In the U.S. food and beverage industry, there is a presumption of quality and safety by consumers. Consider that in 2014, North America consumed 51.16 billion liters of carbonated soft drinks – all of which had to go through some type of sanitary strainer at some point. The burden of maintaining these high levels of product purity required by regulatory agencies often rests on the equipment used in their manufacturing process. As such, the use of sanitary strainers during the food and beverage production process must be understood.
Why Sanitary Strainers?
The need for sanitary strainers is simple and straightforward: they are used by the food and beverage industry to remove impurities from the liquid stream of their products. This improves product quality and ensures uniformity. Strainers are manufactured from stainless steel mesh (316L), but other corrosion resistant alloys can be used for processing highly corrosive fluids. The mesh is designed in many sizes and shapes, and is either woven or welded together. These screens are tightly woven to provide an adequate straining material.
Types of Strainers
Strainers are broken down into three main filtering categories:
- Coarse straining – for large particles
- Medium straining – for particles 75 to 1905 microns
- Filtration – for particles down to 5 microns
Polishing strainers to a very low surface roughness makes them extremely easy to clean, which is important for maintaining product safety. Any corrosion could lead to bacterial growth that causes contamination and potential health issues for consumers. Additionally, legal and regulatory sanctions are also possible as a result of such a breach in production hygiene.
Strained Brews and Other Examples
Sanitary strainers are found across several industries processing a wide range of products. Here are a few examples of their application:
- Craft breweries – utilize highly customized strainers to remove hops, pumpkin and fruit pulp based on the flavors developed
- Beverage and juice processing plants – juices, sodas are common, however tomatoes and citrus-based products are high in acid content, requiring more resistant alloys in strainer construction
- Dairy processing plants – ice cream, cheese, butter, milk, chocolate and yogurt can present challenges depending on their flow rate through the system and tendency to congeal
- Food manufacturers – salad dressing, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise
Picking the Best Sanitary Strainer
There are five key considerations to remember when deciding on which type of sanitary strainer to use for food and beverages:
- Which industry is the strainer being used?
- How is the strainer being applied?
- What is the size of the line and process flow rate?
- What percentage of solids must be captured?
- What is the particulate size requiring removal?
Product temperature, viscosity and line pressure are also important factors. Clogged strainers reduce throughput and eventually cause production stoppages. Often the use of a dual or duplex strainer unit is required, which permits the cleaning of one strainer while the other continues operation. The right strainer will perfectly maintain product integrity without compromising safety, quality or cost.
Sanitary Strainers in Review
To summarize several key points about industrial food and beverage sanitary strainers:
- Sanitary strainers are an essential production component to ensure product purity and sanitation in the food and beverage industry
- Strainers come in many shapes and sizes, and are customizable depending on a variety of factors including application, size of production line, size of particulates requiring removal, flow rate and temperature
SaniClean Strainers, a Newark Wire brand, manufactures a complete line of industrial sanitary strainers, assemblies, replacement parts, and filter media suitable for a wide range of applications and capacities. SaniClean Strainers are ruggedly built to withstand the most demanding production cycles. They are easy to clean and integrate into new or existing piping configurations. Contact us today for your next filtration project.