The food and beverage industry requires high-performance materials to withstand the demanding processing conditions and maintain strict hygiene standards. Kolsterising® is a unique surface hardening technology developed by Bodycote, specifically designed to enhance the properties of stainless steel. This article will explore the advantages of Kolsterising® and its application in the food and beverage industry.
The Kolsterising® process
Kolsterising® is a proprietary, low-temperature surface hardening process that improves the mechanical and tribological properties of stainless steel without affecting its corrosion resistance. The process involves the diffusion of carbon atoms into the steel’s surface, creating a hardened layer that significantly increases wear resistance and hardness. This layer is fully integrated into the base material, ensuring optimal adhesion and durability.
Advantages of Kolsterising® in the food and beverage industry
- Enhanced wear resistance: Stainless steel components in food and beverage processing equipment are often subjected to severe wear due to continuous contact with abrasive materials, aggressive cleaning processes, and high-pressure conditions. Kolsterising® effectively increases the wear resistance of stainless steel, extending the service life of components and reducing the need for frequent replacements.
- Environmentally friendly: The environmentally friendly nature of the Kolsterising® process, as well as carbon-reduction benefits from outsourcing to Bodycote, supports the sustainable manufacturing practices in the food and beverage industry. As companies continue to prioritise eco-friendly solutions, Kolsterising® emerges as a suitable choice that meets both performance and sustainability requirements.
- Increased hardness: The hardened layer formed during the Kolsterising® process can reach up to 1,000 HV, significantly increasing the hardness of stainless steel components. This added hardness is particularly beneficial in applications where high mechanical loads and abrasive wear are prevalent, such as cutting and slicing equipment, mixers, and conveyors.
- Corrosion resistance preservation: Unlike traditional surface hardening treatments, Kolsterising® does not compromise the corrosion resistance of stainless steel. This is a crucial advantage for the food and beverage industry, where maintaining corrosion resistance is essential to ensure product quality and meet stringent hygiene standards.
- No distortion or discolouration: The low-temperature nature of the Kolsterising® process eliminates the risk of distortion and discolouration, which can be common issues with conventional heat treatment methods. This allows manufacturers to maintain the aesthetic appearance of their components while benefiting from the enhanced performance provided by Kolsterising®.
- Reduced friction and galling: Kolsterising® reduces the coefficient of friction and the risk of galling (cold welding) between stainless steel components. This is particularly beneficial in applications where moving parts are in direct contact with each other, such as valves, pumps, and filling equipment.
- Cost savings: The increased wear resistance, hardness, and durability provided by Kolsterising® results in longer service life and reduced maintenance requirements for stainless steel components in the food and beverage industry. This translates into significant cost savings for manufacturers in terms of replacement parts and downtime.
Real-world applications of Kolsterising® in the food and beverage industry
Here are some examples of successful applications of Kolsterising® in the food and beverage industry which demonstrates its versatility and effectiveness:
- Knife blades used in slicing equipment experienced a four-fold increase in service life after being treated with Kolsterising®.
- Stainless steel pump impellers treated with the Kolsterising® process exhibited significantly improved wear resistance and extended service life.
- Mixing blades used in dough processing machines displayed reduced wear and galling, resulting in more consistent product quality and reduced downtime.
- Stainless steel springs are usually shot peened, but treatment with Kolsterising® offers a huge improvement in fatigue failure test rates over shot peened springs, this results in stronger, longer-lasting springs that are particularly advantageous for the high-demand environments of the food and beverage industry.
In conclusion, Kolsterising® offers a multitude of benefits for the Food and Beverage industry, enabling manufacturers to improve the performance, durability, and service life of their stainless steel components. By embracing this innovative surface hardening technology, companies can not only enhance their operations but also contribute to a more sustainable future for the entire industry. With the increasing demand for eco-friendly solutions and the need for high-performance materials, Kolsterising® is poised to play a crucial role in the evolution of the Food and Beverage sector.