Stainless steel has the ability to stand up to the acidic content of wash-down chemicals commonly used in the food processing industry. Cleaning agents and chemical disinfectants can quickly corrode other materials, promoting bacterial growth and enabling contamination. Stainless steel is a safer, more hygienic choice in these applications as it provides resistance to pitting and stress corrosion cracking, and is easily sterilized to prevent bacteria growth.
With increasing visibility to product safety and contamination issues, attention has focused on the sanitary practices of food and beverage producers. The potential costs of recalls, liability, fines and long term damage to brands has manifested in intensified washdown practices including greater frequency with higher wash pressures, chemical concentrations and temperatures.
Both 304 and 316 stainless steel alloys provide excellent resistance to corrosives at extreme temperatures and in harsh environments. When scratched, stainless steels exposed metal "self-heals," oxidizing over the abrasion to protect against further corrosion. For many applications, stainless steel has the lowest maintenance cost and the lowest total lifecycle cost of any other UL Listed conduit material. When it comes to corrosion resistance, no material, approved by Underwriters Laboratories, does a better job for the food industry than stainless steel.
For more information about the benefits of stainless steel in the food processing industry, read the Calbrite whitepaper entitled Stainless Steel Conduit in Harsh Environments Assessing Corrosion Resistance and Cost Savings.