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Australian Technology Advances Industry

A new technique for manufacturing high pressure cavity plate for heat exchange applications developed by the Australian stainless steel industry increases the options available to the food processing and manufacturing sectors. 

'Laser welded cavity plate' has been developed by ASSDA member J Furphy & Sons, a Shepparton fabricator of stainless steel tanks and processing equipment, as an alternative to resistance or plug welded dimple plate used for the heating or cooling jackets on stainless steel tanks, vessels and silos.

A wide range of industries stands to benefit from the new cavity plate, from dairy, brewing, food, wine, pulp and paper, chemical, pharmaceutical, refrigeration to textiles and manufacturing.

It is designed to be used in jacketed tanks, pressure vessels, shells and heads, troughing, chutes and hoppers, immersion plates, bank assemblies, baffles, ice-making plates, water chillers and food cookers.

The method of manufacture allows design flexibility enabling it to be tailored to specific performance requirements. It can be designed to suit both the flow characteristics of the refrigerant or heating medium and the required performance objective for the equipment by programming the cavity pattern and dimensions into a CNC controlled laser welding system.

The process involves laser welding two sheets of stainless steel in their flat form and inflating to form the cavity through which the cooling or heating medium is transferred.

The laser welds are exceptionally strong and have been burst tested in excess of 13 000 kPa, with most common demand being for operating pressures between 300 and 3 000kPa.

The product is available single embossed for uses where a flat inner wall is required or double embossed for immersion where both sides of the plate are utilised to heat or chill.

It is in use in chocolate crucibles in the confectionery industry as well as in Peerless Holdings’ edible oils processing tanks. Orbis Engineering has used the cavity plate in a cooling tunnel conveyor bed and Barry Brown & Sons has utlised it in on-farm milk silos. It has also been used in various major winery projects, including Peace Wines and Jindalee Estate, for fermentation and storage vessels.

Another ASSDA member, A&G Engineering of Griffith, has specialised in cavity plate for use as a cooling plate in wine vessels for a number of
years. This product also incorporates technology unique to Australia.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 22, September 2002.

Large tube now made in Australia

The Australian construction and food processing sectors can specify stainless steel tube in large sizes with confidence in its quality and timely delivery, now that local production has commenced at a Victorian plant.

Manufacturing by an Australian firm will also make it easier for specificiers to communicate their special requirements.

Stainless Tube Mills' special purpose factory in Melbourne’s outer east is producing longitudinally welded tube in diameters up to 300mm and wall thicknesses up to 8mm – the largest seamwelded stainless steel tube available in Australia. Tube in this size range has always been imported.

The recently commissioned draw mill, designed in house by ASSDA member STM in conjunction with CSIRO, joins twelve other mills on site which produce welded tube up to 101.6mm outside diameter.

While a conventional mill uses a drive mechanism to feed the strip through the mill and produce welded tube, in the draw mill strip (1) is drawn through the mill with the forming rolls idling (2 & 3). This has the effect of producing a tube with minimal roll forming marks, as well as precise tolerances. The internal weld bead (4) is rolled to merge with the parent metal producing a smooth bore. Externally, the polished finish renders the seam all but invisible.

The smooth interior finish means tube produced on the draw mill is ideal for transfer of processing fluids, particularly food products, where the clean internal bore is mandatory.

Large diameter tube is also finding application architecturally for balustrades, barriers and structural column formers. As formers they make an attractive alternative to brick or concrete,
delivering a superlative appearance and impressive structural strength, which can be further bolstered by filling with concrete. STM used 300mm columns in T304 alloy to dramatically enhance its own office façade (left).

The draw mill has only been in operation commercially for a short time, however STM reports there has already been considerable demand. The firm's future plans include production of heavy walled large diameter sectional tubes for architectural applications.

This article featured in Australian Stainless Issue 21 - June 2002.

New winery development

 A major new development project at the Jindalee Winery at Moorabool near Geelong utilises over 100 tonnes of grade 304 2B finish stainless steel.

Shepparton’s J Furphy & Sons fabricated 95 wine storage and fermentation tanks, ranging in size from 75,000 to 1,200 litres.

The new tanks provide almost three million litres of temperature-controlled storage capacity for grapes processed from the adjoining vineyard and a much larger vineyard which Jindalee’s owners, Vince and David Littore, operate in the Murray Darling region near Mildura.

Three years ago the Littore Brothers acquired the former Idyll Vineyard and winery at Geelong which they are now using as the production centre for their wines produced under the Jindalee and Fettlers Rest labels for both local and export markets.

In addition to the tankage, most of which features the new Furphy Laser Welded Dimple Plate design which provides the cooling jackets to the tanks for circulation of refrigerants, Furphy’s have also completed more than 350 lineal metres of galvanised walkway and tank access systems.

Jindalee’s winemaker Scott Ireland describes the project as a state of the art winery facility designed to produce wines which will appeal to the most discerning palates as well as capitalising on and growing the export market success already achieved under the Jindalee label.

A $1 million bottling hall and packaging facility will be added providing a fully integrated facility.

This article featured in Australian Stainless Issue 21 - June 2002.


