Conveyor lubricant for stainless steel chains that saves water

Technical Session 15: Cleaning & Packaging Session
Chad A Thompson, Ecolab
Co-author(s): Don Rich, New Belgium Brewing, USA

ABSTRACT: Conveyor lubricants designed to save lubricant dilution water have become known as “dry lubricants.” Over the last 10 years the industry has seen the successful development of dry lubricants for plastic conveyor chains, and the use of these dry lubricants has grown substantially in that application. Stainless steel conveyors, however, present unique challenges for dry lubricant application, including persistence to chain material, cleanliness, microbiological growth, and cost-effectiveness. This presentation will discuss the development process of dry lubricants for steel and how these hurdles are addressed. It will discuss the laboratory and field testing, data collection, test method development, and new analytical methods. The presentation will also include how one brewery analyzed the dry lubricant offerings in the marketplace and the decision-making process they went through when starting a new product. It will conclude with results (water savings, drier floors, foam level, performance) from an installation at New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Chad Thompson has over 19 years of experience in brewing, and in 2007 joined the Brewery group in the Food & Beverage Division of Ecolab, Inc. His responsibilities include the development and commercialization of conveyor lubrication products. He has been brewing for 14 years and has been with Ecolab for 7 years. During his time at Ecolab he has contributed to numerous business segments within the corporation. Chad is a contributing member to the Master Brewers Association of the Americas (MBAA) and received an Honorable Mention for Best Paper in 2009. He received a degree from Michigan State University in packaging engineering and has been granted three patents for his work.