Stainless steel has been in the dairy industry for more than sixty years due to the fact that it’s a smooth surface, chemical and corrosion resistant, durable, easy to clean, aesthetically pleasing and it prevents bacterial contamination.
Many products are not trusted because of problems with pollution and allergies, but stainless steel has no adverse affect on human health. Stainless steel is a stable and homogeneous alloy composed of iron, chromium and nickel and behaves neutrally in food plants. Chromium is an important protective oxide compound that makes stainless steel corrosion resistant. The corrosion resistance of stainless steel needs to be cleaned or disinfected by highly alkaline or acidic products in order to obtain hygienic standards.
The dairy industry can be divided into different segments such as milk, ice cream, fresh dairy products (cream, fresh cheeses, custards, rice pudding, etc.), dairy compounds, ripened cheeses and butter. The equipment used for each of these segments requires different grades of stainless steel such as 304 stainless steel and 316 stainless steel. 304 stainless steel plates are used for refrigerated storage tanks, pasteurizers, maturation tanks, cheese racks and other equipment. 316 stainless steel plates are used for pasteurizers, plate and tubular heat exchangers, packaging machinery, ultra filtration equipment, maturation tanks and other equipment. According to www.chemicalprocessing.com “The main difference between 304 and 316 stainless steel is that 316 contains 2%-3% molybdenum and 304 has no molybdenum. The “moly” is added to improve the corrosion resistance to chlorides (like sea water). So, while 316 stainless steel is generally considered more corrosion resistant than 304, depending on the nature of the corrosive media the corrosion rates of 304 and 316 could be similar.”
Food processing facilities not only need stainless steel for their equipment but also for their flooring. Installing slip resistant 304 stainless steel plate is a great solution for applications where oil, fat, debris and chemicals are present. Application examples would be catwalks, mezzanines, processing areas, stair treads, drain covers and many more.
Stainless steel should be utilized anywhere in the dairy industry where hygiene, improved corrosion, waste water treatment, cost reduction in cleaning and sterilization and pasteurization at high temperatures are important.