Innovative flour mill protection

Jun 26, 2024 | Featured Article, Lifting The Lid

In the pursuit of maintaining high standards of safety in the food and drink industry, Belzona is constantly seeking innovative solutions to address challenges related to equipment maintenance and corrosion protection, explains Rhiannon McIver, Marketing Supervisor at Belzona.


Recently, after undergoing rigorous tests to ensure its suitability for dry food contact, a breakthrough has been achieved with the successful application of Belzona 5811DW2 (DW Immersion Grade), a cutting-edge protection system, in a flour mill in Belgium.

The food and drink industry is bound by strict regulations and guidelines to ensure the safety and quality of products. Food comes into contact with many materials and articles during its production, processing, storage, preparation and serving, before its eventual consumption. The European Food Safety Authority states that Food Contact Materials (FCMs) should be sufficiently inert so that their constituents neither adversely affect consumer health nor influence the quality of the food.

Flour mills, being a crucial part of the food supply chain, must adhere to these standards. Equipment used in the milling process, such as storage tanks, hoppers, chutes and conveyors, is prone to wear, corrosion, and degradation over time. Traditional coating solutions often fall short in providing a long-lasting, food-safe barrier.


EU Food Regulation 10/2011

EU food contact legislation covers the general rules applicable to all materials and articles intended to come into contact with foodstuffs (Regulation (EC) No. 1935/2004). For specific materials such as plastics, more detailed legislation has additionally been in place for several years.

Regulation (EU) 10/2011 sets out safety requirements for plastic materials and articles intended to co­­­­me into contact with food. This regulation is a specific measure for plastic food contact materials as mentioned in the European Framework Regulation (EC) 1935/2004.

This regulation applies not only to plastic food contact packaging but also to equipment such as food storage tanks, pipes, pumps, containers, conveyer belts, etc.


Approved for use

Belzona 5811DW2 (DW Immersion Grade) is a solvent-free coating initially designed for the protection of surfaces operating under potable water immersion or where potable water approval is required.

Reacting to customer demand, Belzona Distributor Perspect Benelux recently invested in comprehensive testing to evaluate the coating’s suitability for contact with dry foodstuffs.

Its customer, a large mill in Belgium that specialises in the production and development of physically treated wheat flour and mixes used as cake flour, sought a coating suitable for contact with flour which would provide long-term corrosion protection. Building on the success of achieving WRAS approval for contact with drinking water, Belzona 5811DW2 (DW Immersion Grade) was put forward as a possible solution.


Comprehensive testing

Confident in the performance, Perspect Benelux opted to have Belzona 5811DW2 (DW Immersion Grade) tested by the Belgian packaging institute IBE-BVI, which is an accredited independent laboratory according to ISO 17025 and recognised throughout Europe. Its results confirmed the coating’s compliance with specific requirements of European Regulation Nos. 1935/2004 and 10/2011 for prolonged contact with dry foodstuffs.

Perspect Benelux was able to provide tailored support to the customer, in collaboration with Belzona, by providing sufficient data and evidence to satisfy the customer that Belzona 5811DW2 (DW Immersion Grade) is safe and suitable for their specific needs and service conditions.

The positive results were recognised on completion of the project by the FAVV (Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain), which confirmed that application was completed according to the approved method using Belzona 5811DW2 (DW Immersion Grade).

The unique formulation of this Belzona coating not only ensures compliance with food safety regulations but also offers outstanding protection against corrosion and abrasion. It has been certified as non-leaching, with no harmful emissions or influences on dry food products and flour based on this customer’s specification.

This future-proof coating was also found to conform to the maximum limits of mineral oil aromatic hydrocarbons (MOAH), mineral oil saturated hydrocarbons (MOSH) and Polyolefin oligomeric saturated hydrocarbons (POSH).

The likelihood of these guidelines becoming a requirement in the near future is significant due to the new EU Food standards coming into place.

The results of the tests were not only promising but exceeded expectations, leading to the green light for the application to the internals of 30 flour storage tanks, representing some 6,000 square metres in total.


The issue

Due to the age of the installation, the original lining was blistering and there was a risk it could contaminate the product to be stored in the tanks. In order for the customer to re-use these old, out of service tanks, a new lining was required. Other linings were tested, but Belzona 5811DW2 (DW Immersion Grade) was the only one approved by the QA-QC department. The alternative would have been to build a new silo complex, which would have been extremely expensive.


Application process

The application of Belzona 5811DW2 (DW Immersion Grade) in the flour mill followed a meticulous process to ensure long-lasting protection. The steel surfaces of the tank to be coated were prepared, cleaned and blasted to the recommended standard of cleanliness, Swedish Standard Sa2.5, SSPC-SP10 (Near-White Metal), with a minimum profile of 3mil (76.2µm). Two coats were then applied by airless spray in cream, to a dry film thickness of 400µm (15.75mil).



Tested in accordance with parts of the Food Safety Regulations, Belzona 5811DW2 (DW Immersion Grade) meets some of the stringent requirements for materials in contact with dry foodstuffs, providing a reliable solution for compliance with regulatory standards.


Extended equipment lifespan: The robust nature of the lining enhances the durability of equipment, reducing the frequency of maintenance and replacement.


Solvent-free formulation: The lining’s solvent-free formulation means it is not only food-safe but also environmentally-friendly. This characteristic aligns with Belzona’s commitment to sustainable practices, prioritising the safety of both workers and the surrounding environment.


Corrosion resistance: Belzona 5811DW2 (DW Immersion Grade) acts as a barrier against corrosion, preventing the degradation of equipment and maintaining equipment integrity.


Improved operational efficiency: With reduced downtime for maintenance, flour mills can operate more efficiently, contributing to increased productivity and cost savings.


Future potential

The successful lining of 10 tanks (to date) with Belzona 5811DW2 (DW Immersion Grade) in this flour mill highlights the potential of this innovative lining being adopted into the maintenance practices of food manufacturers across Europe. As industries evolve, the implementation of such advanced solutions will become pivotal in ensuring a reliable and sustainable food supply chain.