Page 52 - Food & Drink Business Magazine March 2019
P. 52

A neat solution
A lamb processor based in New Zealand has saved
hundreds of dollars per week by installing a conveyor cleaning system specially designed by Flexco to fill a gap in the market.
A New Zealand lamb processing facility located in the Bay of Plenty has installed Flexco technology to solve a severe problem of carryback on a conveyor which was wasting product and halting production.
The company installed a Food Grade Primary (FGP) Cleaner from Flexco to solve the problem which was resulting in over 20kg of carryback per day.
There are eight conveyors in the lamb cut room – two modular and six white nitrile plied belts. It was the two modular belts that experienced the most carryback and were leading to a huge amount of product waste and denting the company's bottom line.
These belts were located in the cold-boning lamb processing facility, which operated two, eight-hour shifts per day. While the company did have a cleaner – which consisted of segmented blades mounted onto a head pole, which was then mounted onto the head pulley with the
blades tensioned via a counterweight system – it was of poor design. That was all the market had to offer at the time, according to the senior supervisor in the company's lamb cut room Peter Mueller.
“Meat would accumulate between the cleaner tips and the belt’s surface, and the build-up would cause such tension between the cleaner
production to stop three or four times per hour. This counterweight system was extremely difficult to tension and was the main reason for excess stoppage in production.
The excessive amount of carryback also meant that whole cuts of meat would bypass the cleaner, travelling onto the return side of the belt and dropping to the
things changed. The FGP cleaner was designed by Flexco to fill a gap in the market. The stainless steel cleaner uses an FDA approved, and USDA certified metal detectable blade.
Mueller decided to implement it, and after installing the cleaner, the company saw an almost complete and immediate reduction in carryback Mueller says, which saved 20kg of product per day, just on one conveyor. The results are still stacking up two years later, he says.
The new cleaner also eliminated the need for the system to be constantly cleaned and maintained. As long as the tension is set correctly, Mueller says, production is constant throughout both eight hour shifts without interruption.
The company also increased productivity as staff were now free to perform other productivity-boosting tasks instead of constantly reacting to the same problem. ✷
“ The build-up would cause such tension between the cleaner and the belt that the force of tension would eventually cause the cleaner to flip over.”
and the belt that the force of tension would eventually cause the cleaner to flip over. Often, this problem occurred during a shift where the counterweight system was tied firmly in place.”
The counterweight system did not work well in the application, with the blades needing to be cleaned every 15 to 20 minutes, causing
floor, rendering it unfit for human consumption, and resulting in hundreds of dollars per week worth of losses for the company.
It was only after Mueller visited the Flexco stand at the Foodtech Packtech tradeshow in Auckland, New Zealand in 2016, where Flexco was exhibiting its Food Grade Primary (FGP) Cleaner that
52 | Food&Drink business | March 2019 |

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