Hygienic Cable and Cable Glands for the Food Industry

cherries-1517973_1280Automation within the food and beverage industry undoubtedly comes into contact with a range of liquids and chemicals on a daily basis.

Whether its strong cleaning chemicals or oils from the foods being processed, the cables connecting the machinery need to be designed and crafted to withstand these often harsh liquids.

Thankfully, there are cables that exist for this very purpose. A hygienic cable will be resistant to potentially harmful microbes and bacteria, as well as possessing a number of additional beneficial properties.

Factory contamination of food and drink products can lead to the public becoming ill, as well as expensive product recalls. Bacteria can quickly accumulate on foods in conditions which are not completely sterile, especially food products which are particularly perishable.

Some strains of bacteria, such as E. coli and Salmonella can be potentially life threatening, and can be found and spread from raw meats. If food processing machinery is not thoroughly disinfected, this bacteria has the chance to accumulate and be passed onto a number of product batches along an assembly line.

As well as being resistant to microbes, hygienic cables are typically resistant to harsh chemicals. This is essential for cabling within the food and beverage industry, as the machinery used within the factories requires extensive and regular cleaning.

Cables which are not resistant to strong chemicals can quickly become damaged, which can lead to costly halts in production, and well as the risk of a fire occurring. Strong bleaches and other cleaning solutions can degrade certain materials over time, and so a tough polyurethane sheath on cables offers a good resistance.

These cables are typically resistant to contact with both animal and vegetable oils and greases, making them much easier to clean. The Lapp OLFLEX range of hygienic cables also possess a good resistance to ammonia compounds and bio-gases.

Ammonia is one of the most common chemicals found within cleaning solutions, within both households and industrial environments. Bio-gases are produced from the breakdown of organic matter such as food waste and plants.

With the constant need for strong cleaning chemicals on the machinery within food processing, a cable which has chemical resistance is just as important as its hygienic properties.

The use of hygienic cable glands is also essential for the machinery within food industries. Cable glands attach to, and secure the end of cables to their corresponding equipment. These cable glands, like every other part of the machinery, also need to be regularly cleaned in order to avoid contamination occurring.

The traditional cable gland design features grooves which can easily gather dirt and grime, which can be a potential hazard for certain industries. A specially designed hygienic cable gland will typically consist of no gaps, outer threads and edges. This makes the regular cleaning process much easier, as well as quicker.


How Control Cables Support Industries

rubber cableWhen think of a control cable as an isolated piece of equipment, you may not immediately be able to recognise their impact within an industry setting.  However, if you consider how they support the most advanced machinery of our time, you’ll quickly come to realise just how important control cables are.

Control cables are used to ‘control’ our electronics through delivering power and data from one module or component to another. Perhaps for a simpler household item, an advanced control cable may not be as necessary, but for industry standard machinery, only the best quality will do. In robotics in particular, control cables will be housed within past moving, components which are likely to twist and bend, thousands of times a day. With this in mind, your control cable needs to be built to tolerate such movement over a prolonged period of time helping your machinery to be as productive as they possibly can.

One of the many benefits of using a cable from an industrial supplier is that they have been specifically built and tested under industrial conditions. This means that they can offer guarantees to their reliability. Industrial cables require large data and transmission capacity in order to process communications effortlessly.

No one fits all when it comes to control cables and as you know, even in similar industries can produce products that can dramatically vary from each other, whether its automotive, food and drink or otherwise . This means that you’ll require a control cable with your needs in mind.

For the food and drink industry, you may want to choose a cable that won’t break down with exposure to vegetable fats and other raw ingredients. The OLFLEX® ROBUST for example, a high resistance to such ingredients, as well as hot and cold temperatures. Retaining its flexibility under all circumstances, OLFLEX® ROBUST is an incredibly versatile solution for many.

If it’s for automation robotics, the ÖLFLEX® FD provides an ideal solution, with unbeatable flexibility to prevent cable fatigue.  Its makeup has been entirely tailored to meet the high stresses of constant movement. They feature very fine wire conductor stranding with a high rate of twist to offer additional strength at the point of bending.

For mechanical applications the ÖLFLEX® POLYURETHANE Cables offer the highest immunity to mechanical and chemical damage. Tear, tangle and hydrolysis resistant – it is the strongest control cable of its kind.


2016 Industrial Manufacturing Trends

Production RobotsIndustrial manufacturing is finally recovering from the recession that hit the UK back in 2001 and 2008. With growth comes new technology in emerging markets. The consumer and businesses in general are demanding new technology in the process of moving forward with becoming more efficient with what each provider does. Undoubtedly, technological advances are being adopted to keep up, demanding improved automation engineering and superior automation cables for flawless results.

