How To Ensure Your Hardware Is Suitable For Hygienic Environments

Designing an enclosure for use in the food or medical sectors requires the use of specific hardware created with strict hygienic standards in mind. Speccing in a part that doesn’t meet these standards can make your entire design fail in its intended field of use, and choosing the right one requires careful consideration and attention to detail.

Here are a few factors to keep in mind when choosing hardware for extremely sanitary environments:

Meeting The Standard

Just because a part is made of steel and comes from a reputable manufacturer doesn’t mean that it’s suitable for use in environments with strict hygienic standards. Hardware that’s designed for use in hygienic areas should always meet the requirements set in national or equivalent international legislation for food and medical safety. Qualifying EMKA products, for instance, meet the strict hygiene standards mandated by the German Institute for Standardization (DIN), ensuring that they’re authorized for use both in the United States and abroad.

You should also make sure that you’re choosing the right hardware for your enclosure’s intended purpose. For example, hardware that meets the requirements for the food sector doesn’t always meet the strict requirements necessary for use in the medical sector.

Easy Cleaning

“Sanitary” hardware that’s difficult to clean won’t stay sanitary for long. Your hygienic hardware should be resistant to dirt, mold, and rust buildup, and if it does come into contact with external substances, removing them should be as simple as possible.

Some characteristics in an easy-to-clean hygienic article include:

  • Stainless steel parts – This material resists corrosion and provides a slick surface that facilitates the removal of food, dirt, and other substances.
  • Rounded edges – As seen in our new stainless steel quarter turns for hygienic areas (articles 1000-U838-02 [AISI 316] and 1000-U838-02PF [AISI 303]), rounded insert edges make the cleaning process quicker and easier.
  • Protected spaces between moving parts – Food or biological particles that get stuck between moving parts in a piece of hardware can create a health hazard over time. Ensuring that the spaces between parts on your hardware are either tight or covered can prevent the need to disassemble the item for cleaning.

The ability to easily clean hygienic hardware can make your entire design more user-friendly.

Proper Gasketing

Even if the metal parts of the hardware you need meet every applicable standard, the article may still be unsuitable for jobs with high sanitation requirements if the sealing isn’t properly designed. Not all gasketing material is suitable for use in health or food service industries, and this factor must be considered when speccing in hardware for your design.

If the item you want for your design features gasketing, check the article information to see if it meets the requirements of FDA 21 CFR 177.2600. This legislation from the Food and Drug Administration mandates that any rubber-based products that come into contact with food are safe, and using gasketing that doesn’t meet this standard can put your entire design in jeopardy.

A Clean Design for a Clean Environment

By taking care to ensure that the hardware you choose meets government regulations for sanitation, is easy to keep clean, and features hygienic gasketing details, you can guarantee that even the smallest details of your design are ready for even the strictest sanitary environments.

Contact me today to learn more about how to design an enclosure that meets any health requirements.

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