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Electropolishing Stainless Steel – Benefits for the Food Industry
The food industry makes extensive use of stainless steel (SS) products, being used for everything from cooking utensils through to work surfaces, fridges, ovens and other appliances. With high strength, ease of cleaning and renowned durability there is simply no better choice for an industry which serves customers the world over and is subject to strict sanitation requirements. Electropolishing is performed to increase the corrosion resistance of stainless steel and provide a smooth work surface free of micro-peaks and valleys. In this blog post we will be sharing insight into the electropolishing process and the main benefits it provides for the food industry.
Stainless Steel and the Food Industry
Stainless steel is a food-safe material which has proven to be the optimal choice for over a century. Not only does SS not corrode or rust, it also does not allow harmful pathogens to thrive on its surface. This makes it hygienic, durable and dependable for millions of manufacturers, restaurants, cafes and other food and drink businesses throughout the world.
Before food and beverages arrive at the supermarket or at your dining table, they must go through an extensive processing, sanitation and packaging process where hygiene is of the utmost importance. This is true at every stage of the process, which is why you will find stainless steel used in applications including:
- Agriculture – farmers utilise stainless steel for their fencing, gates, water troughs, storage silos, electrical and mechanical equipment.
- Food Processing – stainless steel is found in processing plants around the world where it is used to create hot water lines, storage tanks, transportation devices and preparation areas.
- Food Preparation – implements we use daily including cutlery (forks, knives, spoons etc.), saucepans, preparation surfaces, kitchen sinks.
- Displays – food is often presented in specially designed displays made from stainless-steel including cake stands and warmers.
- Vending machines – snacks and beverages stored inside SS dispensers and vending machines.
Why Does the Food Industry use Electropolished SS?
The food industry has strict standards for hygiene and sanitation, and this means they must specify food grade SS. The most common specification used by the industry is 304 stainless steel, which has a high nickel and chromium composition to reduce the occurrence of corrosion and rust. This grade is exceptionally high quality, durable and temperature resistant making it ideal for use at every stage of the process.
Electropolishing helps to create the smoothest possible surface, which makes for easier cleaning and much better useability for chefs and kitchen staff. The process involves four stages:
- Preparation – a solvent is used to degrease the surface and prepare it for immersion.
- Immersion – the SS sheet is placed into a bath of electrolytes at a temperature of around 40-76 degrees C.
- Electrification – using an electrical current passed through the bath, the SS sheet undergoes the electrification process.
- Dissolving – the surface of the metal is smoothed out, with any imperfections and rough edges dissolving in the electrolyte bath.
The process can take up to 20 minutes, with the end result being a beautifully smooth and even piece of SS sheet metal.
Benefits of Electropolishing
In opting for electropolished SS sheet metal, you will enjoy the following benefits:
- Enhanced corrosion resistance – it is not uncommon for embedded contaminants to sit on the surface of the metal, which can contribute to corrosion. Electropolishing removes this outer layer to further increase corrosion resistance.
- Improved Aesthetics – With fewer imperfections/contaminants, improved reflection and a beautifully smooth surface there is no denying that electropolished SS is more aesthetically appealing.
- Smoother Work Surface – By levelling the surface, the end user enjoys a smooth surface which is a joy to work on every day when preparing food.
- Easier Cleaning – With less adhesion, it is much harder for dirt and sticky foods to build up. This makes for easier cleaning and improved hygiene.
Get a Quote for Stainless Steel – Contact Mascot Steel Today
Mascot Steel are one of Sydney’s leading steel fabricators, and we welcome all enquiries. If you’re about to embark on a project, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.