It is critical that any equipment operating on a food and beverage production line is designed to hygienic criteria. This includes motors driving conveyors. However, the features required to achieve a hygienic motor design can present heat dissipation challenges that can affect the reliability of induction units and threaten uptime.
Bauer Gear Motor offers a solution with its HiflexDRIVE range of aseptic coated and stainless-steel hygienic motors, which feature permanent magnet synchronous motor (PMSM) technology to ensure the problems of heat are solved effectively.
Hygienic motor design features
Motors in hygienic applications must offer several innate features to operate within a highly regulated environment. Washdowns are common across food and beverage production lines to safeguard product quality and legislative compliance. As a result, the exterior of the motor must be smooth to expedite this cleaning and remove areas where contaminates and bacteria could propagate. Naturally, a high ingress protection rating is also key.
As a result, the traditional design features which facilitate cooling in standard induction motors must be omitted. Cooling fins present areas that are harder to clean during washdowns, providing bacteria with additional purchase. Fans further compromise the smooth exterior design, while also presenting a risk of spreading contaminates in operation.
Choosing a construction material that is a good conductor of heat could be a solution. However, hygienic material options are limited. Stainless steel, a material often selected for the exterior of hygienic motors, is poor at heat dissipation – compounding the issue. Upsizing the motor could improve the dissipation of heat, but in the case of stainless steel, this would greatly increase the weight with little benefit. For induction motors that naturally produce heat in operation, the requirements of hygienic design present a real reliability risk due to insufficient cooling.
A solution to this induction motor heat issue could be to place the motor inside a separate, hygienic containment housing. The installation would therefore by compliant with washdown regulations, while the motor itself would still benefit from traditional cooling methods.
However, this is counterproductive over the long term. While the containment housing will receive regular external cleaning, it will collect grime internally during long-term operation which will require additional washing. Consequently, the containment housing will need disassembling to carry this out, causing more risks in terms of germ distribution and product contamination. Increased cleaning requirements will also reduce productivity.
Space is at a premium at any food and beverage production facility. To ensure efficient use of space and ease of access to the line, choosing compact equipment is important. However, a motor within a large containment housing takes up unnecessary space. This compromises both the design of the production line and overall space efficiency at the plant.
Ideally, a hygienic motor needs a compact, easy-to-clean design that eliminates heat dissipation issues.
Cool and clean
Bauer Gear Motor, a leading brand of Altra Industrial Motion Corp., has tackled the unique challenges of motor design for hygienic environments by eliminating the need for induction motor heat dissipation entirely. The HiflexDRIVE utilises PMSM technology to eliminate heat losses from the rotor by 100% and reduce total losses by 25%. This removes the necessity for the cooling fans and fins that keep a traditional induction motor cool. Therefore, the smooth exterior of the HiflexDRIVE has no heat dissipation penalty, while offering exceptional hygienic performance. As well as benefitting the aseptic coated design, this elimination of heat losses also ensures that the stainless-steel material option needn’t contend with heat dissipation problems.
The inherent benefits of PMSM technology and a smooth, hygienic motor exterior mean that the HiflexDRIVE needs no additional containment housing. The HiflexDRIVE doesn’t require any specialised cleaning beyond usual washdown routines, which helps to improve production uptime. An ingress protection rating up to IP69K ensures suitability for even the most rigorous washdowns. With no containment housing to disassemble for cleaning, contamination risks are further reduced. A compact design with high power density also ensures the HiflexDRIVE doesn’t take up excessive space on the production line, improving space efficiency and optimising equipment design.
Efficiency is another feature of the HiflexDRIVE. Offering a total efficiency improvement of 10% or more, the HiflexDRIVE unlocks reduced energy costs and contributes to a lower carbon footprint for food and beverage production operations. Furthermore, it helps operators offset future increases in energy costs. Motors up to IE5 efficiency ratings are available. With the number of conveyors required for food and beverage manufacture, this efficiency improvement becomes a sizable cost saving.
No longer opposing aims
Thanks to decades of experience delivering hygienic motors to meet the needs of food and beverage manufacturers around the world, Bauer Gear Motor has challenged the paradox of adequate heat dissipation and a smooth hygienic exterior within the same motor. The HiflexDRIVE delivers cool, efficient operation with an easy-clean design that means food and beverage production managers needn’t worry about things getting too hot on the production line.
Picture 1: It is critical that any equipment operating on a food and beverage production line is designed to hygienic criteria. This includes motors driving conveyors
Picture 2: The HiflexDRIVE utilises PMSM technology to eliminate heat losses from the rotor by 100% and reduce total losses by 25%