Health care is an integral part of most peoples daily routine, and increasingly we rely on products of natural/organic origin. A company based in Lodi (Italy) with sales points throughout the country, is specialised in the creation and marketing of natural products.
Among the various production facilities the company operates is a new laboratory constructed entirely of stainless steel. The laboratory is devoted to the extraction and purification of essences and perfumes obtained from medicinal herbs, and plant biomass in general.
The laboratory contains various types of extractors designed to handle all the various parts of a plant.
Given the ambitious objectives of the project, the selection of stainless steel as the material of construction was practically obligatory. Grade EN 1.4404 (AISI 316L) was specified for all areas which come into contact with plant products. Grade EN 1.4301 (AISA 304) was chosen for all of the fittings welded to these parts and also for the remaining equipment within the laboratory, including carpentry (stairs, handrails, etc.).
Two of the many reasons why stainless steel was selected for the laboratory are the ease of cleaning the extractors, and the ability to sterilise the systems and pipes. Even minimal contamination could produce an alteration within the fragrances produced and a variation of the olfactory properties of the product. Furthermore, sterilisation in this process is essential to eliminate all bacteria normally contained in an organic matrix. With this in mind, all of the equipment which comes into contact with the product is characterised by a glossy mirror finish with an average roughness of less than 0.5 µm. The same type of finish is also found in the working environment outside the machines, in this case also for aesthetic purposes.
Full stainless construction
Particular attention was paid to the washroom and to the drainage channels, which are made entirely of stainless steel EN 1.4301. The profile of the channels is such that it does not retain any wastewater, as it is equipped with a continuous slope towards the final discharge point. Staircases providing entry into the laboratory were also constructed in stainless steel EN 1.4301 as were the raised extractors, and the walkways which was imprinted with an anti-slip surface.
The laboratory also includes EN 1.4404 stainless steel pipes for the process lines, compressed air lines and lines dedicated to demineralised water distribution.
Seamless EN 1.4301 pipes were used for the various high-pressure lines.
All welds in the plant were made using the TIG technique in an inert atmosphere.
Finally, materials such as EN 1.4301 and EN 1.4541 (AISI 321) were specified for fasteners and bolts to avoid any galling.