Rexnord flattop chains: Chugging along since the 1930s

If you had milk with your cereal this morning or a soft drink with your lunch, there’s a high chance the product you held in your hands travelled on a Rexnord conveyor chain at some point in its production or handling process to reach you. As a world leading manufacturer of conveying solutions, Rexnord’s conveying chains are adopted by many original equipment manufacturers in the food and beverage sector.

Rexnord introduced its ground-breaking FlatTop conveyor chains in 1938, starting with the straight-running 815 TableTop® stainless steel chain. These were the world’s first metal chains that integrated a top plate with hinge eyes, giving them the versatility to convey anything from individual units to packaged and cased goods.

The Rexnord FlatTop conveying chains, including the TableTop and MatTop® series, have since been expanded to offer many materials, types and grades, enabling the solutions to be used across a wide range of applications, from beverage filling to case handling, container making, food conveying and even automotive.

Rexnord’s conveying chains are supplied and supported in Australia through Industrial Solutions Australia businesses – namely CBC, BSC and Webster BSC.

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Schaeffler bearings support food processing and packaging

In food and beverage manufacturing, filling and packaging are the final steps before the products can be finally shipped out to customers. As such, any bottlenecks in the filling or packaging process can hamper the entire plant’s operation and – in case of perishable foodstuff – send large quantities of product to waste.

Food packaging machines like bottle and jar fillers, tray packers, shrink wrappers and palletisers all have one thing in common: They all rely on rolling and linear motion bearings to carry out their repeated motions, from putting caps on bottles to folding the boxes for the final packaging.

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Cultivating success: An Australian business’ journey to growth

“Maintaining hay balers is often very challenging because they are used in a very dusty environment; so you need chains that are good quality and you can get good usage out of them,” says Nathan Duffield, general manager and co-owner of ND & JA Giles in South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula.

For the small family business that supports the local agricultural industry with mechanical repair services, Diamond chains sourced through CBC have proven to be even more reliable than the genuine chains on the machines.

“Often times when a hay baler comes in for servicing and if the chain needs replacing, we use the corresponding Diamond chains to replace the old chains,” says Duffield.

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Food production unchained: Considering the viability of belt drives

When asked ‘Why aren’t more food and beverage manufacturers considering the viability of belt drives versus chain drives in their processes?’ CBC sales representative Steve Cutajar says he thinks they absolutely should.

“The synchronous belt technology is a relatively new technology whereas roller chains have been used across the industry for many years. That’s why some manufacturers are still hesitant to try belt drives in their operations. But synchronous belt technology has come a long way in recent years and today, belts can easily replace chains in many power transmission applications.”

Steve uses an example from one of CBC’s clients, a major food processing company in Adelaide that produces grain by-products for export. Using the Timken Panther XT synchronous belts to replace chain drives, the company generated cost savings of $26,000 over six years.

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Making hay bales look sexy

Schutz Industries, a company based in Eudanda township in South Australia, has been a market leader in manufacturing complete hay press plant lines for the past 20 years.

With customers all across Australia and a booming hay export industry, Schutz Industries’ purchasing officer Mark Waldhuter says business has never been better.

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Industrial crimped hose assembly safety best practices for the food industry

Neglected hose assemblies can pose serious risks to food and beverage plants. Unfortunately, they are overlooked too often.

Steve Glatz, sales and marketing manager at Dixon Australia, says premature failures of hose assemblies can arise from a host of different reasons.

“Improper application is the most common cause of failure. The maximum operating pressure of the hose, the recommended temperature and the fluid compatibility of the
hose are all factors that should be considered.”

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Safe sealing solutions for the food industry

When a major food manufacturer experienced leakage from four-pin mixers keeping margarine under high pressure rotation, the mechanical seals were found to be the source of the problem.

Seal Innovations, part of the Industrial Solutions Australia group of businesses (namely CBC and BSC) took up the challenge of repairing, testing and re-assembling the mixers within a week to get the plant up and running.

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Bakery relationship on the rise

As the Paul Kelly song goes, from little things big things grow – and this perfectly describes the relationship that has formed between a large bakery operation and the CBC Braeside branch in southeast Melbourne. 

