Sanitary Conveyors for the Food Industry
April 06, 2021
Ensuring Safety, Sanitation and Efficiency through
Sanitary Conveyors for the Food Industry
It’s no secret that food manufacturing facilities are under immense pressure to increase efficiency, reduce turnaround times and improve profitability, all while adhering to strict food safety standards. Thankfully, there are hygienic, or sanitary, conveyors designed to meet food production regulations.
But how do you find one that’s right for your industry? Does it work for wet and dry applications? Can you use it with packaged and raw ingredients, ready-to-eat and frozen foods? Does it offer sanitary clean-in-place (CIP) and clean-out of-place (COP) processes?
Nercon’s team of engineers has taken the conveniences of sanitary conveyors to a whole new level with HydroCore®, a family of customizable hygienic conveyors designed to reduce bacterial harborage points while increasing production up-time.
As a dairy-state manufacturer, it's no surprise that dairy is one of the leading food industries Nercon serves. Nercon works to ensure requirements are met for 3A Sanitation Codes and USDA inspections and other regulatory agencies. In addition to its applicability for dairy products, though, the HydroCore® line of hygienic conveyors also has advantages for any products or industries requiring a sanitary conveyor.
Sanitary MatTop Conveyor
The HydroCore® Advantage
The HydroCore® hygienic line of conveyors includes six different customizable designs: Sanitary Flat Belt Conveyor, Sanitary MatTop Conveyor, Sanitary Trough Conveyor, Sanitary Wire Mesh Conveyor, Sanitary Z Incline Conveyor and the Washdown Spiral to match product-specific needs.
As a leading conveyor manufacturer, Nercon takes the job of engineering for increased needs of sanitary food-grade conveyors very seriously, always looking to optimize productivity by designing in a way that decreases downtime. Every component and design element of HydroCore® conveyors are purposefully designed with that in mind, making customer convenience a top priority.
Reducing bacterial harborage points by design
When it comes to sanitary conveyors, any place where bacteria can harbor needs to be avoided. So Nercon designed its HydroCore® conveyors to reduce the places where that could happen.
“You can seal the tube with welding, but that could still allow a pit hole to form where water can seep in or out, causing contamination,” said Jeff Falash, Nercon R&D manager, who uses his more than 30 years of experience in conveyor engineering to continue to improve and deliver on customer needs. “Our customers often wash components with hot water, which causes the steel to warm up and cool down creating the perfect environment for bacteria to grow on the inside.”
Any area where bacteria is allowed to grow could create a risk of contaminating the product, which can be especially concerning for ready-to-eat foods. To combat this issue, Nercon designed its HydroCore® lineup to eliminate all tubular components in its sanitary conveyors.
“Food manufacturers will swab the conveyor to see how much bacteria is present. A tubular design can be a problem area of contamination,” Falash said. “It’s problematic to find the source and once they clean it, it's clean for a couple of days. But they'd need to repeat this, shut the line down and do more frequent cleaning, all while trying to identify the source of the bacteria.”
Developed for convenient clean-ability, maintenance and sanitation
Nercon’s food-grade conveyors are designed with quick-release, take-up handles on both sides so operators have easy cleaning access from either side of the production line. On the Sanitary Flat Belt Conveyor, for example, one person can release the chain so they don’t have to walk around or have a second person assist. Plus, to speed up disassembly, Nercon removed fasteners and the need for tools to take apart the lines.
“Our patented, tool-less removable wear-strip design means fasteners are not needed and customers don’t need to find or locate tools to disassemble the conveyor for cleaning,” said Mike Andrew, a Senior Mechanical Project Engineer for Nercon with 26 years of experience. “This reduces downtime and takes the complication out of sanitation since the removable parts have unique identifiers for fast, easy and accurate reassembly by simply matching the numbers marked on the conveyor with the parts.”
Nercon also offers Grade 316 stainless steel options, in addition to the standard Grade 304 stainless steel, for optimal choices in sanitary materials. Grade 316 stainless has a higher resistance to pitting from the corrosive cleaning fluids, making it a great fit for customers with more corrosive washdown practices.
Simply put, Nercon’s food-grade conveyor solutions are designed to withstand rigorous sanitation practices and regular daily hygienic procedures. HydroCore® conveyors can withstand 1500 PSI of pressure and are also designed to be cleaned in place with no flat edges or surfaces so food, water and other contaminants wash right over the edge and down into drains.
Looking to add a food-grade, sanitary conveyor to your production line?
Email us today.