spatulas for cooking, along with other types of cutlery.
- 430 (ferritic) – Used for moderately corrosive areas that involve dry foods, beverages, fruits, and vegetables. Also used for table surfaces, machine panels, and cladding equipment.
- 1.4462 (duplex) – Stronger than austenitic steel and used for food with corrosive properties. Resistant to cracking in high temperatures.
- 1.4539 (austenitic) – This material is used for corrosive salty food and hot brine.
- 6% Mo. Types (austenitic) – Used for steam heating, boilers, and hot circuits. Resistant to high temperatures and corrosive food, ensuring it does not crack under stress.
In addition to these properties listed above, steel does not alter the flavor, color or taste of food, making sure that each product remains fit for consumption. Knowing these steel types also ensures that you would not be using the wrong kind of steel for your manufacturing, which could pose more risks and challenges that can affect manufacturing and the final product.
The food industry is one of the most profitable industries across the world. With health and safety, along with product quality always being an important requirement, understanding the role of steel in the industry allows us to understand how it is being used in processing food materials, storing food, and making sure manufacturing capabilities are being maximized.