Posted 1 July 2003

John Hodgkinson is mad about hams! The managing director of ASSDA member Smo-King Ovens really loves his products and is passionate about helping butchers generate more business through their use.

You may not have noticed these stainless steel ovens that are an important element of nearly every quality butcher shop in Australia. Just as you can tell a good patisserie by their éclairs, you can tell a good butcher by their smoked hams!

Of 304 stainless steel construction, Smo-King ovens are used extensively for smoking and cooking hams, bacon, roast meats, poultry, fish and a wide range of smallgoods. Cakes and pastries can also be made in one oven which can operate at temperatures high enough to allow baking.

“The 304 stainless steel ensures that the ovens are corrosion and stain resistant”, says Hodgkinson. “It also means they are very durable, easy to clean and many health and food safety authorities insist that stainless steel is used in all food processing applications if the equipment comes into contact with the food as it does in a smoke oven – plus it fulfills our requirement for high quality while still providing acceptable cost.

“I’ve been longing to make my own smoked products”, says Wally Dafter. Dafter’s Quality Meats is located in Charmhaven on the NSW Central Coast. “We have one Smo-King oven which operates at least four days a week and currently we produce 10 different types of smoked goods”, he says.

“We reckon our smoked foods are really good”, enthuses Dafter who is planning to enter them in the 2004 Royal Easter Show.

John Hodgkinson believes Smo-King ovens are about 70%-80% of the price of European ovens with similar features. “These ovens definitely allow our customers to add value to their products and their business”, says Hodgkinson.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 25, July 2003.


Posted 1 July 2003

Consumers expect processed foods to be tasty and nutritious, affordable and safe. To meet these expectations, food contact equipment has to be hygienic and productive.

A manufacturer’s wish list for its food processing components might read like this:

>    durable, with easy release and easy-to-clean surface
>    inert, non-toxic and non-contaminating
>    corrosion-resistant and non-degrading
>    suited to continuous, in-line sanitation and cleaning
>    impervious and non-absorbent to food products, odours, stains and colourings
>    economical, reliable and safe over its entire working life
>    temperature versatile and highly conductive, eg from cooking to cryogenic temperatures
>    smooth, seamless, one-piece construction
>    removable and replaceable
>    repairable/maintainable by existing technologies.

At first sight this seems too much to ask of any single product, but stainless steel conveyor belts fit the bill.

Unique Belting for the Food Industry
Continuous carbon steel belts were introduced into US and European bakeries in the 1920s and are today used primarily for processing baked goods. ASSDA member Sandvik launched a stainless steel belt in 1931 to withstand wet or corrosive conditions in the food and chemical industries.

The product found a foothold in the market and increasingly since the 1960s, the stainless steel belt has moved from being a simple food conveying medium to a processing platform. Now ranging in width from 200mm up to several metres and in solid or perforated forms, stainless belts are used in cooling (chilling, freezing, pastillating, freeze drying), heating (drying, roasting, blanching, steaming) and mass transfer (dehydrating, aeration, dewatering) for value added processing of foods. Stainless provides superb temperature versatility, from -200ºC (in cryo-freezing belt tunnels) up to +300ºC (high-temperature cooking tunnels). It can be continuously sanitised during operation using zoned washing boxes fitted to the lower strand of the belt.

The smooth, continuous stainless belt is also versatile in the types of food product it can convey and process – powdery, granular, fragile, bacterially-sensitive, sticky, viscous, sharp, pasty, slurry, runny, chunky, awkward, hot, oily … you name it, chances are it can be handled by the stainless belt. Accordingly, the stainless belt has found application over wide areas of wet food processing – for dairy, confectionary, meats, seafoods, pet foods, beverages, snack foods, frozen foods, fruit, vegetables and nuts.

Quality stainless belts for the food industry are solid, continuous, smooth and seamless and free of links, hinges, pins, weaves or anything that could trap food residues, dirt and bacteria.

Textured Stainless Brings Increased Efficiency

Case Study 1 - GP Graders
Melbourne-based GP Graders has captured the attention of fresh fruit packers around the world with its innovative grading and packing lines which utilize textured stainless by ASSDA member Rimex Metals.

Its machines, exported to the US, Chile, Switzerland, Norway, Turkey and Spain, are predominantly fabricated from stainless steel sheet and square tube, incorporating textured stainless steel sheet.

Rimex textured 6WL is used under flat conveyor belts and in ‘dead’ areas to reduce friction (wet belt adhesion) and eliminate product build up. The increased rigidity has enabled the company to reduce sheet thickness and fabrication time, which previously required labor-intensive friction reduction techniques. The end result is a lighter and more cost effective product.

GP Graders was established in 1963 to design and manufacture grading and packing equipment for the cherry, pome fruit, citrus, stone fruit and mango industries.

Case Study 2 - Tripax Engineering
Melbourne-based Tripax Engineering has been a major supplier of industrial food processing machinery in Australia for over 30 years, servicing the fresh vegetable, fruit, salad, potato, cheese, cereal/snack food, and frozen food industries and more.

