Thanks, Jack. I'm not familiar with food processing--and each time I learn something about it, I must say the "Ecchh" factor tends to apply. In fact, I basically don't eat processed foods because of all the additives and excessive amounts of salt. Anyway, your description certainly fills out the picture of how harsh an environment processed food ingredients create in a plant.
Ann, don't forget about all the concentrates from juices to sauces to soda that might be fine when you consume them but are in a totally different state in the plant. There are also the unpronouncable ingredients that are in a small measure in the final product but great quantities there. Also, the main ingredient in just about everything seems to be salt. If it can take out an unprotected car over a winter, just imagine what it can do in quantities inside a moist food plant.
Thanks for the reply, TJ. I don't tend to think of foods as a harsh substance, more of a messy one, but you've certainly got a point. At least I can easily think of ketchup, mustard, and pickles, for example, which are all highly acidic.
TJ, the coatings I reported on are designed for use in harsh environments, such as aerospace and transportation, as well as bridges and other large structures exposed to weather, and some industrial environments. To my knowledge, none of these objects or their coatings are involved in, or designed for, direct food contact, and so AFAIK are not regulated by the FDA. However, I did not ask that question since it was not the focus of the article. Did you have something specific in mind?
TJ, I don't have any present plans to cover EPA approval or regulations of coatings in a major feature, but might report on this in a blog or news story if something newsworthy happens. What do you have in mind?
Thanks, TJ. You're right, stainless is well-known for being corrosion resistant. One thing I would have liked to explore was exactly what you point out--the fact that penetration and wear do occur. This was addressed to some extent by my sources, but monitoring processes and techniques are really a separate subject.
Your impression is VERY accurate. Stainless steel ISN'T. It's corrosion-resistant. Coatings can do better, but when put to use they must be monitored for wear. As soon as a penetration occurs, be it through wear or external damage, the part must be replaced or recoated.
Ann, will you be covering FDA approval of coatings in any of your reports?
Thanks for the feedback, guys. Chuck, I specifically looked at coatings that are targeted for harsh environments. And I didn't look for raw number volumes, just specific apps where these are used. Within those parameters, I got the impression that anti-corrosion is a big deal, maybe the biggest deal, for various reasons.
According to a study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, one of the factors in the collapse of the original World Trade Center towers on Sept. 11, 2001, was the reduction in the yield strength of the steel reinforcement as a result of the high temperatures of the fire and the loss of thermal insulation.
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Robots are getting more agile and automation systems are becoming more complex. Yet the most impressive development in robotics and automation is increased intelligence. Machines in automation are increasingly able to analyze huge amounts of data. They are often able to see, speak, even imitate patterns of human thinking. Researchers at European Automation
call this deep learning.
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