ritterwerk GmbH was founded by Franz Ritter in 1905, and has been developing and manufacturing standalone and integrated home appliances to simplify everyday kitchen tasks ever since. The long-established Bavarian company is well known as a German producer of household appliances that specialises in all-purpose slicers for the home. As part of a design study, the company aimed to improve this product group in three ways: by optimising surface feel, appearance and, above all, the mechanical properties of the coated surfaces of the all-purpose slicers. Such components had, until that point, been coated using 1C baking coatings or water-soluble 2C PU coatings.
The challenges faced by the new coating system were in relation to compliance with international food safety legislation:
LFGB – Food and Feed Code
EC 1935/2004 Materials and articles (within the meaning of article 1 (2) of Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 October 2004 on materials and articles intended to come into contact with food).
EU10/2011 Plastic materials and articles intended to come into contact with food (Plastic Implementation Measure, PIM)
PAK category 1 ZEK01.4-08 Materials in direct contact with food, or materials intended to be put in the mouth and toys for children aged < 36 months. It was with these specifications that ritterwerk GmbH approached FreiLacke. After identifying the requirements to be met and determining which substrates would be used (die-cast aluminium, ABS and PA), it became clear that a range of coating systems would be needed. The coordination between the different coating systems was also important. A polyester powder coating with a custom curing agent base was selected for die-cast aluminium, while a water-soluble 2C PU system was chosen for plastic attachment parts.
Following a short development period, it was possible to present the first powder-coated prototypes. The surface met all optimisation requirements and was particularly impressive with respect to its mechanical properties. Once the metallic effect had been approved and the testing of all mechanical properties was complete, an independent institution got involved to review the requirements laid down in the aforementioned legislation. The results of all sensory tests, as well as total and specific migration results, were within normal limits.
As ritterwerk does not produce its own powder coatings, it was already in close contact with an established powder coater at this point. Once the powder coating obtained the necessary approvals, partner company GSO Oberflächentechnik GmbH in Geiselbullach received its first powder coating orders.
Once the powder coating requirements had been determined, FreiLacke began developing a water-soluble 2C metallic coating suitable for plastic attachment parts. Working closely with BoltaBundle GmbH from Diepersdorf, the job coater for the plastic parts, the coating was tailored to the coating system (existing application technology, drying times, etc.).
Various considerations were taken into account when preparing the formula in order for it to be approved for use by the intended target market. After the visual and mechanical properties of the water-soluble 2C metallic polyurethane coating had been approved by ritterwerk, it was positively reviewed by the independent institution (in the same way as the powder coating).
Thanks to the close cross-industry cooperation between FreiLacke and ritterwerk, as well as its suppliers GSO and BoltaBundle, an extensive project was successfully implemented. Furthermore, the expertise acquired with respect to coating surfaces that come into direct contact with food definitely holds great potential for FreiLacke.
Current approvals for coating Systems
FREIOTHERM-powder coating PK1003KR2277
EFDEDUR-hydro metallic effect coating WU1403GR2358 (mixing ratio 3:1 HU0060)
in accordance with the German Food and Feed Code (LFGB), Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004 as well as Regulation (EU) No 10/2011 as a basis for evaluation, are corresponding to the intended use described here (all-purpose slicer).
The products must be considered separately for other fields of application (different contact times, ambient temperatures, foodstuffs, etc.).