Recently, the bakery undertook a maintenance programme, for which they required the Rexnord Marbett conveyor bearings. CBC State Sales Manager, Leon Stefanec says these bearings are designed to withstand washdowns – which is necessary in any food manufacturing operation. Read more

Why HPC v-belts are ideal for the F&B industry and how to install them

High Performance Composite (HPC) PowerTwist v-belts by Fenner Drives incorporate custome composite materials that provide them with better power ratings under harsh industrial conditions.

According to Steve Hittmann, CBC’s National Product Manager for Mechanical Drivesystems and Belt Drives, these belts can last up to 15 times longer than conventional rubber v-belts in extreme temperatures and heavy washdown applications.

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Sugar mills run sweet

When a major sugar mill in Queensland was forced to stop production due to a failed planetary gear unit in their mud filter, the CBC Townsville branch offered a Bonfiglioli 300 series planetary gear unit as a replacement.

CBC Power Transmission Application Engineer Brad Shepherd explains why the Bonfiglioli unit’s robust design was critical to ensuring the mill resumed production with minimal delays.

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Over 100 years of serving the industry

In 1917, when Frederick Knuckey first established his blacksmith shop in Winchelsea in regional Victoria, he wouldn’t have imagined that the name Knuckey would one day appear on nationally and internationally recognised agricultural machines, with the family business still going strong, four generations and over 100 years later.

Today, Knuckeys Agricultural Engineering employs 17 full time employees and several casual staff at its Winchelsea facility, from where it supplies a wide range of farming equipment throughout Australia – both from its own range of in-house developed agricultural machinery and as an authorised supplier for leading international brands.

Knuckeys’ two latest released products, the Air Seeder and Precision Sowing System, have received wide-spread attention from farmers across Australia, as well as globally. The Knuckey Precision Sowing System earned the title of The Australian Agricultural Machine of the Year at the 2019 Elmore Machinery Field Days.

Warwick Knuckey, who operates the family business along with his brother, father and uncle, believes the secret behind the success of Knuckeys’ products is that they are developed in collaboration with the farmers.

“We value the opportunity to work side by side with farmers in our region to understand the challenges they are facing so that what we produce is not just a machine, but a complete solution,” says Warwick.

“Throughout our journey as an agricultural machinery producer, we have always enjoyed challenging the status-quo and coming up with products that are innovative and cutting-edge. Some examples of these are the 12-metre wide Knuckey Southern Seeder and the High Capacity Dual Pickup Front, which is the first of its kind in the world,” he adds.

Jonathan King, branch manager at CBC’s Geelong branch, says CBC has enjoyed supporting Knuckeys’ engineering and manufacturing work for over 30 years.

“CBC is proud to be supporting Knuckeys’ with chains and bearing for their equipment, which include the Timken spherical roller bearing solid-block housed units,” he says. “Knuckeys’ harvesting equipment provide solutions for real world applications and they are built to the highest standards of quality.”

Knuckeys Agricultural Engineering is a Silver Award winner at the Let’s Roll: Australian Business Awards 2020. To learn more about the Awards, click here.

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Rolling ahead with Kingsway Welding solutions

Kingsway Welding is no ordinary welding and repair business. Based near Minlaton on the Yorke Peninsula of South Australia, the family business has been manufacturing unique farming equipment for the past 30 years that address some of the most common problems for farmers in their region and beyond.

Snail contamination in grains is one such headache that the company is helping farmers with. Yorke Peninsula was in fact the first region in Australia where the slimy invaders first emerged nearly a century ago, slowly finding their way through other parts of the country. Kingsway Welding produces single and double snail rollers capable of crushing up to 80 tonnes of snails per hour.

Manager Nicholas Cook says Kingsway Welding’s snail rollers are simple to use and very user-friendly.

Kingsway Welding’s snail rollers crush up to 80 tonnes of snails per hour.

“We’ve been making snail rollers for the past 10 years and currently supply to customers in South Australia and Western Australia. With the problem becoming more serious in other states and the silos rejecting the contaminated grains, we plan to broaden our reach to help more farmers deal with this problem.”

Kingsway Welding also specialises in the repair and manufacture of heavy-duty rollers, including stone rollers and triple farm rollers.

Workshop manager Craig Piller says Kingsway’s triple rollers are among the largest and the most heavy-duty rollers in the industry.

