PET Food Processing - March 2018 - 78

OPERATIONS

"It is an exciting challenge
for engineers to
eliminate complexity."
Christian Uebele, Multivac

product. "You always have to get product in and you
always have to get product out," Jacko explains. "You
can put guards on older machines to improve the
channel pathways, but guards don't necessarily make
it easier to keep the equipment sanitary. There is always that trade-off and, it's a difficult decision for
companies to make."

Beyond food safety
The open, easy-to-clean design of the Vortex mixer from
Spooner Vicars facilitates
quick product changeovers.

Sanitary equipment design has a direct impact on production efficiencies and labor as good design decreases
the time to dismantle the equipment for sanitation,
maintenance and product changeovers. This translates
directly into less downtime and increased production
time. "Hygienic equipment design not only mitigates

Spooner Vicars

the potential areas prone to harbor bacteria, but it also
facilitates post-sanitation evaluation by ensuring accessibility during visual verification and environmental
monitoring," Blome adds.
Producers that have made sanitary design a priority
throughout their production can do a more thorough
job of cleaning with less people in less time, which equals
more opportunity for higher profits with more production. "The savings can be huge," Kehrli says. "First and
foremost, manufacturers know they're delivering a clean
and safe product. Secondly, sanitary design allows them
to clean equipment more efficiently. It's not unheard of
to have an 8- or 10-hour cleaning process. If it's a true
sanitary design system, they can probably clean it in half
that time with half the people."
For a larger processor that has gone all in on sanitary
design, everything can be fully automated as far as sanitation with clean-in-place systems. This can significantly
reduce labor requirements according to Gaydusek. "A
manufacturer of super premium kibble that produces
40,000 to 45,000 lbs. per hour can run that whole line
with two or three people. It's the latest thing for the highend companies. It's not the same old pet food process."
Nelson points out another important impact on
plant employees that can help processors struggling
to maintain a full workforce. "Factories are running
equipment very hard all the time. If equipment is
quicker to clean and maintain that's also going to be a
major benefit to moral."

Blurred lines
The requirements for a sanitary environment transcend
any distinction between different foods. Cem Yildirim,
market development manager, Multivac Inc., Kansas
City, Missouri, says, "The standards now expected in pet
food and treat production and packaging environments
are simply the same standards that have been in place for
generations in the world of protein for consumption by
humans. We all gain from sanitary design. The absence
or reduction of microbes, which contaminate food for
pets or humans, improves safe consumption and limits
manufacturers' risk."
Jacko has found that companies are willing to spend
a little more to make their equipment easier to clean.
Whether a plant is producing human food or animal
food, the people who are responsible for inspecting
processing plants also want to see equipment that is
easier to clean because that means the equipment is
easier to inspect as well.
"The gain is safe food for our pets, quicker and more
thorough cleaning processes and more up-time which
translates to a competitive advantage," Kehrli says.
"There is no governing body that certifies equipment

78

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