Its diverse client profile ranges from large multinationals to small vegetable growers, and current export markets include the UK, New Zealand, South Africa, and Denmark.

The majority of equipment is purpose designed and manufactured. During the design process, special attention is paid to matching the type of stainless to the product type, whether sticky, wet, powdery, warm and so on. Rimex textured 6WL pattern is often selected for its low adhesion which reduces the chance of product build-up. It also provides extra strength and rigidity in vibratory conveyor equipment.

From washing equipment for the salad industry, to cheese shredders, abrasive peelers and cutting equipment, all Tripax equipment is made to food industry standards and incorporates high-grade stainless steel, food grade plastics and ancillary parts.

Serving the Australian Food Industry
The multiple benefits of stainless belt technology have assisted the development of new food products and will doubtless continue to do so.

As well as making the stainless belts, Sandvik Process Systems also designs, builds and services complete steel belt equipment. In parallel, within Australia, services in stainless steel belt technologies are available from Process Systems Services (PSS) in Sydney and Industrial Marketing Services in Melbourne, with the former having design, light fabrication and maintenance capabilities. Rimex Metals textured product is distributed by ASSDA member Fagersta Steels.

Words by Russell Jackson and Neil Lyons.

Image on left courtesy of Sandvik Steel.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 25, July 2003.

Ingenious Design Serves Patrons Well

Lightweight stainless steel construction has allowed the proprietor of a Tasmanian cafe to expand operations without building new brick and mortar premises.

Page’s of the Mall is a stainless steel satellite to an existing cafe located in the busy Launceston Mall. Custom built for the site, it has proved popular and profitable since opening shortly before Christmas 2002.

The client, Mark Page, approached Launceston fabricator FAME Foley Industries with a particular brief: to construct a portable cafe catering to both take-away and sit-down trade which met standard refrigeration, food preparation and hygiene requirements. The unit had to conform to local Council guidelines and match the awnings recently installed in the Mall.

PACK UP AND MOVE

The challenge was to produce a design measuring just 2m high by 1.9m wide and 5.5m long to be wheeled into Page’s main shop at night.

The design evolved over the course of a year with input from a Launceston Council architect and took two months to build. The unit unpacks to a height of 2.5m when the roof is unfolded forming wing-like canopies above the serving areas, and the sides open out to 2.8m in width.

Concealed wheels at one end allow the unit to be moved using an electric pallet lifter. It is positioned over a pit with access via a hatch to water, power and drainage.

A seating area is enclosed by stainless steel barriers clad with laminex signs arranged in a zig zag shape for strength. These are also completely portable and have lockable castors.

Inside the cafe, which has garnered the nickname ‘coffee tram’, stainless steel pie heaters, fridges and washing facilities are built in as integral parts of the unit. Fully enclosed stainless steel trolleys are used to transport supplies from the main cafe.

PRACTICAL AND ECONOMICAL

Stainless steel was chosen for the project both for its clean style and for its appropriateness to the design and usage. The construction is simultaneously lightweight and strong, allowing it to be wheeled around daily and to withstand the mall traffic. Hygiene is readily maintained with easy to clean food preparation surfaces.

Most of the unit, including framework, walls, benches and supports are made from grade 304 stainless while grade 316 is used for the roof as it is exposed to the weather. The fridges, part of Foley’s range of kitchen and bathroom ware, are made from grade 430. Stainless steel was supplied by ASSDA member Atlas Steels.

Costs compare favourably with erecting a permanent building, at around $100,000 to construct and fit out, and the concept can be adapted to suit other locations.

The article featured in Australian Stainless Issue 24 - March 2003

Specifying Stainless for Suncorp Stadium

PDT Architects, Brisbane in association with HOK Sport, Venue and Event designed and documented the $280m Suncorp Stadium for the Queensland Government.

"It is the top grade material and that's what we wanted for the stadium...

When you take that the client is the people of Queensland, they expect the best to go into the stadium.

If they're paying $280 million for a stadium they want the thing to last and stainless will give you that longevity."

 

Director, John Brown of PDT Architects described the pros and cons of specifying stainless steel for the redevelopment of Lang Park (Suncorp Stadium).

Ticket Counters
When PDT Architects expressed concerns by Ticketek staff that stainless steel ticket counters would be too glary, ASSDA provided the necessary technical assistance required and prevented a switch to timber material.

JB: The client talked about changing from stainless to timber because Ticketek and others had commented that stainless steel would be too glary.

We found that we could use a brushed finish which wouldn’t throw up too much glare and we also did some sun shade diagrams and all sorts of diagrams to make sure the sun wasn’t hitting the ticket counters.

Full Stainless: Commercial Kitchens
JB: It was always going to be stainless steel, mainly because of the health reasons ... but also for cleaniness and ease of cleaning.

All the commercial kitchens at the stadium have them. All the finishing kitchens, all the food outlets, beverage and of course the main kitchen. All the food is prepared in that kitchen and taken up through the service lifts into the finishing kitchens, warming kitchens and then out into the public.

Stainless Wire Rope for Visibility
PDT Architects has recommended replacing the stadium’s flat bar rails with stainless steel wire rope to improve visibility.

