High-Pressure Tubing Supports Sterilization Process for Baby Carrots

A leading high-pressure fittings supplier recently selected Sandvik HP 160 tubing for the successful food processing and cutting of baby carrots.

The background

Producers have traditionally used conventional thermal processing sterilization, but it has been linked to a reduction in the freshness and quality of final products. This led the industry to recently adopt a high-pressure processing method, which is a popular technique due to its ability to help retain the nutritional properties of food by avoiding heat use.

The new process for food sterilization has now been adopted for processing baby carrots, which are the single most popular root vegetable sold in the United States.

Baby carrots were originally invented in 1986 when farmer Mike Yurosek wanted to find an alternative option to discarding misshapen carrots that grew in fields. Yurosek and his team decided to cut unwanted carrots into perfectly shaped baby carrots using a potato peeler, which turned out to be so successful that the idea has since been adapted and grown into the commercial use you see today.

The application requires high-pressure tubing that can withstand extreme conditions during the sterilization of baby carrots for customers. Under the process, food is placed into a vessel with high-pressure intensifier pumps, which are pressured to approximately 6,000 bar or 87,000 psi. It can take several minutes to reach the desired pressure, which can cause fatigue cracking in the tubing.

When pressure moves slowly through the tubes it can create harmful effects, compromising the quality of products, which can lead to financial implications if the food fails to meet regulatory standards.

The solution

When using high-pressure tubing for extreme conditions it’s important to have a product that can meet the specific challenges required.

Sandvik HP 160 is a high-strength nitrogen-alloyed austenitic stainless steel with high corrosion resistance. Additionally, HP 160 can carry out an autofrettage process up to 12,000 bar. The pressure resistance is guaranteed by the very smooth internal diameter surface increasing the overall reliability of the piping system.

The result

Due to the quality and high-performance material grade of Sandvik’s HP 160 tubes, the overall reliability of the piping system increased. By allowing the correct pressure to move through the tubes with no autofrettage, it eliminated fatigue cracking in the tubing. This capability ensures that when food like baby carrots is sterilized through the pressure processing method, it’s not only safe but it also extends shelf life as it retains the nutritional properties that would be lost in the thermal food sterilization process.