Vacuum Technology for the Food Industry

Flexible and FDA-approved handling of food products

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Experienced system consultants will help you design the vacuum solution to suit your industry-specific needs.

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J. Schmalz GmbH
Johannes-Schmalz-Str. 1
72293 Glatten
Germany

T: +49 7443 2403-102
F: +49 7443 2403-399
customercenter@schmalz.de

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In today’s food industry, vacuum technology is absolutely indispensable. Vacuum is not only important for hermetically sealing food products, but is also already used to sort products on conveyor belts and package or repackage goods quickly and efficiently.

In order to ensure that food products such as muffins, waffles, cookies, chocolates and even eggs can be handled with the necessary care, suction cups must be able to flexibly adapt to the surface characteristics of different foods. This helps to prevent leakage and also ensures that products can be handled quickly and reliably.

The food industry places exacting demands on the suction cup materials used in order to prevent contamination of the food products being handled. Schmalz suction cups for the food and beverage industry are made using FDA-compliant materials and also comply with EC Regulation No. 1935/2004.

Requirements for Vacuum Technology

No food contamination
The materials used must be FDA-compliant and also comply with EC Regulation No. 1935/2004. Schmalz suction cups are made of SI, SI-HD, and SI-MD, making them ideal for food handling.

Suction cups that can be detected by metal detectors
Suction cups made from SI-MD silicone, a material that can be detected by a metal detector, have been specially designed for contact with food products. SI-MD contains a small amount of metal oxide, which allows it to be detected by standard metal detectors. This means if a suction cup ends up in a tray, it can be quickly detected. This helps to prevent food contamination.

Adaptation to surface characteristics
Similar food products such as, for example, chocolates with or without toppings/decorations, often have very different shapes and surface textures. Suction cups used for food handling must be able to flexibly adapt to these different shapes and textures in order to prevent leakage while also securely gripping the products in question.

Picking up crumbs from dry food products
When it comes to the handling of dry food products, the gripper tends to suck up tiny crumbs. In order to prevent contamination of both the gripper and other food products, the crumbs must be disposed of appropriately. We also offer a solution for this challenge.

Cleaning the gripper
The suction cups must be cleaned regularly with suitable cleaning products in order to prevent contamination of the foods being handled.

Suitable materials for food handling

The suction cup materials use were developed for handling food products and comply with the requirements of a variety of regulations:

  • EC Regulation No. 1935/2004 and the separate directive contained therein, EC Regulation No. 2023/2006 (on good manufacturing practice for materials and articles intended to come into contact with food)
  • The German Food and Feed Code (LFGB) – Paragraph 31 LFG, covered by Recommendation XV of the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment on the health assessment of materials and objects intended to come into contact with food
  • United States FDA regulations (US FDA Code of Federal Regulations, Title 21, CFR 177.2600 – Rubber articles intended for repeated use)

Material Features
SI
  • Silicone for food handling
SI-HD
  • Silicone for food handling
  • Wear-resistant silicone SI-HD
  • Suitable for robust applications and rough surfaces
  • Excellent durability
SI-MD
  • Silicone for food handling
  • Silicone that can be detected by standard metal detectors
  • Blue color so that the vacuum suction cup can be detected by cameras and the human eye

Silicone SI

Silicone SI-HD

Metal detectable silicone SI-MD

Products for use in the food industry