Silicone food release coatings to streamline quality processing
Food-grade release agents to facilitate processing and demolding in a wide range of applications
To ensure safe and efficient production from end to end, the food industry must meet a great number of challenges throughout the processing cycle. This is true for all players in the industry: from large-scale industrial facilities to more artisanal food preparation operations, such as restaurants, bakers and caterers.
Food must be properly processed, heated, baked or fried and easily released for final use. Cooking and baking often generate intermediate stages that produce sticky materials that gradually harden or change in texture and, after processing, must be released from containers and utensils. Typically, the food is in contact with glass, enamels, metals, plastics, etc. Baking of pastries, for example, which mixes flour, eggs, sugars and greasy or fatty materials tend to stick to these surfaces during the cooking or baking cycle.
Release agents are therefore often required to facilitate the demolding of the final product and avoid damage due to sticking. These non-stick slip and release agents must behave in a neutral and innocuous way on the food itself, to ensure safety and not affect final composition or taste, while fully complying with processing and safety parameters. This can only be ensured by food release agents that are non-miscible with the food ingredients themselves, i.e. will not migrate into these and denature them. The safest way to achieve these various goals is to use silicone-based food-grade release materials and agents that are permanently coated onto the container or mold surfaces and cannot be dissolved, either by physical contact or due to a change in temperature. Food contact compatible silicone release agents must therefore be coatings that can be easily applied to the container or mold surface and will stay there permanently. Silicones in various forms and with different characteristics have become the materials of choice in food release coatings in very diverse applications.
What are the main applications of silicone-based food release coatings?
Depending on the type of application, coatings of different viscosities, hardness and physical makeup will be preferred to achieve the required slip characteristics. To use the example of pastry-type baked goods as above that mix flour, sugar, eggs and grease-rich materials, it is preferable in most cases to use hard surface coatings that will not allow the grease and sugar to penetrate the food contact layer and ultimately enable easy release by reducing surface friction during the food extraction stage.
Silicone resin-based release coatings are recognized as ideal in this regard since they provide maximum release performance and the lowest friction coefficients. They are therefore particularly suited for making cakes, pastries, doughs, meat pies and chocolate moldings.
However, breads and baked goods with lower fat and sugar contents (and therefore less sticky doughs) use silicone elastomer type release agents that are better suited to crispier and harder final products. Elkem have developed several SILBIONE™ CAF™ and SILBIONE™ CAF™ Dispersion formulations that are especially efficient for easy-release bread molds. These are so efficient that no prying is needed in some cases, with the bread, for example, simply being inverted to drop out of the mold.
Our range of silicone-based food coatings offer the following advantages:
- Excellent heat resistance
- High-performance release effect and durability
- Ideal for coating various surfaces, including metal baking molds and trays.
- A comprehensive technology toolbox, ranging from silicone elastomers, to resins and adhesion promoters.
Release agents are also used by winemakers, both for still and sparkling wines. In this area, organoleptic neutrality is paramount, to avoid altering the taste quality of the wine. Permanently fixed silicone elastomer coatings on the closures ensure airtightness, but also allows some oxygen to migrate slowly over time to enhance ageing. The silicone release layer maintains liquids and gas pressure at the right levels inside the containers for long periods of time.
Silicone-based release and slip coatings will, through their hydrophobic behavior, also hinder the growth of bacteria, yeast and mold on the cap. Once the container is opened, the specific slip parameters of SILBIONE ™ CAF™ and SILBIONE ™ Dispersion CAF™ elastomer coatings allow airtightness, to be restored easily after the consumer has opened the bottle. Cork stopper extractions forces remain unchanged and, independent of storage time, these permanent cork coatings continue to function optimally.
SILBIONE™ CAF™ and SILBIONE ™ Dispersion CAF™ coatings are also widely used in the pharmaceutical industry and for medical devices, thanks to their outstanding innocuity and food and medical-grade quality.
Why choose Elkem for food release coatings?
As a global vertically-integrated silicone supplier, we are ideally positioned to support our customers to give them a competitive advantage in their specific marketplace. Leveraging 70 years of proven performance in designing and producing innovative silicone-based coatings for food release, our reliable product offering and customized service model can make the difference for you.
Advantages of our offer:
- A comprehensive range of specialty silicone offerings under the SILBIONE™ brand
- Vertically integrated supply chain and global footprint
- Global security of supply
- Global quality insurance, regulatory expertise and compliance
- Participation in continuous improvement of processes and achieving better sustainability
Elkem food-grade silicone coating products are certified for biocompatibility and comply with the highest national and international regulatory and quality requirements.
Our experts also provide regulatory support, assistance to roll out productivity programs, training for teams and collaborative work on new developments.