JB: We've been able to convince the State Government code people that we can take a lot of the galvanising rails out and put in stainless steel wire rope which would give a better view.

We’ve put in a report to the Government whereby we can cut out a lot of these flat bars and put in stainless steel wire rope through them which will just open the whole place up.

Stadium Stainless Statistics
ASSDA member Fagersta supplied 60 tonnes of stainless steel coil of various widths and thicknesses to ASSDA member Tom Stoddart. A further 10 tonnes of stainless steel was supplied to Eziform for gutters and box gutters.

Tom Stoddart produced works at a cost of $11 million and approximately 50,000 man hours including full kitchen and bar fitouts, refrigeration units, cash register stations balustrading and some food service equipment.

Fagersta was also the main supplier of stainless steel for Colonial Stadium in Melbourne and Telstra Stadium in Sydney.

The Post Game Wrap-Up
JB: Firstly, it satisfied us as far as an architectural feature went, it satisfied us as far as life cycle went and most certainly it then satisfied us as far as safety issues went.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 26, November 2003.

Restoring Stainless

Brewed for Efficiency

When Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) announced plans last year to expand production capacity at the Yatala site in Queensland, the company considered both purchase of new stainless tankage as well as transfer of tanks from its Sydney brewery and re-use of second hand tanks in its inventory.

 Six such vessels had been stored by CUB on leased land in the City of Redcliffe, unsealed and exposed to the weather.

Constructed in 321 stainless, the 3 x 12 metre tanks were out of service for the last ten years and placed in the yard for future use.

The six beer storage tanks are part of a series of 16 tanks built in 1966, that have proven the test of time and reinforced the material's durability and returned back to service 'as good as new'.

ASSDA member, D & R Stainless was approached to upgrade the six 1,000 hectalitre (hl) vessels to the new fittings with design verification and tested to meet AS 1220 Standard.

The Brisbane-based fabricator modified, checked and tested the beer storage tanks so as to meet CUB's exacting standards for beer production which would include popular CUB brands such as VB, Fosters Lager, Carlton Midstrength and Crown Lager, allowing them to be used as part of the ongoing expansion.

Work on the six tanks involved cleaning down and refurbishing with new stainless steel tubes and fittings supplied by Matrix Process Solutions.

The six tanks were taken to D & R Stainless and pumped with 4,000 litres of water constantly through the system and back through the CIP spray balls so that all of the tank area was wet to see if there was any carbon steel pick up.

All tanks were checked thoroughly for any rust spots and repolished where required. New nozzles were also installed and internally polished.

D & R Stainless Manager, Ray Powell was initially concerned that the carbon steel supporting rings around the vessel would bleed through onto the stainless as there were no compensating plates.

"We only had one tank [the first tank] that had a problem and that was laminating in the heat effected zones. And that was only on one tank on the bottom of the seams, so we came back in and dye checked, found the problems, ground back and repaired," Mr Powell said.

"The quality of the tank is in good condition. The beauty of stainless is that if it's looked after it will last forever and proof's in the pudding, they're coming up nearly 40 years old - they've certainly proved the test of time," he said.

The expansion of CUB's Yatala facility follows an announcement in April last year of the closure of the Kent Brewery in NSW by February 2005.

This operational review will see the relocation of over 50 beer fermentation and storage tanks from Sydney, a brand new twin stream brewhouse and new filtration equipment to the Queensland facility, which is CUB's most efficient brewery. Total project cost is around $170 million.

As a result of the review, the Yatala facility will double its capacity from 230 million litres of beer a year to over 500 million litres.

Despite being out of service for more than a decade, the excellent condition of the tanks ensures that stainless steel has significantly contributed to product quality and cost efficiency for Carlton & United Breweries long into the future.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 27, February 2004.

Australian Stainless Products

Built on Reputation

Alistair Patterson has a flair for the food and beverage industry that borders on obsession. As the sole proprietor for ASSDA Accredited Fabricator, Australian Stainless Products, Patterson's reputation within the industry means when projects are on, he is onto it!

Australian Stainless Products are custom manufacturers of quality stainless steel food, beverage and pharmaceutical process products and equipment.

Established more than 20 years ago, Australian Stainless Products started out building basic dairy machinery, primarily small repairs and maintenance of equipment for a few of the local food processing equipment plants.

“Back then the business was basically building milking machinery. We did small repairs and maintenance and equipment for a few of the local food processing plants in the area.”

Now, the Melbourne-based company manufactures original equipment from large tanks, vessels and hoppers including process equipment up to 50,000 litre capacity.

Working with a small but loyal client base, Patterson has worked with some engineering consultants such as dairy equipment supplier DeLeval for more than a decade.

“It's quite a small industry. We operate by word of mouth and references of jobs. It takes a long time to build, grow and develop a business within this industry,” said Patterson.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 35, Autumn 2006.

