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In food manufacturing processes, thorough and dependable cleansing of the weigh pans used to weigh out various food products and ingredients is essential both to prevent the introduction of dust, dirt and other contaminants into the product, and to minimise the risk of unwanted ingredient transfer.
Accidental transfer is particularly important when changing between different flavours for a product, and even more important when dealing with potential allergens.
A pan that has been used to weigh out nuts, for example, must be cleaned scrupulously if it is subsequently to be used to weigh out ingredients for a product that will be declared as nut free.
In the past, food manufacturers have typically addressed these requirements by transporting weigh pans from the weigh point to a washing system – or even to a manual washing station – located elsewhere in the plant.
This is an inconvenient and time-consuming procedure, particularly as weighing operations are usually performed on a mezzanine floor, which means that the pans often have to be carried up and down stairs.
A further issue in such cases is that the regular use of stairs while carrying heavy loads of pans is a health and safety hazard.
In response to these challenges, we have consulted with our customers and then, on the basis of their input, drew on our long experience in the industrial washing and sanitising sector to develop a new and innovative range of pan washers.
This range has two base models – the PW28 and the PW56 – both of which can be extensively customised to meet the precise needs of individual users.
The PW28 is a floor-mounted machine that can accommodate up to 28 weigh pans per load. With this machine, soiled weigh pans are loaded into special holding frames that form part of a two-piece trolley, this frame easily slides into the washing compartment, leaving the wheeled base unit ready to accept clean pans after wash/rinse cycles.
The PW56 is a pit-mounted machine with a capacity of 56 weigh pans per load. Trolleys are again used for loading and unloading, but with this machine the entire trolley complete with loaded weigh pans is accommodated by the machine, making it unnecessary to transfer the baskets/pans individually.
This is a useful benefit in the high-volume applications for which the PW56 is primarily intended.
Both of the new machines can accommodate radials and other accessories along with the weigh pans, and both offer users a choice of different wash cycles.
These can be readily selected by the operator using an intuitive touch-screen interface system that is tailored during commissioning to provide the full range of functionality needed by the user while eliminating clutter and simplifying operation by hiding any options that the user does not require.
The touch-screen also gives users access to pre-programmed cleaning cycles that helps to ensure that machine remains efficient and effective in operation, even after extended periods of use.
A typical wash cycle includes a hot pre-wash at between 50-55°C followed by a detergent wash at the same temperature. Water, detergent and energy usage are minimised by re-circulating the wash water via a high-performance filter system.
To ensure efficient cleaning of the weigh pans and ancillaries, the washing chamber is equipped with our proven and effective motorised TravelJet system.
Washing is followed by a hot water rinse at 85°C. This is usually sufficient to flash dry pans – especially stainless steel types – ready for immediate re-use, but a full hot air drying system can be provided where the fastest possible turn around is necessary.
Various other features are available; including automatic wash water dump cycle, which ensures that any traces of allergens potentially held in suspension are discharged to waste.
The cycle time from loading the pans into the machine and taking them out ready for use depends on the level of soiling, the configuration of the machine and the type of wash cycle selected, but is typically between two and 30 minutes.
All major components of our new weigh pan washers are fabricated from stainless steel to ensure long life and hygienic operation, even in high duty cycle applications in hard water environments.
In addition, like all of our machines, they have been carefully designed to eliminate dirt traps and to allow easy access to key components, including pumps and filters, making them easy and inexpensive to clean and to maintain.
If you have enjoyed reading this article you may also like to read our previous post on our heavy-duty cabinet washer.
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