“Our rollers are extremely heavy-duty and can be made to order in sizes ranging from 9 metres (30ft) to 15 metres (50ft). Some of our rollers have been working in the field for over 15 years without needing any major repair. We also use hydraulic transport wheels in our designs, which makes them easy to move around without damaging the bitumen.”

Brenton Jones, senior sales representative at CBC, says CBC has enjoyed supporting Kingsway Welding through its growing phase, supplying them with parts and consumable products required at their workshop.

“Kingsway Welding’s products are manufactured to a very high quality of workmanship and just like they helps farmers in South Australia, they have the potential to solve similar problems for farmers in other states.”

Kingsway Welding is a Silver Award winner at the Let’s Roll: Australian Business Awards 2020. To learn more about the Awards, click here.

Staying a ‘cut’ ahead

How Midwest Fabrication, a Queensland-based manufacturer of grain harvesting equipment, grew from building the first machine for their own farm to gaining national recognition for their products in just over two decades is the material great Aussie success stories are made of.

Martin Schutt, a second-generation grain farmer started Midwest on his family farm north of Moonie in Queensland. After purchasing his first combine harvester in 1998, Martin was frustrated with the performance of the imported cutting platforms and thought he could improve the design to gain better efficiencies in the field.

Starting from a basic sketch drawn around the kitchen table, the Schutt family were able to develop their first cutting platform in the workshop and test it in the field. The platform soon received national recognition from the contract harvesting community for its simple and efficient design. Orders started pouring in forcing the business to relocate to Dalby to be able to meet the increasing demands.

The company is renowned for its innovation winning multiple awards including Best New Innovation Award, Best Australian Agricultural Machine, Best Manufacturing Business and Business of the Year.
Martin says Midwest was the first manufacturer in the world to build a 12 metre (40 ft) front in 1998, and the 15 metre fronts followed a decade later. The advancements in innovation continue to set the standards and benchmark leading the world in grain harvesting technology now producing a whopping 18.3 metre (60 ft) harvest front, another world first.

But Midwest Fabrication’s innovations did not stop there. Over the years, the company has grown its range of draper platforms to suit different applications and fit all major combine harvester brands. Additionally, the company also produces a wide range of accessories and spare parts for its cutting platforms, including cutting knives specially designed for Australian farming conditions.

Midwest’s sole goal is to help increase harvesting efficiency for farmers and contact harvesters while reducing overheads and running costs. The wider drapers mean customers are working their harvesters to maximum capacity, saving time, fuel costs and receiving better return on their investments.

Midwest Fabrication has built a highly successful Australia wide dealer network consisting of 92 Agricultural dealers supporting our product nationally and are currently in the process of developing a one-acre factory in Dalby to bring its engineering and manufacturing facilities under one roof.
Martin believes such a rapid growth by a family business would not have been possible without dedication to continuous improvement and innovation.

“It’s only through constant improvement and being innovative that we’ve been able to achieve what we have achieved. Ever since we built our first unit, we’ve been up against some of the largest global agricultural machinery manufacturers; but through constant innovation, we’ve been able to remain ahead of the competition.

Over the past 16 years, Midwest Fabrication has been working with CBC Australia – as the largest supplier of bearings and industrial parts in Australia – to source components for its in-house designed products.

Martin says the collaboration with CBC has enabled Midwest Fabrication to refine its products further, making them more efficient and durable.

“We are continually improving the mechanical design of our products. In one example, CBC helped us replace the original four-band ‘B’ type v-belts on the main drive with the Gates high-strength Predator belts, and more recently we improved the design again and introduced the Gates Polychain carbon belts, providing a more efficient, quieter and cooler running drive belt.”

Warren Beale, CBC’s Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) manager for Queensland, says apart from being a key supplier, CBC also offers engineering and design supports to Midwest Fabrication where required.

“After so many years of working with Midwest Fabrication and holding regular meetings to understand their requirements, we now have a very clear understanding of the products they need each harvest season. This allows CBC to maintain the right stock level for Midwest Fabrication to meet its requirements when their demand is at its peak.

