THE food and beverage industry maintains a fine balance of priorities and requirements. Customers need dependable low and no-maintenance (sealed for life), cost-effective food-grade solutions that can withstand the rigours of corrosive, acidic, wet and excessively hot environments, with a focus on hygiene and food safety standards.
That’s according to Hennie van Vuuren Market Segment Development Leader at Bearings International (BI), which supplies a range of bearing and power transmission solutions for companies with food and beverage manufacturing, production, packaging, processing and distribution facilities, including OEMs.
Where lubrication does take place, he said, food-safe certified solutions is a necessity. However, added to this requirement and due to the nature of the application, solutions also have to have specialised sealing arrangements that are effective and can withstand being purged without damage.
BI covers an extensive range of products and brands specifically for this sector. These include bearings and seals (FAG, Cooper, Koyo, Rexnord, Link-Belt, Craft and Dodge), power transmission products (Bauer, Dodge, Imak), linear motion products (INA), flat-top, stainless steel and plastic chains (Rex, MCC and Marbett), couplings and drives (Mayr, Jaure, Tschan, Motordrive), electric motors (Alpha Drive and ABB) and variable speed drives (V-Drive and Yaskawa).
“The food and beverage industry is the mainstay of society and our daily lives. Its importance is therefore immense, hence our ongoing focus to support this segment,” Van Vuuren said.
“Population growth alone is fuelling its rapid expansion. Hence there is a current market requirement for a robust, reliable and industry-specific supplier. With over 1 800 food production companies in South Africa, this is a major industry for BI.”
The company’s strategy for the sector is to be a supplier of choice, differentiated by quality service and products. “We strive to service our customers with product offerings from the most common to specially-engineered solutions, living up to our slogan of ‘always there making it work’.
“We are always looking to improve, such as offering maintenance-free solutions and upgraded sealing arrangements. We are also looking to develop and supply sealed motorised drives for ease of use and durability as a bolt-on solution that requires no modifications.”
Van Vuuren stressed the need for regular and proactive maintenance in the food and beverage industry.
“In this market segment in particular the ‘run to fail’ concept adopted by many other industries must be approached differently. Well-managed maintenance schedules with the assistance of BI will ensure more reliable, sustainable solutions, ensuring more uptime and a reliable supply to end-users.”