Food Grade Tanks
The term “food grade tanks” refers to sanitary metal cylinder containers designed specifically for use with food processing and storage applications. Made to abide by the food handling and processing standards outlined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), food grade tanks are made exclusively with 304 stainless steel, which is sometimes also known as food grade steel. Like all steel alloys, this grade of stainless steel exhibits the common stainless steel qualities of corrosion resistance, rust resistance and durability, and a smooth surface free of pits and cracks. In addition to this, though, this steel alloy, which is 18% chromium and 8% nickel, is also resistant to the growth of bacteria and sanitary. Furthermore, food grade steel is non-contaminating as it neither adds to nor detracts from the flavors of what it stores. In addition, as a good conductor of heat, tanks made from this material are effective in temperature control. Likewise, food grade tanks remain stable and effective even when dealing with temperatures as low as -238 (also known as cryogenic levels). Finally, 304 stainless steel tanks have the ability known as creep strength, which is the ability to resist distortion when exposed to high temperatures.
Quick links to Food Grade Tanks Information
Producing Stainless Steel
Before food grade tanks are produced, the stainless steel itself must be produced. This takes place when steel and predetermined ratios of other materials are melted together, resulting in alloys with hundreds of different characteristics. Once a steel alloy has become molten and homogenous, it goes through deoxygenation. After this, it is annealed and then quickly cooled. After this, the stainless steel is technically done, but it may also be put through a number of secondary processes. These include passivation, acid bathing, painting, plating, and finishing. Passivation is a process in which the surface layer of iron is removed from the steel via its immersion in an oxidant like nitric acid. After passivation, the steel surface is clean enough to be painted, plated, or finished. Similarly, dipping the steel in an acid bath makes it more polished and easier to clean up after usage. It does so by removing any scaling that may have accumulated on the surface of the steel during cooling.
Food Grade Tank Fabrication Process
Once stainless steel has been finished to the manufacturers' satisfaction, it may be sent on for use in tank fabrication. The tank fabrication process involves a few steps, including cold rolling and welding or bolting. The first step, cold rolling, involves placing the stainless steel sheets in between a series of rollers that gradually bend them until they take on the intended curve of the tank. Once this is done, the seams of the separate tank pieces are welded or bolted together. Note that, of these two options, welding provides a superior finish, as it is more watertight and durable. Once the pieces of the tank are joined, the new product usually has a cylindrical shape, as this helps it to resist hydraulic pressure. In addition, food grade tanks may be outfitted with multiple valves, intake ports, and manways, along with heating and cooling jackets to help regulate and maintain a chosen temperature. Also, most food grade tanks have some sort of hinged or removable lid, though some are permanently enclosed or open. Depending on their application, some food grade tanks also have agitators that allow them to blend and mix what they contain, while others feature spouts or spigots that allow them to release their liquid contents. To find out more about food grade tanks and how they can be customized for your application, call an experienced tank manufacturer today.
Food Grade Tank Applications
Food grade tanks are suitable for handling, prepping, and storing applications related to consumable and perishable substances such as fruit and vegetables, milk, or meat. Tanks made of 304 stainless steel used in the food industry are typically used for the mixing of products like chocolate and peanut butter and for milk homogenization, among other things. Some of the additional food grade tank applications are in the beer brewing industry, meat and poultry industry, citrus and fruit juice industry, and water purification industry. For example, in meat and poultry, meat packers and processors rely on food grade tanks for the mixing of meat with additives and/or for the blending of sausage. In the brewing industry, food grade tanks are used all the way from grain harvest and storage to fermentation, when they serve as vats in which yeast is added to the formula. Finally, in the water purification industry, food grade tanks serve the important role of storing clean water.