Flexco’s Food Processing Industry Manager, Jonathan Morgan explains how one small change to your conveyors can reduce sanitation time at protein plants.
When it comes to pinpointing the most pressing issue within a processing plant, you’ll get dozens of different answers from dozens of different people. From maintenance, you’ll get downtime and manpower. From food safety and quality, you’ll get cleaning and sanitation. From operations, you’ll get “all of the above.” So where do sanitation, downtime, and manpower all meet to become one pressing issue? On your conveyors.
Sanitation 101 is one of the first things you learn when you start working at a protein processing operation. Regulatory agencies ensure everyone’s main priority is to keep food safe from allergens, bacteria, and chemical hazards.
Depending on your facility and the variety of proteins you process, you may shut down once, twice, or even three times a day to wash, rinse, and sanitise your conveyor belts. This process can take hours each time, which monopolises the maintenance team – with sometimes the whole team pitching in to get the job done more quickly. That means other tasks that could be accomplished during that time have to wait.
“Our customers are always asking us how they can conserve resources like time, manpower, and even water when it comes to the sanitation of their conveyors”, Johnathan Morgan, Food Processing Industry Manager at Flexco explains.
New technologies have come forth to limit water and chemical usage, including more precise water and chemical targeting and electrostatic methods, and an increase in automation can help reduce the amount of manpower used during the cleaning process.
But what if you could minimise the amount of residual protein scraps and fat on the belt when the time comes to sanitise with just one small change to your conveyor?
“Equipping your conveyor with a cleaner that is specifically engineered to work with the types of belting used in the food processing industry can make an immediate impact on the time and resources spent sanitising your conveyor belt.
Engineered belt cleaners contain tensioning mechanisms for optimal interaction between the cleaning blade and the belt, scraping off meat, pork, chicken, and other proteins before they make their way around the pulley to stick to your conveyor frame and components or fall to the floor.
“This simple act of scraping food off the belt not only reduces sanitation time but also keeps the food in the processing stream so you aren’t sweeping your profits up off the floor once production is done.
It is critical to use engineering cleaners that are designed specifically for the food industry and made from food-grade materials.
“Choose cleaners that facilitate quick and easy cleaning and sanitising of the conveyor and the cleaner itself. Ensure they comply with strict sanitary guidelines and avoid mechanical hardware in direct contact with the processed food”, Morgan advised.
The Flexco FGS Food Grade Secondary Cleaner meets the highest standards for food processing. The cleaner is easy to install and maintain, taking less than a minute to disassemble for cleaning and sanitation. The use of stainless-steel components and food-grade materials limits crevices and opportunities for bacteria growth, ensuring optimal hygiene and safety.