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Reliable by Design


10 Food Processing Equipment Designs that Drive Safety

 

  1. Safety guarding is recommended on equipment like the dumper shown in the animation.  Relays control the e-stop position and if personnel trips the switch, the equipment will cease operation.
  2. This PRS (Pallet Retention System) shown on a DP3000 Dumper, and allows the combo to complete the dump cycle by separating from the pallet, limiting the potential for contamination.
  3. A liner hold-down prevents the liner from separating from the combo and falling into the hopper.
  4. A drop-tier conveyor can be included in system layouts to provide visual inspection of the food product.
  5. The articulating screw conveyor is designed to pivot to allow for versatile production and lower for maintenance.
  6. Custom stainless and passivated platforms provide personnel safety and easy access for sanitation.
  7. Electropolished food contact surfaces guard against bacterial attachment and create sanitation efficiencies.
  8. Tool-less quick-release seals provide quick access for maintenance and sanitation.
  9. Durable food safe coating on equipment components resists corrosion in harsh environments.
  10. Type 304 or 316 stainless construction is a best practice for equipment designs using either open-frame construction with exposed threads or tube frame designs with non-exposed threads.
That's our top 10 safety best practice call-outs for this system, learn more at www.mepaco.net. 

 

 


Lunch & Learn Customized to your Business

 

If you would like to learn more about food safety and sanitation equipment innovations trending in food processing equipment and systems, we are offering a Lunch & Learn presentation.  


Discover:

  • Food processing equipment that is customized to specific applications and to scale
  • System examples with animation and video that solve processing throughput
  • Sanitation design options and best practices
  • Maintenance and food safety driven innovations

 

Our focus will be to customize this presentation to talk about your production needs, and safety and sanitation goals.

We will monitor COVID-19 travel and distancing regulations and if allowed, we can have the Lunch & Learn at Apache Stainless or at your facility. Just let us know and we will take care of lunch.

We will also offer a virtual meeting if that works best, and we will send attendees a gift card for lunch on us!

We look forward to hearing from you!

Contact a technical sales manager to schedule!


What is Your Stainless Finishes IQ?

RMS (Root Mean Square) is a standard used to diagnose machining operations and surface finish.  The fineness of the finish and ultimate success of sanitation effectiveness is called RA, the roughness average, measured by height in millionths of an inch or microinches. 

A profilometer device determines RA values of small surface variations and calculates their average to determine roughness.

In terms of material used in food processing and commercial equipment, here is the list of stainless materials from smoothest to the roughest RA range.

Electropolished surfaces range from 6 RA – 14RA microinches. Electropolishing can change RA values up to 50% smoother, depending on the material being treated.

2B Mill Finish – This is a widely used stainless steel finish, common in industrial, chemical and food applications. It is corrosion resistance and has a typical range from 15RA (16 gauge) – to 40 RA (7 gauge) microinches.

No. 4/Dairy Finish – For processing industries, the Dairy finish is required to meet the basic 3-A standards. It uses a 180 grit and has an RA range of 18-31 microinches.

No. 4 Finish – This finish uses a 150-grit abrasive creating a polished brushed surface. The RA range is 29-40 microinches.

No. 3 Finish – The No. 3 finish uses a 120 grit abrasive. It has a semi-polished finish with an RA range of 36 – 58 microinches.

Bead Blasted surfaces have a soft satin appearance and low reflection.  The process of bead blasting utilizes bead material such as glass or ceramic beads to produce a non-directional, textured surface.  The finer the blasting media, the more corrosion resistance the surface performance. The RA values are typically higher than 45RA microinches, but are dependent on the blasting process and the stainless material.

Improve your Stainless Finishes IQ; read our complimentary e-book.


Sanitation and Safety Checklist: Time for a Review?

An equipment safety and sanitation audit can provide direction for implementing improvement procedures and specifying equipment updates that mitigate risk and solve for safety and production goals.  Here’s an excerpt from our audit checklist:

  • Are all parts of the equipment readily accessible for inspection, maintenance, sanitation?
  • Is there any evidence of premature wear on parts?
  • Does the equipment properly self-drain to assure food product, water or sanitizing fluids do not accumulate?
  • Are all hollow areas removed where possible or permanently sealed to eliminate any harborage areas?
  • During operation, does the equipment perform properly as not to contribute to unsanitary conditions?
  • Is the equipment free of niches, pits, cracks, corrosion, recessed, open seams, gaps inside threads, bolt rivets, protruding ledges, rusting and dead ends?
  • Are the enclosures and HMIs designed, constructed, and maintained to ensure food product, water or other liquids do not penetrate or accumulate on the enclosure or interface?
  • Is there adequate space between the floor and the equipment body for sanitation?
  • Are bearings, gear motors and hydraulic system sealed, guarded, and/or mounted away from the product zone? 

    Our 25-point checklist walks through compatibility, compliance, food safety risk and personnel safety.  

    Contact a technical sales manager for a plant visit risk review.

Coating Technology Improves Component Sanitation Performance
With rising costs for energy and labor, there is a continuous need to improve operational efficiency, cut costs, and increase uptimes. One area of improvement is to increase the life and sanitation performance of motors, gear motors and bearings.

