With fluctuating pressures and temperatures, food and beverage processing equipment such as chemical reactors, heat exchangers, boilers and fermenters have the inherent risk of overpressure. Furthermore, they have the added complexity of adhering to strict sanitary regulations. After decades spent serving the food and beverage industry, Fike’s expertise is unmatched in providing customized solutions for pressure relief, CIP/SIP and with the option of electropolishing and passivation.
Industrial fermenters are staples of the food and beverage industry and require precise care to ensure batches of beer, bread and cheeses are safe for consumption. Therefore, after each batch, fermenters must be cleaned and sterilized by CIP/SIP. These cleaning processes often result in very high temperatures, which inherently increases pressure within the vessel. Conversely, when temperatures are dramatically decreased, vacuum conditions are created. Ruptures discs protect against dramatic pressure fluctuations during not just CIP/SIP but also during the fermentation process. Furthermore, Fike’s line of sanitary rupture discs can be safely used within the fermentation process without fear of contamination.
In the food and beverage industry, heat exchangers are used to transfer heat between two liquids to reduce or eliminate microbials or to alter products’ temperatures before filling, drying or other processes. The substance or media within the tubes is often at a higher pressure compared to the vessel. Those tubes may be damaged over time by corrosion, erosion or vibrations, resulting in tube ruptures and therefore a build-up of pressure within the shell. Rupture discs protect against these potential hazards and may need to be compatible with both liquid and vapor media, high and low burst pressures, two-phase flow conditions and different types of holders.
Separators are used in the food and beverage industry for a variety of solid- and liquid-separating applications such as juice straining, flour production and de-lumping of icing sugar. Closed separators are at risk of overpressure due to potential blockages, processing errors and expansion from heating or exothermic reactions. Choosing the appropriate rupture disc based on media, burst pressures and burst temperatures protect separators from overpressure events. High rupture disc operating ratios and cycling capabilities equate to longer service life within separators.
Products such as oxygen, argon nitrogen and hydrogen are often stored as liquefied gases at -150° C or lower within cryogenic vessels. Not only are rupture discs recommended to quickly alleviate a rapid increase in pressure, but they may also be used in concert with thermal relief valves, spring safety valves and pilot-operated safety valves to prevent them from freezing.
Found within most food and beverage manufacturers are numerous combustible dusts, including cornstarch, sugar, flour and grain. Fike’s Combustion Test Lab can determine a dust’s explosive characteristics such as Pmax, dp/dtmax and KST. This data will be used to support the Dust Hazard Analysis (DHA) and determine the most effective hygienic explosion protection solutions designed for CIP/SIP applications and to safeguard against contamination and corrosion.
Mixers and Blenders
Mixers and blenders homogenize dissimilar materials, often times with varying particle sizes. Examples include mixes for iced tea, cake batter and curry, all of which have inherent explosibility characteristics. Mixers create friction and static build up from its high-speed rotating arms. Combined with combustible dusts, mixers possess all of the conditions for a dust explosion, and are one ignition source away from an explosion. Sanitary explosion vents equipped on the casing will provide a controlled release of pressure and resulting flames. For indoor applications, flameless vents or food-grade suppressants may be recommended.
Dust collectors are essential to the food and beverage production industry because they reduce the amount of dust build up and minimize waste. A facility’s finest dust is often found within these dust collectors, meaning a rogue spark or flame can cause a violent deflagration. Connecting pipes and ducts may act as fuses into other areas of the facility, causing secondary downstream explosions. Sanitary explosion vents are often the most cost-effective solution to protect dust collectors and are designed for CIP/SIP applications. If harmful escaping gases cannot be redirected to a safe area, chemical suppressant systems equipped with sanitary nozzles may be recommended to protect the vessel and isolate the explosion from downstream equipment.
Using centrifugal force, a cyclone separates and collects large volumes of dust at its base. If the dust is combustible, this creates a dust explosion hazard. Secondly, a deflagration from downstream or upstream equipment, such as a dust collector, may reach the cyclone’s combustible dust. Sanitary explosion vents may be placed on the top of cyclones or connecting pipes and ducts to redirect the resulting pressure and flame. Sanitary isolation valves and chemical suppression provide additional, often necessary, protection to ensure quick mitigation within the vessel from which the deflagration originated.
Often positioned upstream from cyclones and dust collectors, flash dryers remove moisture from food-based dust until particles are fine enough to rise into the air stream. The flash drying process does, however, create a combustible dust hazard, as it propels dry particles into a dust cloud. Therefore, the combustion risk is often located toward the top of the flash dryer, where sanitary explosions vents may be installed to protect against deflagrations within the flash dryer or from other connected equipment. Isolation valves and chemical suppressants also may be recommended to protect accompanying vessels from deflagrations originating within flash dryers, and vice versa.
In food and beverage manufacturing facilities, belt and chain conveyors move foods or other materials throughout the production line. Malfunctioning conveyor parts have been proven to create hot spots. These hot spots may ignite the dust or move smoldering clusters of product to other downstream combustible dust hazards. Inlet and outlet chutes, and every few meters of the conveyor, must be protected with explosion vents. Sanitary isolation valves or chemical suppression are also recommended to isolate a potential deflagration to the conveyor.
Fire Protection for Food & Beverage Manufacturing
Because food and beverage manufacturing utilizes various types of equipment, unique fire detection and suppression solutions are required to safely protect against downtime, equipment loss, and most importantly, casualties. Fike’s expertise and history within the food and beverage industry assures that we have the ideal solution for nearly any application in your facility.
Oil cookers may refer to conveyorized fryers or batch kettles that use direct or indirect heat sources, all of which are common sources of fire hazards in the food and beverage industry. Flames may occur once the oil reaches its auto-ignition point, presenting two challenges for fire suppressants: the eliminating of flames and the cooling of the oil. Water mist has become the recommended suppressant because of its cooling and non-chemical characteristics. CO2 is also a proven solution in oil cooker applications.
Aside from the obvious extreme temperatures, freezer warehouses pose unique challenges to fire detection including but not limited to temperature fluctuations from warm air entering through automatic doors or plastic curtains. CTI (Confirmed Temperature Initiation) linear heat detectors can endure extreme cold and use multi-criteria detection to eliminate false alarms from heat variances. Furthermore, CTI linear heat will not activate alarms and suppression systems from accidental damage, such as from a forklift driving over the cable. Aspirating Smoke Detection may also be recommended for many of these same challenges. Once a fire is detected, chemical agents and inert gas are ideal suppressants.
A production line within a food and beverage manufacturing facility may use a myriad of various equipment and processes. Hydraulic systems are best protected by video detection, used to quickly identify oil mist or overheated components, and CO2 is often used to suppress fires of individual components on production lines. Enclosed segments of the production line may be protected with water mist, gaseous agents or inert gas. For larger spaces, water mist may replace sprinkler systems to protect against collateral damage and downtime.
Removing dust and impurities from the system, dust collectors are an essential component of most food and beverage processing facilities. Statistically, most combustible dust-related explosions involve dust collectors due to their concentration of the smallest dust particles. The newest combustible dust standard, NFPA 652, mandates that all dust collectors are protected with fire suppression systems. Used in tandem with heat detectors, CO2 or argon systems are recommended to protect dust collectors from fire and ensuing combustible dust explosions.
Free White Paper
Dust Explosion Protection System – A Food Processing Imperative
Dust explosions are a known hazard in food and beverage manufacturing, requiring reliable explosion protection solutions but also ones that fulfill sanitary and CIP/SIP requirements. Read the following white paper to learn more about the risk of explosions in these facilities and the solutions used to mitigate disasters.