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RS Helps Food and Beverage Manufacturers Overcome Safety and Compliance Challenges

April 1, 2024

RS offers an extensive portfolio of electrical and electronic products engineered to help organizations in the food and beverage manufacturing industry overcome challenges related to the expansive and evolving slate of safety and compliance regulations designed to keep consumers and workers safe.

In 2022, the U.S. food and beverage industry was worth about $1.4 trillion, a roughly 5.5% share of the national GDP, largely due to contributions from the food and beverage manufacturing industry, which is consistently the second-largest contributor to overall industry value behind food service. This segment employed around 1.7 million people in 2021 across market segments ranging from meat and dairy processing to baked goods, prepared foods, and beverage manufacturing.

And while each of these markets has its own unique demands, each also features machine designers and builders, manufacturers, engineering managers, and maintainers who must contend with stringent safety and compliance regulations pertaining to food safety, equipment and facility sanitation, quality control, labeling and packaging, environmental stewardship and sustainability, and employee and equipment safety.

Establishing and maintaining compliance with evolving food and beverage manufacturing regulations, like the FDA’s new Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) updates, is driving organizations throughout the supply chain to embrace digital transformation and futurize their facilities with smart IIoT and automation technologies. It’s also driving significant growth in the global machine safety market, which is projected to grow from an estimated value of $10.3 billion in 2022 to $11.5 billion by 2031, due in large part to rising demand for packaged foods, worker safety, and strict regulatory standards.

The RS portfolio of electrical and electronic products designed to help food and beverage industry organizations adhere to the challenging and continually changing regulatory landscape extends from connected technologies, like RFID systems, that are essential for satisfying the new FSMA tracking and tracing requirements to machine safety solutions — including safety sensors, pneumatic and fluid controls, motors and motor controls, safety switches, and enclosures — that are essential for mitigating various risks, preventing accidents, and complying with other industry regulations. The vast majority of these solutions also offer additional advantages ranging from hygiene, sanitation, efficiency, and employee morale improvements to reduced workspace clutter and equipment downtime — all of which are key to success in this highly regulated and competitive industry.

Smart, connected technologies like RFID systems support full supply chain transparency, allowing manufacturers, regulatory bodies, and customers to track the journey of products from farm to table, which is essential for compliance with the new FSMA tracking and tracing requirements. The Balluff BIS M Series Industrial RFID System is an excellent choice for food and beverage manufacturing organizations because it’s rated for washdown environments, compliant with global ISO quality, safety, and efficiency standards, and quick and easy to install, which saves times and money and ensures proper commissioning.

It’s also compatible with IO-Link components and various bus systems and available with high-temperature, metal-mount, hardened, and disposable tagging options and a variety of data carriers and read/write heads, which supports broad application suitability.

Safety sensors like light curtains are used to monitor and prevent ambulatory, vehicular, and machine movement in hazardous or otherwise controlled areas to keep people, equipment, and products safe. Omron F3SG-RE Series light curtains stop connected machinery in its tracks anytime an opaque object passes in between the transmitter and receiver and are widely used in food and beverage industry applications ranging from processing to packaging lines due to their slim, simple, rugged, reliable, and cost-effective IP67-rated design, which makes them easy to mount, operate, and maintain in environments subject to dust, vibration, and washdowns. They also offer QR code indication for easy online troubleshooting and a wide range of product options for broad application suitability.

Pneumatic and fluid control solutions use the flow and pressure of air or compressed gases to drive automated equipment and provide users with a safe, versatile, and cost-effective way to power a wide range of systems, contribute to sustainability goals, and comply with various food safety regulations. Festo VZQA pinch valves are ideal for food and beverage manufacturing and packaging applications because they allow you to control the flow of materials including granulates, fluids containing solids, and highly viscous or abrasive products and deliver durable performance in challenging operating environments with temperatures spanning -5°C to 150°C.

These modular valves are compact, quick and easy to install, highly configurable, and easy to clean and are available with rugged, corrosion resistant stainless steel or aluminum housings.

Motors and motor controls are used to convert electrical power into the mechanical power required to run machinery and manage motors by controlling their direction, regulating their speed and torque, and protecting against electrical failures. LEESON Motors offers a wide range of washdown-ready motors, including Extreme Duck Ultra washdown duty AC motors, which are purpose-built to help avoid downtime, reduce replacement costs, and support sanitary compliance in rugged industrial applications like food and beverage manufacturing. These motors are made of 300-series stainless steel that resists corrosion and robustly withstands high-pressure washdowns and harsh chemicals, have an IP69K watertight seal that reliably protects against contaminants, and enable installation in any orientation for broad application suitability.

Safety switches open and close circuits to stop or alter mechanical operations or safely and reliably disconnect power from a machine and, per the National Electrical Code (NEC), must be installed in all commercial and industrial machinery. Pilz PSENmag Series magnetic non-contact safety switches are used to monitor the position of machine guards in accordance with EN 60947-5-3 and are commonly deployed in food and beverage packaging equipment. They’re compact and durable, ruggedly resistant to shock, vibration, and abrasive cleaning agents, and Ecolab-certified.

They’re also available with IP65, IP67, and IP69K sealing options for use in heavy-soil and washdown environments, circular and square geometries to optimize installation space, and a variety of connectors and cables to support all mounting styles and angles.

Enclosures provide critical protection for the various industrial control system components essential to food and beverage manufacturing and packaging operations, including wires, cables, connectors, fans, and PLCs. nVent HOFFMAN’s HyShed Series enclosures are made of stainless steel for durability and improved cleanability and feature crevice-free latch surfaces to reduce possible catch points that could harbor bacteria, a brushed #4 finish compatible with dairy industry applications, and a 15° sloped top to prevent fluids or particulates from pooling and maximize back panel space. They also have an easily replaceable FDA-grade silicone gasket that helps resist bacteria growth and chemical absorption.

RS also offers a wide range of RS PRO products meticulously designed to help overcome common food and beverage safety and compliance challenges at a cost-efficient price point, including high-quality, industrial-grade sensors and accessories, such as sensor mounting hardwarepanel-mount sensor cablespigtail sensor cablesprobessensor testersindustrial cable assemblies, like double-ended cordsets, and barcode readers.



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