To reduce labor and downtime, bakers may want to explore inline wet cleaning processes or clean-in-place systems, if possible.

“It will be a better way to sanitize the equipment,” said Ricky Milner, product line support leader, Wire Belt Co. of America. “The only time I would use a dry system would be when the equipment is subject to rusting where a wet process would damage the equipment. Regardless which system is used, you would still need to follow standard sanitation operating procedures.”

IJ White offers the Powerwash 5000, a portable high-pressure system that pre-rinses, foam washes and sanitizes plastic and stainless-steel spiral and conveyor belts. The portable system feeds into the patented Typhoon Belt Washer that uses Dual Rotary Spray Heads operating at 500 rpm to provide complete belt coverage.

“You enter a cleaning cycle into the operator screen a pre-selected program that cleans the belt automatically rather than doing it manually,” said Peter White, president, IJ White. “The computer-controlled system works in conjunction with our Jet Dry System, so we eliminated compressed air. You still need downtime to thoroughly clean and dry the belts, especially for raw dough or baked goods, but you eliminate a lot of labor and cost.”

Cleaning oven belts can be especially tricky, noted Craig Bartsch, general manager, IPCO North America. After washing off often sticky debris, solid belts need oiling or conditioning when left standing for any length of time. Perforated oven belts require a slightly different treatment, with brushes used to clean the inside and outside of the belt.

“The removal of these deposits can be difficult and time-consuming, usually involving the application of chemicals, dry ice or detergents and a great deal of manual input,” Mr. Bartsch said.

IPCO’s high-pressure QuickCleaner system blasts a high-pressure combination of baking soda and calcium phosphate onto the belt to remove the bulk of the residue. Mr. Bartsch said the system reduces cleaning times by as much as 70% and eliminates rust.

Although it’s easy to forget about conveyors, remember to keep a close eye on them to avoid being blindsided by a risk that could lead to a potential recall.

This article is an excerpt from the February 2021 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on conveyors, click here.