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What Is A Food Grade Hoist? (Parts, Properties, Examples)

Short Answer

A food-grade hoist moves food products from one point to another in a food processing room or building. You will mostly find them in slaughterhouses, transferring meat inside the facility. They lift, move, and lower heavy loads of food to designated points.

food grade hoists

Initial Thoughts

Food-grade hoists are generally used in various industries to lift and lower various loads. However, they are designed differently than most hoists that do not need to be held to the standard of those handling food products.

The food and beverage industry is among other manufacturing and processing sectors that require food-grade hoists in their daily operations. There are several types of hoists available to choose from. Yet, what you choose should depend on a number of factors.

In this article, we detail all of the necessary information about food-grade hoists and how to choose the right one(s) for your project. So let’s jump right in.

Introduction To Food Grade Hoists

For food processing, electric or air-powered chain hoists are often used because they are easier to clean compared to wire rope hoists. They possess a weight lifting capacity that should be maintained to avoid damage.

Food-grade hoists are made from thick, moisture-free material to prevent corrosion that could result in food poisoning. The hoist material is not difficult to clean and uses a food-grade lubricant that cannot adulterate the food being processed.

Food-grade hoists must maintain high hygienic standards to ensure final food products are safe and of high quality. It is possible to get a customized food-grade hoist that fulfills your specific needs.

Standard Components of a Hoist

The food-grade hoist is made of different parts, which play an integral role in overseeing the functionality of the equipment. Some parts are common in all hoists, but others are only present in particular types depending on the industry in question.

A standard hoist consists of the following parts:

  • Lift and lower motor: this is the rotating centerpiece of the hoist that uses standard voltage to move loads hooked into the equipment from one point to another.
  • The suspension hook: defines the linking part of the hoist and the food material being lifted or lowered.
  • Load chain/cable, wire: this component links the lower hook to the raising apparatus.
  • Hook latch: this protective device bolts the hook into the load to stop the load from unexpectedly dropping.
  • Lower hook: it straps the load that is to be lifted.
  • Upper hook: this hook secures the food-grade hoist to the beam, providing support.
  • Drum and rope guide: it is a part that directs and wraps the rope/chain/cable as the lifting or lowering happens.
  • Limit switch: responsible for restricting the hooks’ up and down motion.

These components are standard on almost every hoist. However, there are also some unique things that make a hoist food grade. Let’s take a look at those components.

What Makes a Hoist Food Grade?

There are three main properties a hoist must have if it is to be considered food-grade. The hoist must be stainless steel, the hoist must be de-rated, and food-grade lubricant must be used. If a hoist has all of these then it is food-grade.

  • Stainless Steel: A stainless steel hoist and chain protect against bacteria and corrosion which are needed in a food-grade environment.
  • De-Rate: To de-rate a hoist means to move up the capacity rating. So, if you need to lift a 2-ton load, you will actually need a hoist with a 3-ton capacity, not a 2-ton capacity. The reason for this is that stainless steel is actually weaker than the steel used in standard hoists.
  • Food-Grade Lubricant: Standard lubricant is not safe for handling food, beverages, and pharmaceuticals. Therefore, a plant-based lubricant is used that will not contaminate the target load.

Who Needs a Food-Grade Hoist?

A food-grade hoist is a requisite in the food industry, as it is labor and time-saving. Notably, food-grade hoists can work continuously without breaking down, which makes them a piece of must-have equipment for most processing industries.

Furthermore, it is easy to control the hoist’s working speed. All these features make it crucial equipment in several processing setups. It can streamline operations in the following industries.

Food Processors

Food processing establishments maximize their productivity in terms of labor and time-saving using the hoist. There are different food-grade models to select from, depending on the workload of a food production facility. If a food-grade model costs more, it means its functionality is unmatched.

