One of the major goals of food processors is the constant improvement of equipment hygiene to reduce the risk of potential product contamination. This means examining ways to control bacteria, spillage, dust and other potential contamination while maintaining a busy production schedule. A challenging problem considering that cleaning conveyor belts, both modular and flat solid types, can be a labor-intensive task and in some cases uses many gallons of chemicals and alarming amounts of water.
A sanitized conveyor system helps food processors reach their number one goal, allowing the manufacturer to streamline production efficiencies. Let’s look at some of the ways to keep conveyor systems sanitized and contamination-free.
Best Conveyor Cleaning Methods for Efficiency and Safety
Several methods exist to help food processors maintain a properly cleaned conveyor belt system. Some of these include:
Use of Hand Cleaning
The majority of flat solid conveyor belts are hand washed by cleaning crews using strong chemicals. This process requires extended down times, intensive labor and is often highly wasteful. Workers and food products are put at risk from improper cleaning and handling chemicals. With proper training, plenty of time and the right chemicals, this method can be a suitable solution for some food processors. Ultimately hand cleaning lacks the consistency and reliability that an automated food processing production line needs to scale.
Use of Brushless Cleaners
One solution to avoid this is to leverage a brushless conveyor belt cleaner. These products can be mounted directly onto conveyor belts to clean and sanitize them with minimal downtime. The process utilizes dry steam vapor to break the bond between soil and surface on the conveyor belt, suspending the soil in dry vapor before it is vacuumed away from the conveyor surface. No chemicals are used and the water consumption is extremely low, being collected in a vacuum suitable for steam collection.
These systems can be attached to belts quickly and then easily removed after cleaning. The steam generator and vacuum are mounted on casters, enabling the setup to rotate between cleaning locations or even between facilities. Brushless cleaners leave conveyor belts clean, dry and potentially sanitized (ATP 0). From there, you are ready for your validation step and your next production run.
Choosing the Right Cleaning Belt Solution
The style and material of the belt — in addition to the thickness of the surface, the installation, and the load requirements — should all play a role in the purchasing decision for your specific use case.
Because sanitation is paramount to controlling harmful pathogens and bacteria, it’s also critical to select a conveyor cleaning system that meets to an acceptable validated standard of pathogenic bacteria – including listeria monocytogenes, e-coli, and salmonella. Such pathogens can quickly multiply and are difficult to detect, and even harder to clean.
The Eagle Series Automatic Brushless Belt Cleaner simplifies the process by utilizing an attachment that easily installs and removes within one minute, all with no moving parts on the cleaning head. 100% coverage of the belt removes the risk of human error in the cleaning and sanitizing process!
Studies show that heat is one of the most effective ways to sanitize equipment and manage bacteria. Food processing and production facilities are top candidates for using dry steam vapor cleaners as part of the sanitation process.
Conveyor Belt Cleaning Solutions from Electro-Steam
Since 1952, Electro-Steam has manufactured high-quality, reliable, and efficient steam generators for use in commercial and industrial food service. Our steam cleaning units can degrease and sanitize virtually any equipment in food processing facilities, including those in the baking, beverage, and packing industries, and come with custom tools designed and built for your unique requirements.
For more information about our steam cleaning products and how they can benefit your food service, food processing, or food production application, please contact us.