Safe Disposal with Simcraft Stainless Steel Products

As a general rule, the waste management method adopted for disposing of radioactive substances is critical. The main method of disposal is the dilution and dispersion of radioactive wastes using stainless steel equipment such as isotope flushing sinks

 

Last year, the University of Western Australia's School of Biomedical, Biomolecular and Chemical Sciences moved into the new $65M Molecular and Chemical Sciences building with state-of-the-art laboratories and equipment.

Generally, the materials used in biological sciences research work contain low radiotoxicity substances, however, full precautions are taken to ensure safe handling.

As part of the School of Biomedical, Biomolecular and Chemical Sciences upgrade, many of the laboratories were fitted with a number of isotope sinks and flushing isotope sinks fabricated by ASSDA Accredited Fabricator, Simcraft Products.

Isotope flushing sinks are designed to prevent splashing and to allow for the gradual flow of waste liquid into a stream of waters as it runs to waste.

Simcraft Products fabricates the sinks in 1.2mm grade 316 stainless steel with satin finish to the Australian Standard, AS2243.4.

Isotope flushing sinks feature an absolutely splash free flush action with a non-turbulent continuous curtain of water for a total surface wash and can also be custom built for hospitals, medical centres and laboratories.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 35, Autumn 2006.

Manufacturing malt with stainless steel

Australians really enjoy a good beer - at home barbeques, parties, music concerts, sporting events - in fact, everywhere!

World beer consumption is increasing by more than two per cent a year, a trend that is set to continue. There is an important relationship with beer consumption and demand for its main and critical ingredient - malt.

Malting is the partial germination and kilning of a grain, usually barley. Malt gives varying colour, flavour and body to beer depending on the style of malt being used.

Australia is a key player in the world market representing about 32 per cent of world trade in malting barley and 12% of the world malt trade.

Joe White Maltings, an ABB Grain Ltd company, is Australia's largest malt producer with eight malting plants Australia-wide with a capacity to produce 500,000 tonnes annually.

An expansion at the company's Perth plant in May 2006 saw production capacity more than double from 90,000 tonnes to 200,000 tonnes.

ASSDA member, Stirlings Australia sourced more than 155 tonnes of grade 304 stainless steel 2B finish from ASSDA Major Sponsor, Outokumpu Stainless for the expansion. As the largest malting facility in the southern hemisphere, the Perth plant features stainless steel vessels throughout with cylindrico-conical steep vessels, circular germination vessels, a separate circular kiln, full automation and in-place cleaning.

ASSDA member, Stirlings Australia sourced more than 155 tonnes of grade 304 stainless steel with 2B finish from ASSDA Major Sponsor, Outokumpu Stainless for the expansion. Stirlings Australia also used its hi-definition plasma cutting service for processing of material ranging from 2mm to 20mm thick sheets by 1200,1500 and 2000mm wide plates.

The Perth-based global metals distributor also supplied more than $150,000 worth of stainless steel to Built Environs subcontractors for the fabrication of the project.

Press Construction Services were supplied with various grade 304 stainless steel pipe, plate, angle and flats including processing of all plate material for the fabrication of six steep vessels.

ASSDA member, Austline Fabrication of the Foodline Group of Companies was supplied various grade 304 stainless steel sheet, plate and angle for the fabrication of fan ducts and kiln hoods.

From this expansion, Joe White Maltings are able to meet increased demand from producers of most Australian beers and for the major brewers throughout Asia.

This article featured in Australian Stainless Issue 36, Winter 2006.

Food Specification Improves Fabrication Practices

Hygiene and the 'cleanability' of equipment used in the production of food are paramount. The widespread use of stainless steel equipment in the food industry goes some way towards ensuring these criteria are met - but the assurances provided by stainless steel are only as good as the fabrication quality of the equipment.

Following a presentation at ASSDA’s annual conference in 2003 on the quality of food fabrications, particularly in the dairy industry, it became apparent that fabrication specifications, if they existed, were often inadequate and inconsistent.

As a result, ASSDA launched a co-operative venture, working closely with many fabricators involved in the food industry, to create the recently released "ASSDA Food Specification: Fabrication and Installation of Stainless Steel Process Plant and Equipment in the Food and Beverage Industries".

The title may be complex, but the intention is simple: used in conjunction with ASSDA's Accredited Fabricator Scheme, it will standardise fabrication practices in Australia and improve efficiency and reliability by raising the standard of quality delivered.

ASSDA's Food Spec is not intended to replace accepted national and international standards. Instead, it reflects their requirements in the design and fabrication process specifically for food and beverage plant. The specification is intended as a step forward from the more generic advice offered by the well-known "Blue Book", published ASSDA's sister organisation NZSSDA.

The Food Spec supplements the purchaser's specification and contract, with the purchaser's performance criteria and the supplier's design being the default conditions. There are prescriptive sections, such as those relating to spacing for access or acceptable levels of heat tint. However, best practice is flagged with the expectation that a contrary decision must be well supported. The consistent theme throughout is the delivery of cleanable surfaces in a hygienic environment.