Some of the trends within the industry for 2016 are:

Everything is Connected – The ‘internet of things’ is certainly coming into play as more connected items are coming onto the market. From communication to automotive, we see a future of everyday objects being seamlessly connected to offer more accurate results from devices. Not only in production itself, manufacturing plans are using the internet to send and receive data, improving the efficiency of production. An example of this is the Stanley Black & Decker plant in Mexico. Through implementing WiFi integrated networks, Black & Decker were able to see ‘real-time’ results of production lines. The implementation resulted in a 25% increase of overall equipment effectiveness which demonstrates how technology can improve labour orientated production.

3D Printing – Still in its very early stages of implementation, manufacturers are adopting 3D printing as a means of building product prototypes quickly as one single piece of material. In the new stages of product development the time to create a product (and each of its structured parts) has been known to be a lengthy process in the past. Now, manufacturers can build multiple product examples in a fraction of the time it would take to build moulds, source suitable materials, etc. It has proved to be a solution to manufacturers who need specialised parts. BAE Systems for example, have used 3D printing to create a critical plastic part for a regional jetliner in the past.

Robotics – Robotics are increasingly being employed to support labour workers. Particularly in the automotive industry, robots are able to carry out what might be considered too strenuous for normal labour production with intricate detail. It assists well in production that required a very high standard of quality control or during production that might impact the health and safety of workers.

Augmented Reality – As computer vision and IT becomes more intelligent, it has been harnessed to make manufacturing environment more intelligent with it. Real-time data can easily be used to make all processes more efficient. Complicated machinery is able to provide its own operational training and breakdown recovery to the user through video clips. It allows for less physical demand and intervention by the user and encourages a safer working environment.


Control Cables in the Food & Beverage Industry

Control CablesThe Food and Beverage industry requires a wide range of power and control cables which must meet specific requirements. The use of control cables within refrigerated areas and moist environments means that electrical components must be resistant to a variety of stresses such as chemical, thermal and physical. One of the most important components when accessing control cables is it’s resistant to acidic and alkaline industrial cleaning agents. This is a crucial aspect to consider due to the tough hygiene requirements.

With these necessities comes a more difficult situation when finding the correct products. Lapp has a great range of standard and specialised products which meet all the requirements of food and packaging industries. One of their biggest clients is Coca Cola, meaning their priority for the quality of product for this industry is high.

A number of cables which Lapp can provide to suit your needs come from their ranges such as ÖLFLEX® ROBUST which is their cohort of flexible control and connection cables. These control cables are ideal for applications where they would be in contact with vegetable and animal fats and also dairy products such as milk, butter, cheese or meat processing. These cables are highly resistant when exposed to these elements making them very robust and flexible.

Lapp is also heavily involved within the Robotics industry with a range of cables on offer which are specially designed for demanding technology advances. The ÖLFLEX® FD range of cables is capable of handling the stress which is often placed on conventional cables, which can go on to cause fatigue. The notably flexible qualities of this range will be able to cope with more rigorous and heavy duty operations. Lapp has dedicated time and attention to the cable construction, noting each area where stress could have a small or large effect. In addition, this range also comes complete with a range of features which includes extra chalk, textile separator tapes and a specially formulated Polyurethane sheath for hydrolysis and microbe resistance.


Rubber Cable and Cable Connectors

rubber cableAs you might expect, cable connectors are often utilised as being a means of connection between rubber cable and ports. So, why are they so commonly used for that purpose?

Many connectors are made of only the most robust materials, meaning that they have the necessary longevity and durability to withstand heavy duty applications over time. A standard cable to port connection is vulnerable to all sorts of interferences which can damage its effectiveness and even in extreme cases, break the connection altogether
General abrasion (such as the connection often being stressed because of excess movement) is possibly the greatest risk that a connection faces as this will lead to the A and B point’s connectivity being frayed and eventually useless. With a connector, its long life and value is assured.

Another reason why cable connectors are so widely desired within the industrial world is that they are highly effective when it comes to preventing weather damage. Anything electrical is at risk from exposure to water so a standard connection between a cable and a port outside will be running the risk of failure and in extreme circumstances, pose a severe health and safety hazard.

However, if you opt for a sturdy rectangular or circular connector then you have nothing to worry about. The actual connection is securely housed, essentially meaning that it’s tucked away from a harmful environment thanks to the resilient metals which compose the connector. Always look to a connector made of steel if you want the longest-lasting connector for outside use as it takes longer to rust in adverse conditions.

Human factor is also another cause for concern when it comes to the suitability of your connection in the long run. For instance, an employee spilling materials on vital connections is a real possibility in a hustling and bustling work environment but with the simple implementation of a connector, it will be afforded some coverage from accidental damage.

For more information on how rubber cable benefits from cable connections, please contact Lapp UK via phone on: 020 8758 7800 or email at: info@lapplimited.com.