Sanitizing belt conveyor systems is an obvious concern for any company operating in the food industry. While cleanliness and food safety issues are top priorities that demand high standards, the challenge lies in achieving them in a manner that is both effective and efficient. Fortunately, there are several possible ways for companies to clean and disinfect the conveyor systems that they rely on without unnecessarily hindering their productivity.
Sanitizing Belt Conveyor Systems
When considering the best method for cleaning and disinfecting a belt conveyor system, there are multiple factors to explore. In addition to deciding on the type of cleaning methods that best suit their needs, companies are wise to also put some thought into the type of cleaning agents they plan to utilize and the impact that various features of their belt conveyor system can have on their sanitation efforts.
How Is It Cleaned?
How is a belt conveyor system cleaned and disinfected? The optimal method depends on the level and type of contamination and the specifics of the conveyor system. There are several methods to explore:
- Fully Automatic Cleaning: With a cleaning-in-place system, conveyors are automatically cleaned without any major assembly or disassembly of the belt system. In many cases, operations continue undisturbed in some sections of the system while one portion is sanitized.
- Semiautomatic Cleaning: Incorporating semiautomatic methods can be an efficient choice in certain circumstances. Systems that deliver this type of cleaning often perform tasks like spraying, lathering, rinsing, and dry vacuuming.
- Manual Cleaning: Although it is not a high-tech technique, manual cleaning remains an option. It can be a time-consuming and labor-intensive approach, but it is very effective when done properly. Activities like scraping, scrubbing, brushing, sweeping, vacuuming, rinsing, and wiping may all be involved in this style of cleaning.
What Is It Cleaned With?
Because food safety is a critical concern, most businesses active in the food processing industry opt to cover their bases and prevent the growth of infectious organisms by using a combination of cleaning agents in the sanitation of their conveyor systems. While the exact recipe depends on the cleaning method being utilized and the nature of the components being cleaned, there are certain types of cleaning agents that companies tend to rely on:
- Steam: Dry vapor steam blends high temperatures with low levels of moisture in a dry steam that destroys bacteria, fungi, mold, mildew, and other microorganisms and clears away any lingering seasonings, fats, oils, and other grime. Steam can be a clever option in areas where wet cleaning is inadvisable because of the proximity of sensitive electronics or other delicate components.
- Disinfectants: Popular disinfectants include alcohol, peroxides, aldehydes, chlorine dioxide, peracetic acid, and quarternary ammonium compounds.
- Alkaline Cleaning Agents: This class of cleaning agents includes caustic soda solutions, hypochlorites, surfactants, and complexing agents.
- Neutral Cleaning Agents: Solvents, phosphates, and surfactants are among the neutral cleaning agents often chosen for the task of sanitizing a belt conveyor system.
- Acid Cleaning Agents: Nitric acid, acetic acid, phosphoric acid, and inhibitors are commonly used by the food processing industry for sanitation purposes.
How Difficult Is It to Clean?
When creating garments for workers, designers and manufacturers often look for sturdy fabrics that wear well, clean easily, and can be assembled into units that minimize hazards and reinforce weak areas. The result is clothing that allows workers to enjoy greater efficiency, safety, and comfort. A similar approach can be used when designing a belt conveyor system. By turning to engineers and equipment manufacturers who understand the unique needs of the food processing industry and how vital hygiene is for the industry’s operation, businesses can find belt conveyor systems that are meticulously designed to be easy to clean. There are many features that can make sanitizing belt conveyor systems easier:
- Quality Materials: Machinery built from stainless steel and other trusted materials is less likely to develop pitting and wear, which can serve as unwanted sanctuaries for bacteria and other microorganisms.
- Durable Finishes: Tough, hard-wearing finishes ensure that the conveyor system is ready to withstand the diligent sanitation efforts required to ensure food safety.
- Sanitary Design Features: Incorporating smart sanitary design features like open beds, drip pans, and clean-out holes allows for fast, effective cleaning with fewer headaches.
- Customization: Every business has unique needs. Installing belt conveyor systems that are customized to match those needs sets the stage for increased effectiveness, improved productivity, and easier sanitation.
At EnSight Solutions, our goal is to find smart, creative solutions that help your business flourish. We have more than a century of combined experience in the food processing industry, and we delight in putting our expertise to work for you. So if you need help sanitizing belt conveyor systems or designing the perfect equipment for your needs, we can help. Contact us today to learn more.