The specification can be broken into four sections:

  1. Scope, definitions, interpretation, document hierarchy and suppliers systems required.
  2. Design requirements with both general rules and specific items for process equipment, process piping and other piping;
  3. Fabrication requirements for:
    • overall necessities of grade, materials care, welding and finishing procedures;
    • process vessel fabrication, whether by the supplier or others;
    • the handling, welding and finishing of process tubing at ambient or elevated pressure; and
    • the fabrication of non-product contact pipework at low or high pressures.
  4. Practicalities such as transport, installation, commissioning and insurance.

The specification includes two appendices that list relevant standards and a discussion on the pros and cons of autogenous and filler metal sue in welding of tubing.

There is no doubt that ASSDA's Food Specification fills a void in the food industry. It is now up to operators in the industry to use it to improve practices in both their own businesses and the industry as a whole.

Copies of the specification are available from the ASSDA office on (07) 3220 0722. Details of the complementary Accredited Fabricator Scheme are available from www.assda.asn.au

This articles was written bu ASSDA's technical advisor, Graham Sussex.

The ASSDA Food Specification has drawn on the work of many operators in the industry and their assistance in time and documents is gratefully acknowledged.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 37, Spring 2006.

Quality Fabrication Keeps the Meat Rolling

Loss in production due to installation of new equipment is always undesirable, which is why an upgrade on the scale of Australia Meat Holdings’ recent boning room expansion at Aubigny (west of Toowoomba, Qld) was even more remarkable.

 

The project, managed by Wiley & Co, more than doubled the size of AMH’s existing boning room, improved work place ergonomics and provided for future growth – all without interruption to production.

The expansion incorporated more than $4 million worth or 100 tonnes of stainless steel, around half of which was fabricated by ASSDA Accredited Fabricator G & B Stainless from Crestmead, Qld.

G & B Stainless director John van Koeverden said their company’s work on the project involved 20 to 30 people in their workshop and eight people on site for around 5 months.

The company fabricated and installed the majority of conveyor equipment, including the product conveyors, empty carton conveyors and packed carton conveyors.

Mr van Koeverden said mainly 304 and some 316 stainless was used for the double and triple tier conveyors.

“One of the unique features of the job was the two 60 metre long boning conveyors and integral slicing tables, which we designed specifically for this application,” he said.

“The tables incorporate over 100 stations and feature pneumatic lifts to raise the tables up to 90 degrees for ease of cleaning.”

G & B Stainless used a glass bead blast finish over most of the stainless steel, primarily to remove weld stain and further enhance the hygiene features of stainless steel.

Wiley & Co project engineer Scott Hebbard said the fact that G & B Stainless was ASSDA Accredited played a role in their selection to fabricate the majority of the stainless steel equipment in the new boning room.

Four other fabricators shared the remainder of the work, including the fully enclosed walkways and the conveyors up to and taking away from the vacuum packing equipment.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 37, Spring 2006.

Mrs Crocket's Stainless Kitchen

Twelve months after the design and installation of a unique cabbage processing system in Melbourne, the importance of quality stainless steel fabrication has never been clearer.

 

ASSDA Accredited fabricator Bridgeman Stainless Solutions (Brendale, Queensland) was commissioned to design the unique facility at Mrs Crocket's Kitchens, which was completed in October 2005.

The $500,000 project incorporated various plate, sheet, pipe and RHS stainless in grades 304 and 316, and was specified to reduce the risk of contamination in the handling processes for all coleslaws, pastas and food products.

Bridgeman's Managing Director Len Webb said there was previously no system available to perform the process that Crocket's required.

"We engineered and designed the equipment with input from the Crocket's engineer. Always at the forefront of our minds was that the prevention of food contamination is paramount in commercial food preparation areas."

The design of the cabbage line was significant and a huge improvement to the current system set up at the head office site in Queensland. The new design incorporated all processes: tipping, coring, washing, dicing, hopper and outfeed, all in a compact line that now has significantly less labour attributed to it.

The stainless itself was rolled, formed, bent, welded, sanded and polished to meet food grade requirements. Mrs Crocket's Kitchens Maintenance Manager Mark McGauley says stainless was specified because it is easy to clean and maintain.

"We know that the contact area and machinery is clean so this ensures any piece of food that comes into contact with these areas is safe."

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 38, Summer 2006.

445M2: A New Generation Stainless Steel (Part 2)

This article is the second in a series showcasing the uses of 445M2 stainless steel. Read Part 1. Read Part 3.

The use of stainless steel plant and equipment in the food industry continues to prove its worth as an increasing number of processors adopt its use in line with the dedication and obligation to food quality and safety.

Whilst stainless steel grades 316 and 304 offer an environment of easy maintenance and cleaning, 445M2 stainless steel goes one step further.

445M2 panels have been supplied to Bertocchi Smallgoods by ASSDA Major Sponsor Austral Wright Metals, following a four-month trial of all three grades of stainless steel.

Bertocchi, a Melbourne-based company producing hams, bacon, salamis and other specialised continental smallgoods, sought an alternative to their existing painted steel linings after they discovered the life of the linings was too short for their high cleaning standards.

The walls and ceiling of the factory are regularly cleaned in line with a guarantee of the highest quality health and safety standards, together with absolute traceability of every unit of product.

