Overview of the basic conditions – The three zones
The European standard DIN EN 1672-2 -“Hygiene requirements for food processing machines” defines three equipment zones: the food zone, the splash zone and the non-food zone.
Festo provides comprehensive expertise, advice and the right products for your applications in all three zones.
The food zone includes all system parts and components that come into contact with food, i.e. the component is mounted directly within the food flow or food comes into contact with the component before being returned to the product flow. Parts that come into contact with food must be easy to clean and disinfect. They must also be corrosion-resistant, non-toxic, non-absorbent, smooth and of a single-piece design or sealed in order to prevent food particles from accumulating in small gaps. Parts that are difficult to remove pose a contamination hazard.
In addition, only special lubricants for the food industry may be used. These requirements also apply to parts that are dismantled for cleaning.
Machine parts and components in the splash zone come into direct contact with food, but the food cannot be returned to the product flow. However, the splash zone should still be planned and designed according to the same criteria as the food zone – even if the product cannot be returned to the food process. The technical implementation can be less stringent, provided this does not have an adverse effect on the quality of the manufacturing process.
The components do not come into contact with the food. Nevertheless, all the parts and system components used in the non-food zone should be made of corrosion-resistant materials and be easy to clean and disinfect. Otherwise, sources of infection could arise in the long term.
Design characteristics of hygienic system parts and components in the food and packaging industry
The basis for the hygienic design of machines and components is the implementation of DIN EN 1672-2 and ISO 14159. They incorporate the main design aspects that can be used to plan systems.
The quality of food depends on the materials used in the production process.
Many countries have laws and regulations concerning the composition of the materials used to build a unit for the food industry. These units must comply with precisely defined requirements: they should be mechanically stable, perfectly processed and be resistant to fractures, cracks, chipping and abrasion. They must have surfaces and coatings that can be cleaned and disinfected in normal conditions.
Cleaning and disinfection
To protect consumers
In the food and packaging industry, product safety is a critical issue, in particular in terms of microbiological aspects, because the manufacturer is responsible for product liability. A perfect production process therefore needs to be guaranteed so that it poses no risk for either the food or the consumer.
An important aspect is the hygienic and easy-to-clean design of components and systems to ensure optimum hygienic conditions with minimum use of time and cleaning agents. The results are increased demands on the resistance of components and products.
Compressed air quality
Compressed air as a process medium provides a number of valuable advantages
For example, compressed air systems can be expanded as and when needed thanks to modular components, making it a safe investment for the future. However, special care needs to be taken when handling compressed air, in particular if the air comes into contact with food, because compressed air is not clean by nature. On the contrary: it contains different concentrations of solid particles in the form of dust. Dust is classified according to particle size, i.e. coarse dust (›10 micron), fine dust (›1 to ‹10 micron) and atomised dust (‹1 micron). Water is always present in the air in the form of natural humidity. Large quantities are released when the compressed air cools down.