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Animation Highlights Dumper Features that Solve for Food Safety

Mepaco’s Food Processing customers often opt for custom and modifiable dumping equipment features that provide the highest level of personnel and food safety, highlighted in this animation.

Locking Mechanism:  Pallet Retention cylinders secure the pallet on both sides to retain its position during the dump cycle. The locking mechanism is part of the PRS (Pallet Retention System).

Personnel Guarding: In the animation, personnel guarding is demonstrated for the entire dump-zone footprint and includes safety relays that control the e-stop position.

Elevated Load Height:  Whether it benefits production or personnel maneuverability, elevated load heights can be customized into the dumping equipment solution.

Pneumatic LRS (Liner Hold Down): A liner hold-down is controlled to enter the tote to prevent the liner from separating from the combo and falling into the hopper. The liner hold-down prevents operators from having to reach and try to control the liner by hand.

PRS (Pallet Retention System): The PRS design feature allows the combo to complete the dump cycle while separating from the pallet, limiting the potential for contamination in the food stream. Upon completion of the dump cycle, the dumper and frame are reunited, and the carriage assembly returns to the start-load position. 

The Pallet Retention System (PRS) and the Liner Retention System (LRS) are both available on the DP3000 Pivot Dumper (shown in the animation) and the HD3000 High Lift Dumper models.

Other food and personnel safety options include:

  • Upgrading from standard cylinders to stainless cylinders
  • Stainless Steel pivot bearings
  • Electropolished chute
  • Safety side shields or other safety cage customization
  • Beacon light

Mepaco offers dumpers with a range of versatility from 48” to 175” dump heights.  We also manufacture accessories including lifts, vats, tubs, and buggies for your material handling needs. The tote dumpers (DP3000, HD3000 and LD3000) have a working capacity of 3,000 lbs. (1,361 Kg) and a 45-degree dump angle.

Visit Mepaco’s Dumping Equipment for more information.


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. 

 

 


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.

10 Solution Examples to Reduce Foreign Material Contamination

Every food processor has their own unique food safety challenges. Here is one process room scenario where attention to process layout, equipment modifications and training can significantly reduce foreign material contamination.

  1. Operator Training High-volume automation brings a high degree of risk for machinery fatigue and vibration. Over time, nuts and bolts will loosen and moving components that become misaligned can produce loose metal. In addition, the equipment operator must completely understand how every facet of the equipment works, including the symptoms when it isn’t running properly.  
  2. Seal Maintenance Many causes of downstream food contamination are the result of a broken seal, improper packing or a grooved or broken shaft. COP (clean-out-of-place) split seals should be checked for wear and sanitized daily. Seals should be part of the preventative maintenance program and included in your parts inventory.
  3. Pallet Retention System (PRS) The PRS is integrated into the loading base of select pallet dumper equipment. It is engineered to securely remove the pallet away from the dump zone so that wood, nails, and other impurities are prevented from entering the product stream. 
  4. Liner Hold Down Another option on pallet dumper equipment is the liner hold-down mechanism which is engineered to hold back the liner during the dumping process. The liner hold-down prevents the plastic from entering the food zone and prevents the operators from having to lean or reach over the food zone to control the liner.
  5. Electropolished Food Contact Finishes Processors often choose electropolished food contact surfaces on equipment which provide the smoothest surfaces for ease of sanitation, and provide the highest level of corrosion resistance, including the performance of weldments.
  6. Open-frame Construction Open-design framework with butt weld type, ground to a smooth finish provides superior sanitation performance.  Bolt and thread designs should be hygienically designed with enclosed threads.
  7. Metal Detection In this example, the metal detector is placed near the beginning of the grind-blend line to detect and circumvent tramp metal from entering the grinder and downstream equipment.
  8. Drop-Conveyor Inspection The drop belt conveyor shown in the layout allows trim meat to be flipped during conveyance and allows for visual inspection of foreign material before the product is transported downstream.
  9. Grinder Maintenance Foreign material can include metal shavings and shards from grinders.  Keep the grinder finely tuned and in proper alignment; keep the pins, bushings, heads and knives in well maintained condition. 
  10. Sanitation Training  Confirm that the sanitation crew completely understands the proper disassembly and reassembly of all COP (clean-out-of-place) components. Improper installation may create wear points on machinery which can lead to contamination.

    Contact our technical sales representatives for questions for Food Safety Solutions in your process layout
 

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.


Drain Plug Protector is a little innovation that solves big problems

The night shift has completed their work and the sanitation team begins flooding the process room with cleaning chemicals, water and spray to soak and sanitize every nook and cranny.  And what often gets blasted away? The drain plug often goes missing.  Sometimes the cleaning crew doesn’t even know it went down the drain.  Sometimes the production staff starting up the next shift also doesn’t know it is missing.

Many food processing people have a similar story, so Mepaco invented a tool-less self-containing plug that is impossible to lose and easy to appreciate.

Mepaco’s plug ejects far enough to release the waste, but is restrained against a solid welded restrictive barrier that holds the plug in line, without limiting performance, or enabling escape.  

Other plug designs don’t hold up to rigorous cleaning and aren’t designed to prevent the harboring of bacteria.  While sanitation teams want easy to clean solutions that will pass inspection, production wants efficiency with no loss of product.  Losing plugs are no longer a concern with these self-containing plugs.

 


Food Product Bulk Dumper Equipment Customized for Extreme Sanitation Protocols

Sanitary Dumper Equipment

Designed and manufactured by Mepaco, this pivot dumper has a high load infeed because of the dump elevation and limited ceiling height available at the customer’s food processing facility. This dumper features a pneumatic combo hold down, with options for additional sanitary surfaces to meet the demands of the caustic and aggressive cleaning procedures.

Due to the high load height, the pneumatic hold-down option allows the customer to use multiple combo/tote sizes in which their IQF (Individual Quick Frozen) products are supplied, without the need for manual adjustment. During the dumping process, the pneumatic hold-down prevents the combo and the liner from falling into the surge loader.

The customer opted for a stainless reservoir tank. Traditionally flat surfaces were redesigned with a pitch to allow water drainage. The top of the reservoir was also pitched to allow drainage.

The application called for all stainless steel piping and non-corroding fittings with a minimum amount of flexible hoses. These upgrades shorten the time to clean equipment between recipe production changes.

All product contact surfaces were electropolished for the greatest resistance to bacterial attachment and the most durable surface for caustic sanitation.

Visit Mepaco’s Dumper Equipment web page for more information and brochure.


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