Commercial Kitchens

Food-grade hoists can work in commercial kitchens, where high levels of cleanliness are observed too. Commercial food is prepared in large quantities; for that reason, a lot of food material movement occurs, making it essential to have a food-grade hoist.

Beverage Industries

Drinks and beverage businesses can also use a food-grade hoist to lift and lower loads during their operations. Food-grade hoists can function in limited spaces, hence minimizing foot movement.

Pharmaceutical Companies

The pharmaceutical sector can utilize food-grade hoists since they meet the required hygienic standards. They also work in explosion-prone environments, making them a suitable option for pharmaceutical companies.

Food-Grade vs Clean-Room Hoist

Food-grade hoists are made of corrosion-resistant stainless steel and are typically operational in commercial kitchens together with food processing facilities. Ideally, food processing industries may not use cleanroom hoists because the rooms where food-grade hoists operate are frequently sanitized.

Unlike food-grade hoists, cleanroom hoists are used in the pharmaceutical sector because of their ability to mitigate contaminants or microorganisms that are detrimental to the products.

Clean rooms have zero tolerance to contamination because dust particles can easily affect their functionality, which could lead to product poisoning. They are frequently wiped to avoid dust build-up.

In addition, they function in air purified environments. The hoist helps to maintain high levels of hygiene standards required in pharmaceutical environments. Like food-grade hoists, cleanroom hoists are also made of corrosion-free stainless steel.

Standards for Food-Grade Equipment

Every industry observes standards that guide equipment usage. The same applies to food-grade equipment, where certain levels of hygiene should be observed. Qualities for food-grade equipment as defined by the NSF are as follows:

  • Equipment surfaces should be easy to clean and not prone to creases, cracks, or breaks to minimize leakage probability
  • Equipment should be made of stainless steel or any other material that is not absorbent and toxic, as well as remains strong under normal operations.
  • The design of joints and fittings should meet sanitary standards
  • Weight limits should be followed to hinder hoist damage that can be extended to food products
  • Chains and ropes should be oiled using a food-grade lubricant

There are a lot of features that food-grade hoists have. For instance, they have a remote-control feature. The load limit attribute protects the hoist from lifting extra weight. Additionally, lifting speed is also controllable.

Such characteristics result in high production that cannot be accomplished through manual means. Food-grade hoists are available in different models, sizes, and prices.

Food-Grade Hoist Manufacturer List

Searching to find the right equipment can be a daunting task at times. Truly, there are a number of manufacturers that produce food-grade hoists. To shorten your search, we wanted to provide a list of some of the top manufacturers in the industry. Please contact us if you need help finding the right product for you.

The following is a short list of manufacturers producing food-grade hoists:

  • Harrington Hoists (NER-FG)
  • CM (Lodestar NEMA 4, 4X)
  • DavidRound (Series 304)
  • Kito (ER2, FER2)
  • Elephant (Super 100)
  • Chester Hoists (Zephyr)

Food-Grade Hoists For Sale

At, we offer a wide variety of hoists, including food-grade hoists for sale. The three models that we recommend are the Harrington NER, the CM Lodestar, and the Budgit Manguard.

These hoists must have the proper modifications in order for them to be considered food-grade. However, we can provide a custom quote that includes these modifications and determines what will best suit the needs of your project.

Final Thoughts

Food-grade hoists are used to lift and lower heavy loads that require a greater degree of cleanliness than standard hoisting equipment. Although classified as “food-grade,” these hoists are actually used in several industries including food, beverage, pharmaceutical, and more.

There are several components that make a hoist “food-grade” such as the type of lubricant used on the equipment and the steel that it’s made out of. One distinction worth noting is that food-grade hoists are not the same as clean-room hoists.

The hoists that we recommend for food-grade applications are the Harrington NER, the CM Lodestar, and the Budgit Manguard. However, it’s best to contact us before ordering to ensure the correct modifications are made.

If you need help finding the right hoist for you, reach out to our team and we’ll be happy to steer you in the right direction.