Creating an all food-grade lube cabinet
There are several reasons why a cabinet may not contain all food-grade products. A facility may have been ordering certain products for a number of years, or they’re just simply unaware of the inventory being stocked. Similarly, there may be a lack of awareness that even cleaners can have an NSF registration.
The only way to completely avoid the contamination risk of H1 and non-H1 lubricants is to eliminate all non-food-grade lubricants in the cabinet and in the plant. But there’s a misconception that a food-grade lubricant compromises performance. After all, they cannot contain certain substances and additives that provide excellent lubrication.
So the logical question is, “What’s going to happen to that chain with a food-grade lubricant? Will I have to replace it once a year as opposed to three years?” That suspicion feeds the thinking that you can’t cover every application with a food-grade lubricant.
The good news for maintenance managers is that the newest lubricants designed for use in food and beverage facilities are capable of doing all the things that a conventional industrial lubricant does. Even at higher temperatures or loads and in wash-down environments, the appropriate NSF H1 lubricant will still reduce friction and wear, protect against corrosion, dissipate heat and have a sealing effect.
Technical advances in the industry now even allow H1 lubricants to deliver the same or better performance than conventional industrial gear oils. For example, Klübersynth® UH1 6 Series is a noteworthy H1 lubricant that offers superior performance in terms of efficiency, operational reliability and extended life. Some gearbox manufacturers actually use this H1 product for their first-fill even when the box is not necessarily intended for use in a food or beverage facility. With H1 options like this that meet food safety concerns and achieve high levels of performance, it’s easy to put all food-grade products in the lube cabinet.
It’s true that not all food and beverage companies are required to use H1 lubricants. However, by using only H1 products, a facility minimizes risk. Even if a lubricant is misapplied, it may not expose the plant to the possibility of a product recall. That’s why leading food-industry bodies – such as the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) – are looking at every area of the “Farm to Fork” supply chain. Similarly, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is now scrutinizing every food ingredient coming into the United States.
This is also true for the many food, beverage and pharmaceutical facilities that are pushing toward ISO 22000 standards. ISO 22000 includes the implementation of a plan based on a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) procedure that identifies risks that can impact the safety of the finished product.