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How to Clean Stainless Steel Conveyors in 5 Basic Steps

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conveyor cleaning

Maintaining a clean workspace in food processing facilities is essential for productivity, safety and the life of your machines. It also keeps the public safe in cases where contamination could lead to illness.

Since each of these come at a pretty hefty cost and because there are a host of other compliance requirements your plant is faced with, conveyor washing is an essential task. Cleaning requirements are set by federal, state and local governing bodies and corporations will set specific policies based on these. Wash down conveyors are designed using stainless steel, continuous welds and components that make it easier to clean and stop food or particles from becoming trapped and bacteria growing.

Other factors such as water temperature and pressure, type of detergent and sanitizer used can change based on the environment and what’s being conveyed.

In this post, we’ll talk specifically about stainless steel conveyors typically used for sanitary conveying of food, chemical and pharmaceutical industries.  

Remember, cleaning conveyors is not a one size fits all or even most solution. Be sure to check with manufacturer and compliance requirements specific to your use.

Here are 5 basic steps to cleaning stainless steel conveyors.

1. Turn Off & Remove Loose Debris

After shutting down and turning off any electrical components (be sure to also protect those that are not waterproof or rated for wash down), manually remove any dirt and large pieces of food or other scrap material from the belt and any rails or other compacted area using sweeping motions. At this point, some conveyors may also need to be partially or fully disassembled for proper cleaning (refer to conveyor maintenance manual.) 

2. Pre-Rinse

Using low pressure water and air, rinse the conveyor system down to clean off any remaining dirt or particles prior to cleaning.

3. Detergent Application & Cleaning

Apply necessary cleaning agents. This can be as simple as soap and water or require a chemical application. Typically these products are a foam consistency and are left to sit on the belt, frame or other components for a few minutes – sometimes even scrubbed to loosen and remove stuck on debris as needed.

4. Rinse Off & Inspect

Use pressure and heated water recommended or required for compliance to remove the cleaning agents and any particles that have become loose. Continue to wash down all components until there appears to be no more dirt on the conveyor. Inspect and confirm that all areas are cleaned thoroughly and washes clear.

5. Disinfect / Sanitize & Re-Check

Use the required disinfecting agent needed for your application. There are both no-rinse sanitizing solutions and those that will require and additional final rinse to complete the cleaning process.  Once completed, inspect necessary elements to ensure they are clean, free of dirt and debris and that the disinfectant has covered in all areas.

If your conveyor required disassembling for cleaning (see step 1) it should be put back together prior to final inspection and any retacking or testing should be performed.  

mk North America’s full line of sanitary stainless steel conveyors offer cleanability, performance and reliability. Choose between three different conveyor system platforms to meet government and industry and specific compliance standards.

  • CleanMove Standard - For handling of packaged food or pharmaceuticals in a low moisture environment. Easy wipe and wash down using mild detergents and pressure.
  • CleanMove Plus - For processing basic non-cultured food items like bakery goods or snack foods, as well as fruits and vegetables and canning lines. Medium to high pressure washdown with the use of corrosive chemicals for cleaning.
  • CleanMove Ultra - For raw meats, poultry and fish as well as dairy products. High caustic and high pressure washdown processes minimize bacteria growth.

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