IP69K combined with Ecolab represents the level of washdown used in food factories today. It's the only realistic one. Almost all components are at best rated at IP67, which is woefully inadequate. It is essentially 15psi water jets.
NEMA4x doesn't begin to approach that which is necessary.
The subject of extreme temperatures and pressures in oil & gas exploration makes me wonder what kind of materials and assembly/fastening innovations are coming out of that sector that might be applicable to other manufacturing sectors, like industrial, aerospace and automotive. Any ideas Al?
The temperatures and pressures required for oil and gas exploration has spawned a lot of development work among motion vendors plus suppliers of chips and instrumentation as well. For motion suppliers, the keys to designing solutions for operation within high temperature environments focuses on careful selection of materials. The insulation systems used with electric motors, for example, are outside the industrial norm and motor stators require different materials. One techniques it using a double-vacuum impregnation method on stators, which submerses them the varnish and using a vacuum to remove the air before they are cured. Since there is no air in the windings, when they are exposed to the pressurized environment, they do not fail. The other thing to remember is that they are designing for shorter life in many cases. But this are also specialty solutions specific to oil and gas exploration.
Al, the temperatures and pressures (240C and 30,000 psi) that you mention in the oil and gas industries are astounding. What was done previously to withstand those environments and how do the new solutions differ from the old ones?
Beth, you're not alone in concerns about the safety of food plants and the need for strict standards. The recalls that we have seen this year such as the Listeria outbreak has continued to put a focus on the need for effective washdown strategies. The technology solutions are also continuing to get better in this area, even though it's far from a new problem.
Hi Ann, Not sure I've heard about motors being made of anything but steel materials. However, the paints used on washdown motors is especially important since food plants, in particular, are extremely concerned about any paint chips. All stainless steel exteriors are also becoming more popular to deal with some of these problems along with providing an additional level of corrosion resistance.
Thanks, Al, for a thorough discussion. I think the engineering innovations are interesting, such as round motor shapes and using steam, to cope with the harsh washdown environment. The first thing that comes to my mind is, can motors and other equipment in these environments be made of something besides rustable steel? For example, high-strength carbon fiber and/or CFR composites? Or engineering-grade resins such as the ones being used in under-hood automotive apps?
It is interesting to see the cross-over of techniques from the aerospace industry to other industries. Aerospace companies have dealt with harsh environments with little or no access for maintenance for decades. Many satelite systems last many years beyond their "design life". We always commented that these things were over designed. On the other hand, what is the alternative?
With more sophiscated design tools making the type of customization mentioned in the article more cost effective, we can see many more of these techniques applied to situations where they are useful.
I, for one, am happy to hear about the advances being made in motion control technologies, particularly those centered on chemical and high-pressure washdown. Anything that can advance the state of safety and precautionary equipment for eradicating contamination that is a danger to the public at large, particularly as it relates to the food supply, is a worthwhile investment, in my book.
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