Baking & Snack - June 2018 - 106
"Floor-to-wall junctions are critical in a wash-down area so
you don't have a crevice where water or debris can hide and
cause bacterial growth," Mr. Pierce pointed out.
In most low-moisture facilities, restricting water usage pays off because it limits the ability of cleaning crews
to flush dough, flour and other effluent down the drain so
there will be no issues with municipalities or regulators.
Slashing water usage also prompts sanitarians to consider
other options that would require a closer, more hands-on
approach and potentially deliver cleaner equipment, product surfaces or floors, according to Mr. Pierce.
Bottom of the barrel
When reducing water usage, the total costs add up to more
than a drop in the bucket. However, calculating the exact
amount of water or the extra time to clean a system over 5
or 10 years isn't always clear when switching from one process to another. In addition to food safety, many companies
need other reasons encouraging them to clean their bakeries differently. "I've come to the realization that I have to
drive the war on water from a financial standpoint and the
need to increase capacity," Mr. Thorson said. "That's what
our businesses are looking for."
It's also why bakers struggle with paying extra for sanitary-designed equipment. "We're working on monetizing
the cost of sanitary design," Mr. Thorson said. "It's not just
the initial upfront investment. It's realizing that it's going to
take 10 hours more every time I clean one piece of equipment versus another. Or if I'm using water to clean it, I may
have to replace motors monthly instead of yearly."
To conserve water, Douglas Machines Corp. employs a
2-tank system for pan, rack and tunnel washers. One tank
recirculates detergent washer water while the other rinses
and sanitizes. The rinse water then flows back into the
wash tank for re-use, according to Kevin Lemen, marketing manager. After the initial tank fills, the only water consumption in these automated systems is the small amount
of rinse needed to remove soil and soap off the pan at the
end of the cycle.
For instance, Douglas SD-20 pan washer pre-programs
wash cycles between 4 and 8 minutes, followed by a standard 30-second sanitizing rinse and 60-second steam exhaust cycle. Using the shortest wash time, the system can
process up to 10 batches an hour using 56 gal of water.
Additionally, using PLCs or digital controls allows operators to switch to the shortest cycle time needed for various
soil conditions. "A lot of research has been done by Douglas
engineering to minimize the amount of rinse water and still
get a clean, sanitary result," Mr. Lemen said.
AMF Bakery Systems relies on spraying rather than immersion to clean baskets. "High-pressure pumps ensure the
water sprayers can remove the debris from the surface efficiently," noted Bobby Martin, executive product manager.
106 Baking & Snack June 2018 / www.bakingandsnack.com
Food safety boils down to
Regular washdowns may be unavoidable, especially to clean USDAinspected operations. In such instances, consider insulated metal panels
(IMPs) for walls and ceilings because
they are quick-to-install, cost-efficient
and cleanup-friendly, according to
Ryan Danhour, design project manager at Stellar.
In operations with nightly sanitation
cycles, IMPs are also durable, lasting
up to 15 years with minimal maintenance and the re-caulking of panel
joints every seven years.
Upgrading an existing or brownfield
plant to today's food safety standards
isn't always easy. An existing facility
may have less-than-ideal surfaces that
require more water to clean.
"Concrete is porous, which means
bacteria can grow in those hard-toclean pockets," Mr. Danhour pointed
out. "If your plant has an existing
concrete wall, you could paint it with
epoxy or urethane, but it's not ideal. If
you're building new, IMP may be the
way to go."
The challenges really come down to
investment. "You should choose to invest in all the best practices for cleaning, floor and wall finishes, and have
the right cleaning practices in place
with qualified people, so problems
will not occur," noted Mike Pierce,
president, The Austin Co. "When you
have everything installed correctly,
there is no more risk in a brownfield
or existing bakery than there is in a
new greenfield plant."
Mr. Pierce added that investing in a
food-safe facility often comes down
to a trade-off of operating costs vs.
"Note that operating costs will
continue to grow over time, while
capital costs spent now will be fixed
over time," Mr. Pierce said. "Planning
with the best practices in the design
of bakeries is the best first investment
you can make."