In consideration of the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership), some processors choose food safe stainless motors. Encapsulated stainless steel food safety motors, however, are twice the cost of a standard motor. 

The use of painted components are common in food processing plants.  Sanitation is tough on equipment with caustic chemicals spraying at 1000 psi. Once the components chip, there is a risk for the paint chips to enter the food stream. Then corrosion sets in and reduces the life of the component. 

A cost effective, high-performance solution is to start with food grade components and apply the Steel-It brand coating technology using a special application process. Mepaco’s customers have been very satisfied with the result and continue to specify the food grade coating on components for all new projects.

The specialty coating is USDA approved. It blocks corrosion, wear and abrasion and lasts 5+ years in harsh environments.  It is formulated with 316 stainless micro-flakes, making it durable for sanitation and can be subjected to detergents, food acids, alkali, and various chemical agents.

Contact a sales manager for more information about cost saving sanitation.


A Quick Read on Mepaco's Products and Industries we Serve

Here is a quick read on our products and industries that Mepaco serves.

Equipment Products: Cookers, Blenders, Dumpers, Metering Screw Conveyors, Mixers, Pump Feeders, Sanitary Belt Conveyors, Sanitary Design Lifts, Vacuum Stuffers and systems.

Food Manufacturing Industries: Dairy, Meat and Poultry, Pet Food, Plant-Based Foods and Proteins, Processed Foods and RTE, Fruits and Vegetables.

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Quick Upgrades that Increase Production Right Now


1. Pull more out of your grinder

Ask your grinder experts about an upgrade kit to address a different plate configuration to increase throughput.  

If you do not have a level sensor, contact your controls partner to add controls to turn off the grinder before it runs dry. A continuous flow of meat product will keep the plates and blades lubricated - required for best performance.

Keep the pins, bushings, heads, and knives in well maintained condition.

2. Tune your system

Schedule an audit to tighten up your process. Look to remove 15 - 20 seconds from all inefficient processes. 

Consider VFD motors at different speeds to improve production flow.

3. Address small issues before they become a big downtime issue

With production at or near max or a lack of production staff, preventative maintenance may not be consistent. Operators need to allow time to address small maintenance issues. Rushing to close a safety grate that slams on the equipment causing welds to break, or not reporting wear of critical parts can lead to significant downtime.

If there is a repair needed on a piece of equipment, the best advice to ramp-up production is to have long-lead item parts on hand. Agitators that are custom fabricated can take up to eight weeks for delivery. Cylinders, motors, gearmotors and gearboxes are all long-lead items that can take up to 2 - 5 weeks for delivery.

Call Mepaco Parts and Field Services if you need support with these upgrades at 920-356-7334.


Horizontal Screw Conveyors Provide Bulk Handling for Many Industries

Mepaco's screw conveyors are engineered to the requirements of the food processing application. In the photo, these screw conveyors transported pet food. The conveyor in the foreground was placed after the grinder and transported ground product. The conveyor in the background was utilized before the grinder. It featured a trough design that handled large meat chunks, which fed the grinder.

Engineers work closely with the customer's production experts to design systems that minimize space while maximizing flexibility for product formulations and production goals.

Mepaco's screw conveyor systems have served many food processing industries: Baking and Snack, Dairy, Fruits and Vegetables, Meat and Poultry, Pet Food, Prepared Food and Ready-to-Eat. Application expertise includes: Metering, Reversing, Formulating and Thermal Processing.

For more information on screw conveyors and augers, visit:

SCREW CONVEYORS

AUGER UNITS


How can custom modified equipment solve for process efficiencies? Ask Mepaco Experts

Are you planning on going to Process Expo? Click here to see our show page!

We are highlighting systems and showing you how smart system designs and modified-to-order equipment, customized to specific applications, solves for processing goals:

- Increased Yield Performance

- Optimal designs for maintenance and operation

- Increased sanitation efficiencies

- Vigilant food safety compliance

We are also showcasing our new PosiFlo Chub Feeder that is a 28 cubic foot auger/loader with leveling ribbon and horizontal pump. We will demo the HMI unit that is integrated with the system. Other show equipment includes an industrial cooker, a sanitary design conveyor and a sanitary ergonomic lift.

Our tenured Mepaco sales and engineering teams are driven and dedicated to solving production problems for industrial food processing customers. Our specialists have an average of 20 years of experience from application support to equipment fabrication that forms an effective team to provide performance solutions.

Check out our show page and Ask the Experts at Process Expo!


Process Expo Sept 19 - 22; Free Pass!

The Process Expo is the nation's largest trade show dedicated to bringing the latest technology and integrated solutions to all segments of the food and beverage processing industry.

Don't miss the networking benefits, demonstrations, educational sessions, new equipment and technology that is showcased at Process Expo.

Come visit the trade show on us! Here is your FREE PASS CODE 42589.

https://registration.experientevent.com/ShowFPS171/Default.aspx

Mepaco, Booth #1637

Process Expo, September 19 - 22

McCormick Place, Chicago, IL


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