Food and Beverage Processing

Food safe plastic materials keep food processing equipment running longer with lower friction and less noise

Whether it’s meat, dairy, baking or beverages, plastics improve the longevity of the food processing equipment that you use in your facility. 

Curbell Plastics supplies food processers with plastic materials and machined plastic parts that stand up to repeated cleaning cycles, reduce downtime, and prevent contamination. 

The low friction and outstanding wear characteristics of food-grade plastics such as nylon, acetal, and UHMW make them preferable alternatives to metal to keep machines running without the need for external lubrication. 

Plastics for conveying applications, food processsing and beverage manufacturing.
Plastic materials (food safe plastics) for industrial machinery used in food processing applications.

 

Applications for plastic materials include:

  • Chain guides
  • Conveyor belting
  • Cutting boards
  • Feed/timing screws
  • Filler pistons
  • Flexible tubing
  • PTFE tape for bag sealing equipment
  • Idler sprockets
  • Machine guards
  • Metal detectable machinery parts
  • UHMW profiles
  • Rollers
  • Spacer rods
  • Star wheels
  • Wear strips/guide tails
  • Work area social distancing barriers
  • X-Ray detectable machinery parts

Improve Employee Safety and Social Distancing

Plastic barriers are now being used for social distancing in food processing plants, while still allowing operators to see each other.

Plastics assist in noise abatement for conveyor applications such as chain guides, feed screws, and wear strips, helping your operating plants to meet OSHA noise level requirements. 

Transparent Machine Guard Plastic Materials

Polycarbonate is an excellent material for food processing equipment machine guards. It provides super toughness and impact resistance compared to glass and it is easy to cut and install. 

Acrylic has better optical clarity than polycarbonate and bonds well with adhesives and solvents. 

Plastics for easy clean-up and hygienic environments

Maintaining clean work stations and equipment is a top priority. FDA complaint plastics help contribute to a sanitary environment as they stand up well against the regular contact with cleaning chemicals. Many plastics are ideal for wet environments as they have low water absorption and they do not rust. 

Food Processing Equipment Plastic Materials

UHMW is tough and durable. It performs well in applications such as chute liners and star wheels where low friction and excellent wear performance are required. LubX® CV is a special grade of UHMW with lower friction and superior wear properties compared with standard UHMW.

HDPE cutting board protects knives and blades while providing a durable work surface. Its excellence chemical resistance makes it the ideal material to disinfect without damaging the workstation. 

Acetal has low friction, low moisture absorption, and good mechanical properties. It is used as an alternative to metal when wear performance and mechanical strength are required. 

UHMW-PE tapes and PTFE tapes can be applied to metal surfaces to reduce friction and promote the flow of materials through a process.

PTFE belting is used to convey food products, especially close to ovens where elevated temperatures are a consideration.

Plastics for easy clean-up, FDA compliant and ideal for food processing equipment and parts.
Plastic materials for conveyors in food processing manufacturing plants and beverage processing.

 

Plastic manufacturers are sensitive to the need to detect contamination during processing. 
Materials such as acetal and UHMW are available in a brilliant blue color, making them easy to discover using visual inspection.  These materials are also available in X-ray detectable and metal detectable grades.

Which plastic materials are right for your application? Contact us today.

Keep your production lines moving smoothly and lower your cost of replacement parts and downtime. Reduce the threat of contamination and keep your operators safe. Whatever you need, our plastics experts are here for you—ready to answer your technical questions and discuss materials.

Call 1-800-553-0335 | Ask a Plastics Expert | Explore Our Materials

Frequently Asked Questions
Will plastic materials stand up to wash-down solutions and other chemicals?

Some plastics such as UHMW, polypropylene, and PTFE have excellent chemical resistance. Other plastic materials like acrylic and polycarbonate have limited chemical resistance. The chemical resistance of plastic will depend on a number of factors including the concentration of the chemical, the part geometry, the stresses on the part, and the operating temperature. Please contact Curbell if you have questions about the chemical resistance of a particular plastic material.

Which Plastics are FDA Compliant?

Many unfilled virgin plastic materials including UHMW, acetal, and nylon meet one or more of the FDA's requirements for direct food contact. Please consult with Curbell if you have a specific requirement for compliance with FDA or any other regulating agency.

Which plastics are the most dimensionally stable and can achieve tight tolerances?

Plastic materials tend to have much higher rates of thermal expansion than metals, and plastic parts may grow out of tolerance when heated. Additionally, some plastics will swell in the presence of water or other chemicals. Materials with low rates of thermal expansion and low moisture absorption such as semicrystalline PET are often used when tight dimensional tolerances are required.

Which plastics can tolerate temperatures from freezing to extreme highs?

A number of considerations when selecting materials for high and low temperature applications. These include the rate of thermal expansion of the material, softening behavior, creep, and the ability of the plastic to resist long-term thermal degradation. Materials such as PPS, PEEK, and PTFE tend to perform well in high temperature applications. UHMW-PE and PEEK also perform well in low temperatures. Curbell can help select materials for use in a high temperature environment.

Which plastics have the best wear performance?

Generally speaking, semicrystalline thermoplastics such as UHMW, acetal, nylon, and PET tend to have low friction and long wear life. That being said, wear behavior is a complex issue that depends on the composition and smoothness of the mating surface, loads, velocity, and part geometry.