Allergen removal is a major concern for many small- to mid-size plants that don’t have a line to dedicate to products made with allergens, according to Martin Riis, product specialist, cookies, Unifiller Systems, Inc., Delta, BC. Therefore, cookie manufacturers want easy-to-clean equipment. The company’s mini Dopositor can be completely broken down into four parts for cleaning, and all parts of its standard machine that come in contact with dough also are easily removed for washing.

Because it was impossible to take apart large industrial-size extruders for cleaning in the past, Unifiller made the most innovative changes to its largest Dopositor. The company added retractable side plates so operators can access any surface that comes into contact with the dough, he said.

“The side panels are not removable because they are big pieces of stainless steel and are too heavy to remove, but they can be retracted, moved away from rollers and any surface that is contact to dough is exposed. And you can wash the entire machine down; everything is washable. All controls are NEMA 4X.”

Mike Sherd, project manager of Egan Food Technologies, noted that because many cookie products contain allergens, the Grand Rapids, MI-based equipment manufacturer is working to improve sanitation of the machines. “Our designers have made great strides in improving the cleanability and changeover time between products,” he added.

Tom Weidenmiller, president of Weidenmiller Co., Itasca, IL, emphasized the importance of sanitation, noting that many manufacturers are taking steps to make equipment easier to clean. Equipment manufacturers are eliminating sharp corners that can be difficult to clean and installing electrical cabinets away from walls so they are easy to get behind for sanitation, he said.