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Why are seamers not following hygiene regulations?

by CanMaking.Info on 23/09/2014 - 03:47 pm

After my first visit to a food cannery this afternoon, a question came to the fore front of my mind; how can food canners be allowed to put can seamers onto the production line that are clearly so old and unhygienic? After following strict hygiene regulations before entering the factory floor, being made to wear a hair net and snood to cover my facial hear, it was a complete shock to see such an old and decrepit seamer placed amongst such sparkling clean stainless steel machines. The seamer from a distance obviously looked like any of the other part of the production line. It was only on closer inspection that the repeated layers of paint could be seen to be just covering up what was a painfully old and rotting machine.


Seamer


Research into other food canneries showed that this was not an isolated issue. It is apparently the norm for cast iron seamers to be used in hygiene regulated factories, as long as the components in direct contact with the can are stainless or phosphor bronze. This poses another question; why go to the lengths of ensuring workers are fully covered, the factory floor is swept and the cans washed  clean, when the frame of the machine sealing the can is made from one of the most corrosive metals? The potential for contamination is clearly evident and largely ignored. It seems to be that as long as coats of paint are applied to the machine and the contact area that meets the can is stainless, then the seamer is allowed to continue in use.

After making several enquires to seamer suppliers, the general consensus seems to be that producing a stainless steel seamer in the size required to be capable of high speed production, is just too costly for a food cannery to afford. Is there an affordable way to produce a stainless steel seamer?

While attempts have been made to upgrade food safety compliance with the increased use of stainless steel, there is not yet available a seamer that is fully stainless as is standard on other parts of the production line, such as can fillers. Why has nobody sought to produce a fully stainless and fully automatic seamer, that is capable of serving the sanitary canning market?


Matt Day

Comments

Matt - Admin - 27/09/2014 - 08:46 am

Thanks for all the comments and replies. It’s extremely helpful and interesting to hear from professionals as I feel my way into the industry.

James, having looked at the Ferrum seamer range, I see that the seamers advertised as being optimal for the food industry have the seaming area in stainless steel, why not the whole machine? A quick look at the latest Hema Filler tells me that the machine is constructed entirely of stainless steel.

This is what has intrigued me. The filler is completely stainless because it is required by health and safety guidelines, why are the same rules not applied to all seamers?

I can see that Ferrum are committed to improving the hygiene of their seamers and are a vast improvement on the machine I saw at the cannery I visited (as shown in the picture in the article above).

As Jeff said, the food industry has not seen the necessity to upgrade to newer stainless seamers. I can’t fathom whether this is because there isn’t the same level of demand from the food industry as the beverage industry or because the manufacturers don’t offer a fully stainless machine specific to food canners.

Jeff, I haven’t yet seen the new line V-Series seamers but have now downloaded the brochure to inspect the specification.

Thanks for the offer, i’d certainly like to come and see one in action. It would be interesting to see how the new V-Series compares to the traditional Angelus seamers and other branded seamers in the market. Do you mind if I contact you by email?

William, the upgraded parts offered by Talleres Ezquerra definitely go some way to improving the hygiene in canneries without the huge cost of purchasing a new machine.

The seamer upgrade kit is a viable option for companies who are looking to improve hygiene while maintaining the same production level and removing the need for staff to be re-trained.

As a specialist in rebuilding machines, do Ezquerra offer to implement the upgraded parts when selling a seamer?

I’ll be uploading all of the brochures for the machines that I have been directed to into our Articles section.

We are also in the process of launching a forum to promote discussions like this that you may find interesting: www.canmaking.info/forum

Best regards

Matt

William Palma - 24/09/2014 - 11:51 am

Good morning Matt,

Thank you for the article. It really is a shame that most plants have old cast seamers next to beautiful stainless steel equipment.

Talleres Ezquerra in Navarra, Spain is now making brand new aftermarket stainless casting parts for different makes of can seamers. Why buy a brand new seamer when you can upgrade with stainless steel components? Besides saving tons of money, you minimize your downtime and the best part is that your mechanics are already familiar with the seamer. There is no need to learn how to operate a new seamer, and you get to keep all of your built up parts inventory.

You can learn more by visiting: http://ezquerra.com/wp2/?product=disponibilidad-de-piezas-mejoradas-en-acero-inoxidable&lang=en or http://www.palmabriz.com/about-1-1-1/.

Thanks again for the article and I look forward to your future writings.

Best regards,

William Palma, Jr

Jeffrey Bernstein - 24/09/2014 - 08:21 am

Matt,

Pneumatic Scale Angelus has been utilizing stainless steel construction including the main castings and all exposed areas of the seamer on all of our M-series seamers since 2010. We have sold many of these seamers to the beer and beverage industry throughout the world. Unfortunately the food industry has not seen the necessity to upgrade or possibly have not had the budgets to upgrade to the newer seamers that are much more hygienic and utilize extensive stainless steel construction.

We have just introduced our new line of V-Series seamers that are very focused on hygienic construction. We invite you to review our new line of V-Series seamers at our web site http://www.psangelus.com/product-lines/seamers/m-series or visit our factory to examine them personally.

Jeff Bernstein

James Wilkinson - 24/09/2014 - 03:59 am

Matt,
you need to look at the Ferrum seamer range. All of Ferrum's seamers use Stainless Steel within the construction and have one of the finest in-seamer hygine systems currently available. Seamer hygine is one of Ferrum's main design considerations. This is avialable across both their Food and beverage range of seamers.
James