Applications That Require Linear Actuation
These are some of the most common food and beverage process operations that use linear actuation.
Filling. Filling applications typically require faster machine operation in hygienic environments. In addition, equipment must provide highly accurate fill control while adapting to varying bottle heights to reduce changeover time. This can include both volumetric and piston operation. Bottles, cups, bags and containers are some common examples of items to be filled.
Cutting and Slicing, Chopping, Mixing and Extruding. These operations are fundamental for food processing equipment operations. In addition, they require a high degree of precision, flexibility and safety. Hygienic factors play an increased role here because the equipment is in much closer proximity to the food or beverage being processed. Additional types of processing operations include deboning, meat processing and blenders.
Conveyors, Aligning, Packing and Sorting. Various linear actuators are routinely used to properly adjust conveyors and aligning and sorting positioning devices. These can include different environmental conditions, such as indoor, outdoor, heat, cold or messy.
The processing equipment on the conveyor system may require adjustment, such as a heavy heating element. Or, the products themselves might require repositioning as they travel down the conveyor system, such as bottled water.
Some typical specialized operations include conveyors, ovens, separators, handling, palletizing, pick and place, and packaging.
Open and Close Lids, Stacking, Emptying and Pressing. Linear actuators are ideal for opening and closing lids of any size safely, hygienically, and with easy washdown clean-up. Many of these applications require multiple lanes to independently index lines of food products for optimal throughput and accuracy while maintaining product integrity, quality and safety.
Other functions that require linear motion include doors, hatches, safety devices and emptying containers.
Regulatory Basics of Hygienic Design Requirements
Standard design guidelines have been developed to help ensure food processing machinery can be properly cleaned and sanitized after every use. The pertinent governing bodies include 3-A Dairy and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The IP (Ingress Protection) Rating system was originally established by the IEC 60529 standard. The first digit, IP-XX, equates to Solid Particle Ingress Protection. The second digit, IP-XX, equates to Liquid Ingress Protection. Download our white paper to see useful tables showing what each digit represents.
Recently, it was determined that the prior highest rating of IP68 still wasn’t sufficient for enclosures that were regularly exposed to high pressure or high temperature environments, such as those in washdown applications.