Essentials in the Food and Beverage Industry

WDS Components offer a variety of parts perfect for conveyors, cooking environment and food processing  

The food and beverage industry covers a number of processes and machines where a variety of different people and roles are required to produce quality food and drinks efficiently. Whether meals are being cooked and presented in a Michelin restaurant requiring stainless steel components for an effective washdown enviornment or bottles of orange juice are getting pressed, decanted into glass bottles, sent down a conveyor belt and sealed then transported to supermarkets around the country, WDS Components have got all the essentials covered in this handy food and beverages guide to support those working in the industry.

Find the parts you need right here and place your order through the website or call our Sales Team on 0333 043 5443. If you need a little more advice, send a message to our Technical Team using our online contact form and they'll be happy to help you out.

Essentials in the food and beverage industry  

Hygiene, durability and consistency are vital to any sector of the food & beverage industry. Work stations must avoid direct contact with bacteria for health and safety purposes. In order to achieve this, surfaces must be far from the floor and on stable ground; the solution: levelling feet.

Levelling Feet (or adjustable machine feet as they are also known) are available in several styles and materials including: steel zinc plated, 303 and 304 stainless steel. These adjustable feet allow the user to ensure the application, machine or furniture is mounted correctly and levelled on uneven surfaces. 316 stainless steel levelling feet with plastic pads are ideal for more specialist applications such as food machinery, industrial machines and outdoor components (perfect if you need the parts in farming environments).

Check out our wide range of levelling feet, available in stainless steel and perfect for conveyor and packaging systems

If you're not using an electronic conveyor belt system, you can use static parts which move upon contact. Ball transfer units are an efficient and helpful way to process goods or packaging items. These components come in three variations (the best option depends on your application):

  1. Surface mounting
  2. Recess mount
  3. Spring loaded

Surface mounting ball transfer units are securely fixed down onto a flat surface by the user. These are easy to apply but are best for medium-sized items as the slight ridges around the base of the units may cause friction for items sent along the system. If you have a conveyor surface with pre-drilled holes, recess mount units are perfect as they fit into pre-defined holes on conveyor set ups and are an ideal solution for the smooth and precise moving on loads, in essence, smaller goods. Even better, several of these models are push fit ball transfer units, allowing the user to simply drop the unit into place on an application. Finally, spring loaded ball transfer units are used for heavy loads as they're strengthened by the spring, hence their ideal use for carrying a high load capacity.

WDS offer a wide range of conveyor components so you can fully customise how your goods are handled.  

Additional conveyor components to consider are those that surround the moving and sending structure. As you can see from the image, this includes elements like hand knobs and detent pins. WDS Components have an extensive range of hand knobs, particularly our star knobs range which includes tri, 4, 5 and 6-lobe knobs to enable simple alterations to the conveyor systems, ideal if you're working with a variety of goods through the same system. Other hand knobs and thumb screws included in our range are mushroom pull knobs (great if you need to apply an emergency stop button- and in an alarming red too), ball knobs to easily control machines and wing grips or T-handle knobs ideal for applications that need an adjustable nut or screw and which can be simply tightened by hand. These grips are excellent for manual pulling or lifting action applications providing an ergonomic handling surface.

Shock absorbers are a good way to support other components if heavy items are loaded onto the system. They are predominantly used on the production line to dampen the force (this is absorbed by the spring) of the box or product moving down on a conveyor line. Some of their major benefits include:

  • Increased productivity through raised machine speeds
  • Smoother operation
  • Operator comfort
  • Smooth deceleration of moving parts leading to:
    • Reduced wear
    • Lower noise
    • Extended equipment life

WDS Components offer a range of positioning parts including detent pins and quick release pins

Detent pins are a quick and easy way to locate and secure an application in place. The quick release ball locking pin uses two spring ball bearings to prevent the pin from working its way free from the application. The quick pin also features a pull ring for attaching a lanyard or retaining chain. Many of our hand knobs and detent pins are available in 316 grade stainless steel, an element to consider in the food and beverage industry as its ideal for washdown applications where there could be exposure to harsh chemicals. If you want to read more about the difference between stainless steel grades, check out our Tech Spec page for technical information.

WDS offer a wide range of 316 stainless steel components including hand knobs, handles, hinges, locks, latches plus many more. Perfect for hygienic or washdown environments.  

Stainless steel is commonly used in the food and beverage industry due to a number of its properties:

  • Robust
  • Resistant to corrosion
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Clear marker of visible hygiene

Grades are often used to describe the strength level of stainless steel. Mainly 303, 304 and 316 are used to define the grade but others are also used on some occasions. The most durable is 316 due to the addition of molybdenum enforcing its strength at elevated temperatures.  Stainless steel is highly suited to rigours and thorough washdown and the applied finish can also remove surface imperfections, such as microscopic blemishes, which could otherwise retain bacteria so it's perfect for large-scale catering and restaurant kitchens with high health and safety standards.

If you wish to find out more about stainless steel in the food and beverage environment, check out our article on the Tech Spec page where the how, what and why's of stainless steel are covered.

Stainless steel is the best material for kitchens and serving environments due to its resistance properties

Many of our parts, especially toggle clamps and latches, have been selected and purchased by customers for use in distilleries and breweries. They're great applications for tightly sealing metal containers such as vessels of alcohol and brewery equipment when it's crucial to guarantee pressure and an absence of potential contamination. 

Many of our stainless steel hand wheels and grips are also great additions to these environments, predominantly because of their qualities like longevity. Our spoked handwheels come in revolving or rotating grips as well as various hole types such as square, pilot, press fit and more. There's plenty to choose from but if you're struggling, contact our Technical Team on 0333 043 5443 and they'll be happy to give you a little more advice on the best option for you.

Check out our extensive range of gear levers, ideal for pulling pints.

WDS offer a range of fixed grips for use on operational hand wheels or as individual components. Barrel grips are great in pubs and bars as they can be used for dispensing beer and pouring it into glasses. You'll find these come in different materials including steel, stainless steel and thermoplastic depending on its use. If you want a sleek look, you might opt for the stainless steel but if you want something cheaper and darker, the plastic barrel grip in black is a great option.

Stainless steel ball handles can be attached easily with male externals

If you're looking to create storage enclosures for your stock, it's likely you'll need hinges and handles to connect your doors and open them easily too. WDS offer an extensive range of door, drawer and cupboard handles and furniture hardware from stock. The range includes:

We supply a variety of hinges with a range of loading capacities (this is dependent on the weight of your door); for example, you might want to consider a piano (also known as continuous) hinge for light to medium duty applications such as access doors however, if you're hanging a heavy, stainless steel door, a butt hinge may be more suitable as they are mortised into the door. There are other elements to consider when choosing the best hinge for your application. Concealed hinges are a good choice if you want the hinge to be hidden from sight either for aesthetic or tamper proofing reasons.

Check out a wide range of handles including bridge handles in stainless steel

We've covered a number of components that can be used in the food and beverages environment. In most situations, stainless steel is best because of its properties; click if you want to check out some handy fasteners to help you secure your pieces in place efficicently or find other helpful components widely used in the industry: gas struts, screwsend fittings, castors and our lever selection.

If you would like to place an order, you can do so online using our website or by calling a member of our Sales Team on 0333 043 5443. Our Technical Team are also available to help you should you need more support selecting the right product for you; just fill in our online contact form and let them know what you need a hand with and they'll get back in touch!