tries to accomplish their tasks in the
time given to them, would you be able
to execute them? One solution is to
take complex pieces of equipment and
reengineer them to simplify them.
For new equipment, this would
require the OEM to revisit the drawings to identify parts that may not be
needed, from simple things such as the
number of bolts needed to hold a safety
guard in place (if you are wondering,
the general answer is one) to the type of
side guard needed to prevent product
from falling off the conveyor belt (can
the product be conveyed in a trough
conveyor?) to the number of rollers
needed on a conveyor to the number of
scrapers needed, etc.
For existing equipment, it is as much
making sure the equipment is not modified to be more difficult to clean or less
hygienic (e.g., drilling holes in a tubular
frame) as it is to think about replacing
worn parts with a different model that is
more hygienic (e.g., replacing a bearing
with maintenance-free, wash-down bearings).
If tools are needed to disassemble
a part for cleaning, can one tool serve
for all the different parts? This is especially important to consider on legacy
equipment that may have gone through
different repairs and modifications over
the years (Figure 1). It is not unusual
to see equipment requiring an entire
toolbox to disassemble. There could be
efficiency gains realized by making attachments more uniform, for sanitation
and for maintenance, production, etc.
Finally, some parts can be very
similar, yet they may attach to different
places on the equipment. Having some
identification system to differentiate the
locations would help the sanitor and
maintenance when the time comes to
reassemble all the parts.
Due to modifications, this small
product guide shown in Figure 1 now
requires multiple tools to disassemble it
Figure 2 shows a dough elevator redesigned to be easier to disassemble for
cleaning. It can be fully disassembled
with only one tool in only a few minutes, providing full access to all the
parts to the sanitor or to the operator
during a changeover.
Some bakery OEMs invested resources into making their equipment
truly easier to clean. However, we need
to remember that some pieces of equipment have not gone through the same
process and application of “hygienic”
models and are nothing more than existing versions fabricated using stainless
steel. They may be shinier, but they are
still challenging to clean.
For legacy equipment, using a tool
such as the GMA equipment design
checklist or simply talking with the sanitors and maintenance technicians could
go a long way toward making small
modifications that could help greatly.
Always think about the first concept: “If
you can’t see it, you can’t clean it or inspect
it!” Are there unnecessary parts or complex assemblies that could be simplified
to make the equipment easier to clean?
From a sanitation perspective, there
are a number of advancements being
made, but the industry still diverges in
some areas, for example, run-time veri-
fication, sanitation method verification,
and environmental monitoring.
Depending on the run time, the
required cleaning frequency and the
number of production breaks may need
to be validated, because as mentioned
earlier, there is an increased level of
awareness when it comes to potential
for toxin-producing microorganisms
to grow in some dough/batter that will
not be destroyed by the oven. Other
scenarios that would require run-time
validation include the application of
slurry prebaked, for example, egg slurry,
dairy slurry, etc., that could allow for
microbial growth, especially if the slurry
is recirculated and not kept refrigerated.
Some bakeries are aware of the risk of
applying an egg solution to the surface
of products such as croissant bread to
provide a shine to the baked product,
but others have not identified this as
a risk. Unless the slurry is formulated
to prevent microbial growth, microbes
may grow and contaminate the product.
It is important for processors to un-
derstand the growth rate and clean the
slurry system before it becomes a risk.
Similarly, while running a bread line
for a week may not introduce hazards,
other products may be more susceptible to microbial growth, and their run
times may need to be validated. For
example, a line making decorated cakes
with whipped cream should probably
be cleaned more frequently than once a
The approach to cleaning evolved
to be more rigorous and better defined.
Most processors are familiar with the
seven steps of dry or wet cleaning. An
example of the seven steps of dry cleaning is provided in Figure 3. The decision
between dry and wet cleaning is driven
by a few factors, such as the type of
products, the presence of drains, the
design of the equipment, and the infrastructure.
If a facility does not have drains,
attempting to clean some of the equip-
ment using wet cleaning methods such
Figure 2. Hygienic Dough Chunker Elevator
Figure 1. Example of modifications leading
to more harborage points and difficult-to-clean equipment.