“Additionally, we also help them with engineering support and application-specific information. This might be helping with product improvements as it was in the case of the Gates Polychain belt upgrades or suggesting alternative components to make the designs lighter and more efficient,” he says.
Commenting on winning the Gold prize for Motion Asia Pacific’s Let’s Roll: Australian Business Awards 2020, Martin says the win is a result of hard work put forward by the team, as much as a result of engineering excellence and innovation.

“This award is also a recognition of our staff’s skills, their dedication to the business and their pride in their workmanship. If not for them, we would not be here today,” says Martin.

“As business owners, it is easy to get lost in the day-to-day running and focussing on keeping the wheels turning and not celebrate the successes when they come along. This recognition is a great reminder for us to reflect on what we have built over the years from that sketch around the kitchen table, our significant growth, and the exciting future ahead of Midwest.”

Midwest Fabrication is a Gold Award winner at the Let’s Roll: Australian Business Awards 2020. To learn more about the Awards, click here

Supplying the next generation of manufacturing

Every day for the past 60 years, manufacturers around Australia and New Zealand have visited one of more than 100 Motion Asia Pacific locations, formerly known collectively as Inenco. These store-fronts and branches, spread across every Australian state and the Northern Territory, have become a fixture for the manufacturing industry, whether it be a BSC, CBC, Hardy Spicer, Speciality Fasteners or any of the other businesses owned by Inenco.

Such has been their longevity and brand presence; each business has continued to stand alone while under the Inenco ownership umbrella. However, since 2019, when Genuine Parts Company, owner of US industrial distribution brand Motion Industries, bought Inenco, work has been underway to combine these businesses under the Motion Asia Pacific brand.

CEO of Motion Asia Pacific, Roger Jowett, said that this will directly benefit each customer who may not have been aware of all the individual parts of Inenco.

“We are still somewhat dysfunctional in that we’ll have two, three, or four salespeople visit the same customer. We’ll do great things, but we’ll produce four invoices. For us it’s the first step in pulling things together.”

By bringing together the distinct businesses under the Motion Asia Pacific name, customers will find it easier to source a range of parts and products.

“We’re helping to reduce transactional costs and increase access to a deeper range of offerings. Reducing suppliers is a strategic aim for many industrial businesses as they want to have an uncluttered supply chain. You don’t want thousands of different suppliers, some of whom they might spend not a lot of money with,” said Jowett.

The efficiencies go beyond the physical objects supplied and will enable each of the Motion Asia Pacific businesses to improve how they work together. In addition to the bearings, seals, and power transmission products the company can supply, the wealth of knowledge built up within the business can be brought to bear on a solution.

“For example, when we supply a Hardy Spicer hydraulic hose with fittings it is tailored to the application,” said Jowett. “Often a poorly installed part can lead to ongoing problems, so that advisory service that wraps around the product, those are the things we work hard on.”

The people providing this service, the application engineers, may have an additional logo on their sleeve, but the experience will remain.

“We’ve got some of the best people who are very knowledgeable about specific applications,” said Jowett. “They’re not just selling you something in a box, they’re helping you find an alternative and ensure that it’s configured correctly and part of a solution comprising belts, cogs, pulleys, chains, and bearings.”

Soon Jowett sees Motion Asia Pacific as creating go-to destinations in each location it serves, combining products, technology, and knowledge.

“The people in those businesses who have been working with us for 10, 20, to 30 years, they have such a depth of knowledge and experience and in some instances know how the assets operate in the customer’s premises better than the person in charge because they have lived with it from day one of installation,” said Jowett.

Backed by #1
Partnering with Motion Asia Pacific allows for local manufacturing businesses to tap into a global database of expertise in industrial products. Motion Industries brings formidable know-how to the Australian market.

The company has annual sales in excess of $9.3 billion and is enabling Motion Asia Pacific to provide the same level of training and support to its staff around Australia.

“Our employees already knew Motion Industries from the US,” said Jowett. “They go on to YouTube and download their videos and now we can package up all of that for training.”
The company’s size also enables Motion Asia Pacific to scale-up local operations.

“We’re adopting our own version of their operating system covering all of our descriptions and copying what they’d already built in terms of that collateral in the database,” said Jowett.

