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January 25, 2024
3 Min Read
Developing and integrating control panels or HMIs in food processing machines requires specialized knowledge, innovative design, and production methods. Image courtesy of Schurter Inc.
Machines and appliances used in the food processing industry are continuously exposed to dirt and moisture. The operation of these machines must be reliable, safe, and efficient. Besides the demanding conditions under which the machines must operate, hygiene and safety play an important role. Machines must meet strict food safety certification standards. As a result, the control panel must be designed to withstand frequent and thorough cleaning, often under high pressure. Control panels should be seamlessly integrated, preventing dirt and bacteria from accumulating in edges and seams.
Developing and integrating control panels or HMIs (human machine interfaces) in food processing machines requires specialized knowledge, innovative design, and production methods. SCHURTER develops and produces customized control panels that meet the highest requirements in the food sector.
Especially for environments where hygiene is an absolute must, control panels can be equipped with an antimicrobial surface. This applies to PCAP and resistive touchscreens, as well as to membrane switches. As an example, for PCAP touchscreens, antimicrobial and antiviral action based on silver ions can be obtained by applying a special coating to the glass surface. This coating maintains its action throughout the lifetime of the application. Where necessary, the surface can also be made resistant to oil, solvents, and aggressive chemicals.
A completely sealed front, with no edges where dirt can remain, is also usually required. The control panel housing is then made completely seamless, so that bacteria have no chance of adhering to edges and recesses. This also ensures that the appliance can be easily disinfected. The glass front panel is seamlessly sealed all around with a chemical-resistant slit sealant.
Many machines and appliances used in the food processing industry are exposed to dirt and moisture on a daily basis. The control panel must therefore be designed to withstand thorough and frequent cleaning, usually under high pressure. Extra-reinforced front panels and a liquid-tight mounting ensure that the functionality as well as the appearance of the HMI is maintained, even during daily vigorous cleaning.
In the food processing industry, it is absolutely essential that glass splinters cannot be released anywhere. To eliminate this risk, input systems are provided with an additional shatter protection film over the glass surface or, if glass is not suitable, are made of shatterproof polycarbonate. Thus, front panels can be developed that can withstand an impact up to the IK 10 standard
Working at Low Temperatures
Processing fresh food is often done at low temperatures. In such environments, the devices must operate reliably and ensure operation with thick gloves. For these conditions, robust membrane switches are a safe choice, but modern touchscreen solutions are also suitable for operation with gloves
Cooperation with HMI Specialist in Food Industry
For several decades, Schurter has been helping manufacturers of machines and devices for the food processing industry with custom-developed control panels that perform under demanding conditions and comply with the highest standards. Engineers work with the client to fully tailor the HMI solution to the specifications of the application.
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