In food production, what’s beneath the conveyor belt is just as crucial for sanitation as the product that’s on it. An expert at out-of-site sanitation, our Sales Engineering Manager, Joe Gongaware, was recently interviewed for Baking & Snack magazine on the best cleaning tips for baking applications.
When it comes to Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (SSOPs), some of the most prominent and seemingly harmless ingredients may be the most hazardous to clean working conditions. Sugars, caramel, and other sweet toppings can emulsify to make conveyor belts more difficult to clean.
Water, the key to keeping a workstation clean, also poses a threat. Pooling of water can occur on any flat surfaces of the conveyor belt and structure, creating an ideal environment for bacteria to grow. To combat this, you have to eliminate places for water to gather.
“When the application calls for a wire mesh or modular plastic belt, the bigger openings you can have, the better,” Joe states. “As a general rule, you want a more open area and fewer hinge points on the belt; the hinge points are often the most difficult to clean,” he added. “But you really have to consider the product and the type of transfers you’re going to have as the first priority.”
On a conveyor, many parts of the structure, such as crossbars, shafts, and rollers, may be hidden under the belt and forgotten. To have better access to cleaning these parts, we use open-frame and Flip-Clean take up with our conveyors. “On smaller conveyor systems, the sanitarian can unlock and flip up the infeed, since it’s cantilevered from one side, and remove the entire belt for full access to the conveyor’s skeletal structure,” Joe explains.
When the system is too large for total belt removal, our belt lifts are able to lift the belt from the carryway or sliderbed for better manual sanitation. “If you make it easier for the sanitation crew to clean the conveyor, chances are, it’ll be cleaned better,” Joe added.