The right HMI for food processing machines
Machinesafe Compliance Ltd
Posted to News on 2nd Feb 2024, 14:00

The right HMI for food processing machines

Developing and integrating control panels or HMIs in machines for the food processing industry requires specialist knowledge, innovative design and production methods. SCHURTER develops and produces customised control panels that meet the highest requirements in the food sector.

The right HMI for food processing machines

Machines used in the food processing industry must meet a large number of requirements. Besides the demanding conditions under which work is carried out, hygiene and safety play an important role. Machines must comply with strict certification in the field of food safety. Operating these machines must be reliable, safe and efficient. The control panels should be integrated seamlessly, so that dirt and bacteria cannot accumulate in edges and seams.

Hygiene

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.

Seamless integration

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.

Frequent cleaning

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.

Safety

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.

Food industry HMI specialist

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. In co-creation, the company’s engineers work together with the client to fully tailor the HMI solution to the specifications of the application.

Because SCHURTER engineers think along from the early stages, they are able to develop customised solutions of the highest quality.


SCHURTER Ltd

29 Stocklake Industrial Estate
Pembroke Road
HP20 1DB
UNITED KINGDOM

+44 (0) 1296 319 000

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