With conveyors, maintaining uptime often comes down to initial design. Sometimes, it involves nuts and bolts. Kofab, for instance, got rid of threaded rods to tighten tension. Instead, it uses a slotted apparatus that’s easy to clean, even if coated in sticky, icky gooey chocolate.

“Everybody is aware of the big things that keep a conveyor sanitary, but it’s also the little things that matter,” said Barry Whitman, Kofab’s global sales manager. “You can’t clean a threaded rod in three minutes.”

For sanitary design, Topos Mondial Corp. eliminates as many flat surfaces as possible. That’s not always easy because most conveyors operate horizontally.

“We also incorporated features like quick-release belt tension for our dough conveyors because you need to clean all surfaces, even under the conveyor belt,” noted Damian Morabito, president, Topos Mondial. “We need to take a page from meat or dairy manufacturers who design conveyors very well. Their designs are so much further down the line than the baking industry’s conveyors as they have been exercising sanitary design on their conveyors longer than the baking industry.”

AMF Bakery Systems offers S-Series conveyors. The “S” stands for stainless steel sanitary design.

“The whole structure is designed with a reduced quantity of parts, bent plate frames, sloped cross members and stand-offs on everything attached to the side frame,” said Bobby Martin, executive product manager. “This S-Series design is recognized in the industry as easy to clean and was inspired by the sanitary design principles of the highest standards in the food processing industry.”

Generally, most bakers replace cloth-style belts every six months to a year to prevent fraying, which can end up as a food safety issue, Mr. Whitman said. That’s a perfect opportunity to give the entire system an annual physical.

“When you change a belt out, that’s a good time to have a checkup on the conveyor and make sure everything is in order,” he said.