FDA-Compliant Magnetic Plastics to Keep Food Safe During Manufacturing

August 27, 2020 Bastian More

Food producers often use FDA-compliant plastic components in environments with open food products; however, their use is risky. Pieces of plastic could break off and fall into the food. If the plastic material is blue, it can be visually detected. A metal detector can also pick up the pieces if the plastic material is embedded with magnetic particles. When it comes to machines and systems in motion, however, the options for magnetic plastic components are usually limited. 

Read on to learn why magnetically detectable plastic materials are crucial for the food industry, and discover a self-lubricating, maintenance-free product that helps keep food safe from plastic fragments. 

When are magnetically detectable plastics necessary?

Simple plain bearings are used in most applications—the bearings are usually seated with a form fit and fixed into a mounting hole, making it almost impossible for them to fall out or break. 

However, if an application requires joint or flange bearings, caution is required since these self-aligning bearings are exposed above the product and can break if they are misused or a crash occurs. This could cause fragments of damaged bearings to fall into the exposed product below.

For example, if we are at the cradle flaps of a tubular bag machine, fragments could fall into the packaging underneath. Those fragments could be difficult to see in packaging that is subsequently closed. 

Contamination of the food must be noticed and reported immediately. An error message in the system prevents further production, but it most likely won't identify which item might contain the fragments.

What do joint and plain bearing solutions look like?

These risks, coupled with the close cooperation we’ve had with our customers in the food industry, have inspired us to develop igubal® FC (food contact) self-aligning bearings. The product line includes clevis joints and spring-loaded fixing clips.  

Our goal was to develop a magnetically-detectable plastic material with the best possible tribological properties for moving applications. igubal® FC is FDA-compliant, detectable and in accordance with the EU Directive 10/2011 for the contact of plastics with food. Typical application areas include the food, beverage and packaging industry. Benefits of igubal® FC are listed below:

  • Visually and magnetically detectable
  • Compliant with Regulation (EU) No. 10/2011 and FDA guidelines
  • Self-lubricating and maintenance-free
  • Corrosion and media-resistant
  • Vibration-damping
  • Cost-effective

To learn more about igubal® FC, part numbers and dimensions, check out page 54 of our 2018 dry-tech® product catalog. You can also visit our igubal® overview page to learn more about the product line. 

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