There are also opportunities to save transport costs and increase procurement, but what Jowett sees as most important is the approach Motion has taken to digitally connecting with the customer, what he calls an omni-channel approach. This combines the existing face-to-face contact and the expertise that is only available when a supplier can be hands-on with a customer, with a seamless online offering covering sales, associated collateral such as brochures and videos, and customer analytics. Backing this up is the experience of operating in the most sophisticated logistics supply market in the world, said Jowett.
“There is the ability to get any product, anywhere overnight. You might need this in Alaska, and I’ve got it in Florida, and I’ll get it to you tomorrow. It is mind-blowing capability.”

To achieve this in Australia, one also has to overcome a highly dispersed population across a huge continent. Motion Asia Pacific will take the best ideas from the North American market and apply them here.

“We don’t want to be touching the product too many times, we just want to glide it to you,” said Jowett. “Of course, when you can see how it works in North America you bring ideas about how to make us a little bit smarter and faster.”

Supplying the manufacturing renaissance
Embedding the change from Inenco to Motion Asia Pacific has come at a time where the manufacturing sector in Australia has undergone a wholesale re-evaluation in the eyes of the wider population. No longer bemoaning the death of Australian manufacturing, now the exhortation is to buy local, and not just when it comes to food and drink.

Having seen changes in industrial composition occur in other countries in the region where Motion Asia Pacific has businesses, including New Zealand, Indonesia, and Southeast Asia, Jowett highlights that our neighbours provide an indication of where manufacturing might be headed.

“We have a very strong business in New Zealand called SAECOWilson and we have watched as New Zealand deindustrialised over 20 years ago when car manufacturing ceased,” said Jowett. “What we’ve seen over the years is that manufacturing has blossomed, with some incentives from government and a really good engineering capability, and now there are some world-class manufacturing operations in New Zealand.”

Jowett describes the manufacturing landscape in New Zealand as akin to a start-up ecosystem, with manufacturers able to experiment with short runs of products to a smaller market while leveraging global best-practice. Here, Motion Asia Pacific can be the conduit between their suppliers who are located in the industrial powerhouses of Asia, Europe, and North America, and the businesses in Australia and New Zealand.

“It’s more these nimble, value-add manufacturers and that leads to more specialist engineering applications, with a heavy dose of design,” said Jowett.

Being linked to markets in North America also allowed Motion Asia Pacific to bring the latest innovations to the local market as they come online.
“One of the things that we’re quite excited about is how our Motion colleag
ues in America have been investing in spare parts for robotics, and asking themselves as a traditional industrial parts distributor, ‘How are we going to be relevant in 10 years when we know our customers are changing faster than us in terms of their manufacturing techniques?’”

Continuing its focus on being the local advisor to their customers, Motion Asia Pacific will be looking at how it can bring these new products to their customers.

“We serve everything from the local repair shop that’s fixing trailers through to the big miners, and all the food and aggregates and agriculture in-between, so we’re quite flexible at working out the appropriate stocking programs,” said Jowett.

Investing in local capability
Just as much as the new wave of manufacturing will be assisted by the newest products and technology, Jowett also knows that it is the people who put these devices together who are the lifeblood of Australian manufacturing. For this reason, Motion Asia Pacific is continuing to do its part to train the next generation of manufacturers.

“For the past four years we have had a regular intake of mechanical engineering graduates in their last year. They’ve done 14 weeks of work placement and we’ve retained a fair number of them once they graduate and they become the application engineers,” said Jowett.

The program has had success with diversifying the industrial workforce, including those from regional backgrounds and women. This is important, Jowett notes, to ensure that the businesses that Australian manufacturers have relied upon for 60 years will be around for the next 60.

“It’s critical to understand how some people look at the same problem a different way and come up with maybe the same solution or a different one. It keeps us relevant. The world out there is diverse and it’s very important for a traditional business to drive harder and harder in that direction.”

Motion Asia Pacific is also ensuring that its own workforce will stick around and developing their skills to handle the next generation of manufacturing.

“Our business is made up of people who were fitters, mechanics, drivers, warehouse workers. They join us and they progress through our organisation. We invest in them, and they can get qualified all the way to some of our leaders with MBA sponsorship,” said Jowett.

These programs will be extended and developed further, as graduates are able to tap into the knowledge found in Motion Industries in North America.