This is where stainless steel stepped in.  The hardness and smoothness of stainless steel enables it to resist the adhesion of soils and bio-films, and the excellent corrosion resistance allows it to be easily cleaned and sanitised. Indeed, laboratory tests prove stainless steel is significantly more hygienic than other materials, even when used for food contact surfaces. Moreover, the taste and colour of food products are not affected by stainless steels.

After four months of trialing panels of stainless steel grades 304, 316 and 445M2, Bertocchi Smallgoods chose the new generation ferritic grade 445M2 to line the factory – ceilings and walls. With superior corrosion resistance to grade 316, 445M2 resists the powerful cleaning agents used to keep the factory clean, as well as the hot, humid and salty atmosphere around the brine lines.

So far, Bertocchi has installed 10 tonnes of 445M2 0.7 x 1219 mm sheet with a 2B finish.  The result?  A clean, bright factory that’s easy to keep that way.  And Bertocchi intends to keep going until the entire factory is lined with 445M2.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 38, Summer 2006.

A Great Aussie Tradition Makes its Way

For those who love to indulge in a life of sun, surf and sand the idea of placing a barbeque in such rust-promising environments is not often an option as their longevity is compromised.

But Gold Coast company Southern Stainless has bridged the gap between a nautical lifestyle and the great Aussie tradition by manufacturing barbeques in stainless steel.

ASSDA member Southern Stainless typically specialises in the manufacture of stainless steel products including wine storage and fermentation tanks and marine fitouts, but supplying stainless steel barbeques, boat mounting systems and accessories to the general public, wholesalers, retailers and building industry has proven to be one of their fastest growth areas.

The barbeques are made from 316  grade stainless steel, with a  2205 duplex grade stainless steel plate, which is more corrosion resistant and easier to clean.

The barbeques are fully welded to enhance strength and use an electropolished finish to aid in corrosion resistance and provide a durable surface.

Southern Stainless Managing Director Phillip Brown says the barbeques can be designed to suit customer requirements and are 100% Australian owned and made.

“Chinese manufacturers retail theirs slighty under our price,” Phillip says.  “A certain percentage of the market will always go for the cheaper alternative, but when consumers are looking for quality, they tend to stick with locally-made products.”

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 38, Summer 2006.

Specifying Quality

Specifying for industrial-size cooking kettles requires close attention to heating processes, product carried and operating temperature.

ASSDA Accredited Inox Fabrications Australia design and manufacture steam jacketed cooking kettles from 250L to 2000L capacity.

The kettles’ heat-up time is effective through design of the lower hemispherical shell which is constructed from SAF2205 providing increased longevity for use with steam and is designed in accordance
with the Pressure Vessel Code AS1210.

All food contact surfaces are grade 316 and are smooth and crevice free to avoid corrosion. Non-product contact surfaces are grade 304.

A grade 316 horizontal scraped surface agitator ensures even distribution of heat throughout the product and reduces ’burn-on’.

The horizontal agitator also provides good mixing, particularly with products containing particulates. The scraper blades are made from food grade engineered plastic which is capable of withstanding high temperatures.

When selecting correct material usage, careful consideration must be given to the environment in which the equipment is to be used: the type of product and if it contains corrosive elements, the operating temperature and the heating process to ensure success of the final product. Stainless steel meets these requirements.

This article featured in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 45, Summer 2009.

Safe, Hygienic and of Little Concern to People with Nickel Sensitivity


Posted 31st July 1993

Over the past few years stainless steel cookware has undergone scrutiny to determine its safety as a product for use by people with nickel contact dermatitis and it has been shown to have no ill effect.

Early in 1993 Mr G. Norman Flint visited Australia and described current thinking in Europe concerning the use of stainless steel cookware by nickel sensitised people. Mr Flint is a consultant to the Nickel Development Institute based in the United Kingdom and is responsible for presenting nickel's case in regulatory developments of the European Community.

Mr Flint held meetings attended by manufacturers and health workers and presented conclusions of recent research indicating that pick-up of nickel from stainless steel utensils in domestic cooking operations was of no significance in relation to the naturally occurring level of nickel in the uncooked food. This effectively deems the cookware safe for use by sensitised people.

About 10-15% of women and 1 -2% of men are sensitised to nickel and, on close and prolonged skin contact with nickel, some nickel alloys and solutions of nickel salts, suffer from nickel contact dermatitis. Sensitisation requires a significant initial exposure to nickel such as can occur following the insertion of nickel plated earrings after ear piercing when corrosion of the nickel plating may expose the damaged skin to soluble nickel compounds during healing (which explains the higher rate for women).

The incidence of sensitisation has led to a ban on the use of nickel plated "keepers" in Sweden and a proposal for regulations in the European Community to ban nickel containing studs and earrings from the piercing procedure. The proposal also seeks to restrict the release of nickel from alloys used in articles in close and prolonged contact with the skin such as necklaces, bracelets, watch straps etc. to ~0.5J.lg Ni/cm2/week and in coated products to the same amount for a period of three years.

