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Industrial Washing Machines Limited (IWM) has been supplying innovative washing and sanitising equipment to the food production and manufacturing sectors for almost three decades. A new development is the supply of high-care equipment for use in horticulture e.g. pallet washing.
The Jones Food Company (JFC), is a leading horticulturalist supplying fresh ingredients for many of the high street supermarkets. They needed a reliable sanitising solution for the trays in which herbs are grown. No standard washing machine was suitable because of the unusual size of these trays. IWM was, however, able to develop an efficient and cost-effective customised machine to meet JFC’s requirements.
JFC uses cutting-edge commercial hydroponics to grow herbs in a fully controlled environment. The plants are continuously monitored to ensure that they always meet the highest quality standards. The company is committed to maintaining the excellence and freshness of its products whilst minimising the environmental impact of its operations.
To support its drive to achieve greener operations and greater efficiency. JFC challenged IWM’s engineers to develop and build a specialised washing machine for sanitising hydroponic growing trays. These are 1500 mm high x 3000 mm wide x 65 mm deep – a completely non-standard size. The challenge was made even more interesting because JFC needed the machine to be delivered and working within 12 weeks!
The pallet washing machine solution developed by the IWM team was a tailor-made pallet washer that provides an efficient and effective wash process. It uses a hot detergent wash, followed by a fresh rinse, sanitizing and two-stage drying. The machine uses recirculated and filtered hot water for the washing cycle, which saves water, energy and detergent. Apart from loading and unloading it is completely automated and achieves an impressive throughput of up to 50 boards per hour.
The main washing section features 304L stainless steel welded construction with electrically interlocked side access panels. The wash and rinse sections have standard fixed position spray jet systems. The rinse main water inlet is controlled by a conveyor interlocked solenoid valve that ensures fresh water is only used when trays are passing through the section. The 500-litre wash tank is equipped with a 7.5 kw pump with inlet filter. The machine also features a stainless steel mesh belt-type conveyor equipped with a manually adjustable variable speed drive.
An important feature that was specifically requested by JFC is a steam extractor. This is needed as moisture build-up can degrade the quality of herbs in the high care area of the plant. To guard against this, a highly efficient steam extraction system with a 10-inch bifurcated stainless-steel fan was developed and fitted.
James Lloyd-Jones, Managing Director of JFC, was impressed with the service his company received from IWM, the quality of the product and the on-time delivery. “Our whole business model is based on growing plants in a high care facility where we can guarantee freshness and purity of ingredients,” he said. “When I contacted IWM in November 2017 to ask for a tailored machine, I expected this to be the start of a complex process. I was delighted to find that IWM took the project out of my hands and delivered the machine we wanted in just 12 weeks, as we had requested. The machine is automated and with its two-stage drying function, it saves a lot of time. I’ve never seen a similar machine and I don’t know of anyone in our sector that has this technology, which means that it gives us a distinct competitive advantage.”
“Every stage of the project went smoothly, from design to implementation,” he continued. “IWM are very helpful, nothing is too much of a problem for them. I’ve really enjoyed working with the IWM team. They have fantastic product and their service is second to none. I thoroughly recommend them!”
If you would like to find out more about our pallet washers at IWM or any of our other product ranges give us a call on +44(0)121 459 9511. Our helpful team will be waiting to advise you on the best products for your needs.
If you enjoyed reading this article you may also like to read our previous post on our new hygiene stations.
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