“We’ve already had some of our younger people doing internships on software and marketing projects in the USA with Motion Industries and you can see their eyes light up.”

Jowett notes that the logos and familiar faces that Australian manufacturers are used to won’t disappear, and will instead be Motion Asia Pacific’s crown jewels, backed up by a global commitment to bring the best parts and expertise in the world to Australia.

Why metal free anti-seize is a suitable choice for food manufacturers

Excessive corrosion and the subsequent seizure of metal connections is a common problem with assemblies in all industries, particularly so in high-moisture environments in the food industry. When nuts and bolts in the equipment seize up, it makes their disassembly and reassembly a challenge, resulting in unnecessary downtime during maintenance.

According to industry specialist Michael Rowe, who is the Product Manager of Adhesives and Sealants at CBC, using Anti-Seize lubricants while assembling the machinery parts is the best way to avoid maintenance issues down the line.

“There are many reasons why metal assemblies get corroded and seize-up over time. Obviously higher exposure to moisture, heat and pressure accelerates the deterioration of metal assemblies. But by applying the right Anti-Seize products on the bolt treads, the rust and the subsequent seizure can be avoided.”

As a key distributor of lubricants and adhesive solutions in Australia, CBC works closely with Henkel Australia to facilitate the sale of LOCTITE products, with the brand offering a number of safe, metal free Anti-Seize formulations for industries that have safety as a top priority.

But what constitutes Anti-Seize products and why is it important to purchase the right grade of the product for each purpose?

“Anti-Seize lubricants are specialty lubricants that reduce friction between threaded and matted metal parts as well as prevent corrosion and seizure of parts under pressure and at high temperatures. Essentially, they are two-part systems that comprise of a base grease and special fillers that provide the compound with its Anti-Seizing, anti-corrosion properties,” explains Michael.

While most Anti-Seize lubricants used widely in industry user copper, nickel, aluminium and zinc, as well as other heavy metals as the filler compound, LOCTITE is among very few brands that offer the metal free formulation.

Stefano Giacometti, Application Engineer at Henkel Australia, says not many people are aware of how much Anti-Seize products have advanced over time and that metal free Anti-Seize compounds can offer the same benefits as the metal-based grades while being safer for the workers as well as for the environment.

“Quite often when I go to a maintenance facility that is using a traditional copper or nickel-based Anti-Seize product, I find that they are not aware that better choices are now available. LOCTITE is at the forefront of introducing new technologies and our portfolio of Anti-Seize products is a good proof of that,” Stefano says.

LOCTITE portfolio includes six different Anti-Seize formulations, which in addition to the conventional metal-based Anti-Seize products offer two metal free grades for companies looking to enhance the safety levels at their plants and workshops.

Stefano says the LOCTITE Heavy Duty Anti-Seize functions on all metals including galvanized iron, stainless steel, brass, aluminium and soft metals between -29°C and +1315°C. LOCTITE Heavy Duty Anti-Seize has been formulated to resist higher temperatures than most other anti-seize products on the market.

“The LOCTITE Heavy Duty Metal Free Anti-Seize uses graphite as the solid filler, using this type of Anti-Seize with stainless steel fasteners, prevents galling from occurring, as this product more effectively lubricates the surfaces. It is widely used in industries where metal-based Anti-Seize use is prohibited or regarded as unsafe.  To assist CBC customers in changing out current used copper or nickel based Anti-Seize, the team at Henkel can provide testing on fastening systems, ensuring correct lubricity is achieved to provide correct clamp force for assemblies,” he explains.

The LOCTITE Food Grade Anti-Seize is another metal free Anti-Seize specifically designed to meet the requirements of food manufacturers, says Stefano.

“Safety is obviously a big aspect in the food and beverage industry. The LOCTITE Food Grade Anti-Seize is NSF H1 rated for incidental food contract and is one of the few such products available in the market,” he explains.

Apart from the choice of the right Anti-Seize product, Stefano says following health and safety precautions is key to using chemical products safely.

“When you are dealing with chemicals, you need to refer to the material safety data sheet which will tell you what safety gear to use. We are happy to work with our distributors at CBC to help educate our customers on the latest products available for their purposes, as well as to ensure the safe use of these products,” he concludes.

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