Mr Flint explained that some food stuffs are considerably higher in nickel than others and that avoiding these foods can greatly reduce the intake of nickel for sensitised people. In the light of some reports that dermatologists were concerned that food cooked in stainless steel vessels could exacerbate dermatitis in some cases of nickel sensitisation, research has been undertaken at Bonn University and the BNF/ Fulmer Research Laboratory over the past two years. The research used natural foodstuffs (particularly those high in oxalic acid and salt and likely to create an environment where nickel corrosion from the steel might occur during preparation) and concluded that pick-up of nickel from stainless steel utensils in domestic cooking operations was of no significance in relation to the naturally occurring level of nickel in the uncooked food.

Mr Flint concluded that although in some cases nickel contact dermatitis may be exacerbated by a high nickel diet, many dermatologists in Europe believe that the nickel consumed must exceed about five times that of the average daily diet before any significant effect is observed. Cooking in stainless steel cook-ware will not produce a significant increase in the amount of nickel consumed over that which exists in the food already.

  • The average daily intake of nickel is around 200 micrograms (from 2kg of food) per day in the United Kingdom.
  • Cocoa, cashew nuts, soya beans and oat flakes have nickel contents well above average (cashew nuts have 50 times the average).
  • Nickel Development Institute sponsored tests revealed:
    a) nickel pick-up, even in the most extreme case (rhubarb in a new utensil) is not significant.
    b) pick-up diminishes rapidly below detectable levels with repeated use of any utensil.

This article feature in Australian Stainless magazine - Issue 1, July 1993.

What's cooking?

Bruce Harding is not the first person to be frustrated by rusty cast iron hotplates and grills on his barbecue – the difference is that he did something about it.

bbqDrawing on more than 25 years experience in the stainless steel industry, Mr Harding and his team at Equipment Tech Pty Ltd have developed a range of stainless steel hotplates, grills and baking dishes (sold under the name of Topnotch) that can be retro-fitted to almost any barbecue.

The company uses austenitic T304 and ferritic stainless steels, which are mostly supplied by ASSDA members Sandvik and Atlas Specialty Metals.

Mr Harding said these stainless steel grades played an important role in addressing the design challenges, including the ability to expand and contract under heat.

“The grades we have selected really work together with our design to prevent food sticking to the hotplates and grills,” Mr Harding said.

Laser cutting and a specially developed electropolishing procedure are used to fabricate the products.

Equipment Tech has produced over 100,000 Topnotch stainless steel cooking surfaces since launching the product commercially 5 years ago.

This article featured in Australian Stainless Issue 41.

Hygiene a priority for food production
Hygiene is a top priority at a facility which processes more than 40,000 tonnes of chicken a day, so it is not hard to imagine the scale of stainless steel fabrication needed to meet that expectation.

drainASSDA member and Accredited Fabricator Stainless Metal Craft has recently completed work on the design and fabrication of stainless steel equipment for Inghams Enterprises’ processing plant at Edinburgh Park, north of Adelaide, and hatchery at Monarto, south of Adelaide.

The projects incorporate numerous custom-designed installations, including a series of 300mm wide channelled drainage at the processing plant in runs of 60m that will withstand the weight of forklifts, and slot drains with integrated sumps (Figure 1) at the hatchery that will tolerate extremely harsh cleaning compounds.

Stainless Metal Craft General Manager Graeme Bunt said the slot drains, in particular, were a specialised project requiring innovative tool work, because of the size and depth required.

He said the slot drains were fabricated at their facility at Emu Plains, NSW, then shipped to Adelaide in 8m lengths where they were site welded to form continuous drains of 44m.

Mr Bunt said grades 304 and 316 were both used at the facilities, depending on the application.

“For most of the general usage areas, such as laundry chutes, bump rails, hand rails, hands-free wash stations, walk-through showers and chequer plate platforms and stairs, we were able to use 304,” Mr Bunt said.

“But in more specialised areas or where harsh chemicals may be used, such as slot drains, some clean points, freezer coving, boot washers and fire hose reel cabinets, we had to use 316 to ensure the material would withstand the harsh environment.”

Mr Bunt said freezer coving (a hygiene requirement to prevent food from being caught where the wall meets the floor) is usually made from epoxy-coated concrete, but there was concern this would wear down with ongoing snap freezing of the chickens. Instead, about 180m of 3mm grade 316 were used.

Strict regulations within the food industry also determined the need for grade 316 stainless steel fire hose reel cabinets.

Mr Bunt said most of the stainless steel was supplied by ASSDA members Atlas Specialty Metals and Midway Metals. The processing plant was handed over to Inghams at the end of September and the hatchery will also be handed over this year.

STAINLESS STEEL STATISTICS

Further Processing Plant
•    55 hands-free wash stations
•    80 clean points
•    180 metres of freezer coving
•    12 boot washers
•    18 fire hose reel cabinets
•    300mm wide channelled drainage in runs of 60 metres – strong enough to withstand weight of forklifts

Hatchery
•    495 metres of slot drains
•    10 hands-free wash stations
•    800 metres of Schedule 40 pipe bump rails
•    45 clean points
•    7.7 square metre egg shell hopper

This article featured in Australian Stainless Issue 41