Welding of all kinds plays a large role in commercial-grade food equipment. From the shelving units used to store fresh, frozen, and dry foods to stoves and ovens used daily, welding operations are used in the manufacturing process. Stud welding, in particular, is a commonly used manufacturing technique for many types of equipment used in restaurants, hospitals, hotels, and other commercial kitchens as well as in food production and packaging industries. Even some equipment in home kitchens is made with certain components of stud welding. Northland Fastening Systems provides everything you might need for all applications of food grade welding, from studs of all dimensions to tools for rent and purchase in addition to the expert services of our own technicians.
Equipment used in the food industry must meet U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards for sanitation, including the very specific requirements of the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). This means, every step of the fabrication process must guarantee that end results meet those standards. When it comes to stud welding, regulations are in place for food grade welding processes.
The foundational requirements of food grade welding include:
- Precise Finish: A smooth finish with the elimination of burrs and sharp particles of metal of all kinds must be accomplished. Even microscopic burrs or sharps can compromise a food grade piece of equipment. Rough surfaces should also be smoothed and finished in a way that removes any spaces for food particles to get caught and build bacteria colonies.
- Sealed and Bolted: The full framework of a piece of equipment should be sealed at connection points. Simply bolted connection points can have opportunities for increased vulnerability to corrosion or storage of bacteria. Components that can be detached for cleaning must also be built in a way that reattaches with a full seal.
- Correct Design: The equipment should be designed in a way that only uses internal angles or corners. External angles create spaces in which bacteria can thrive, which compromises any food grade equipment.
- Surface Working: Surfaces should be worked in a way that doesn’t overstress the materials. Overworking can leave any layers protecting against oxidation susceptible to being quickly stripped away.
- Compatible Weld: The stud and the surface material must be compatible. Any incompatible welds are more vulnerable to corroding and contamination food or cracking under thermal stress.
If you are fabricating food grade equipment of any kind, it’s critical to consider these requirements and any other standards outlined in the FSMA before beginning your project. To learn more about food grade welding, and stud welding overall, contact Northland Fastening Systems today at (651) 730-7770 or request a quote online to get started on your stud welding project.