Final Proofers: Maintenance Matters

by Shane Whitaker
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Proofers must be properly maintained to perform optimally. Temperature and humidity sensors that are part of the control system must be cleaned, recalibrated and replaced as necessary. Also, filters and strainers used in the conditioning systems need to be cleaned continually. “Drains, basins and ducts should be routinely inspected for debris and fungal growth,” said Rick Rodarte, director of engineering, Stewart Systems. “Pumps, blowers and exhaust fans should be inspected and maintained to strict manufacturers’ recommendations.”

Additionally, he suggested frequently monitoring the conveyor system’s drive loading and lubrication and periodically inspecting the chain bearings for seizure and wear. It is necessary to sanitarily maintain the proofer box so that no pathogen growth and proliferation can be sustained at any area including the floor of the proofer. “The enclosure should also be inspected annually to ensure that all panels maintain a tight seal and that foundation settling has not occurred,” Mr. Rodarte added. “All internal components should be inspected quarterly for corrosion and treated accordingly.”

In addition to maintenance, bakers today are trying to achieve a much higher level of hygiene and sanitation in their plants, and as cleaning requirements elevate, the number of man-hours needed to complete this task can soar, according to Peter White, president of I.J. White Systems.

To this end, I.J. White offers a Total Cleaning Package (TCP) designed to provide a 3-stage rinse, wash, sanitize cleaning of its Accu-Proof systems. “Using strategically placed spray balls and multi-zone cleaning, TCP can provide a level of sanitation and hygiene never before achievable in traditional conveyorized proofers,” he said.

Stewart Systems recently completed a project in which the design focused on the ability to clean the inside of the proofer. “We followed several food safety design specifications and improved the overall support structure, drive mechanisms and conditioner,” Mr. Rodarte said.

Capway Systems has concentrated on offering easier access to areas of its Capstep proofer that require sanitation, said Frank Achterberg, the company’s president. Also, the equipment manufacturer eliminated or reduced lubrication requirements, he added.

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