Roll Cleaning in the Food & Beverage Industry
I sat down with Kadant’s Mike Mercer, district sales manager, to better understand some of the challenges facing roll cleaning in delicate environments such as the food and beverage industry. Mike’s work at Kadant focuses primarily on scraping, roll cleaning, and doctoring technologies used in a variety of industrial processes.
V: Based on your experiences, how do roll cleaning applications in the food and beverage industry differ from those in other industrial processes?
M: Well, one of the more obvious differences is the industry jargon used to describe roll cleaning. For the last eight years, I had been referring to devices that continuously clean rolls as doctors in the paper industry. After speaking with my first few food and beverage customers, I learned the term “knife” and “scraper” are often used to refer to this type of roll cleaning product.
Another difference is the criteria used to evaluate everything from cleanliness to standardized rolls and blades. A third difference is found with the production challenges found in food and beverage applications. When using traditional scrapers in food processing applications, food dust can get into the scraper’s cavity and cause inefficiencies in the process and potentially lead to the growth of microbes. Because of this issue, many producers seek solutions to minimize food dust entering the scraper cavity. We knew this was a problem we could help solve, and subsequently developed the VeriLite X™ roll cleaner assembly to upgrade conventional scrapers.
V: What is the VeriLite X roll cleaner assembly?
M: The VeriLite X roll cleaner assembly is an encapsulated industrial scraper assembly that keeps rolls clean and contaminants away from the critical components where dust could collect. The unit installs easily in most applications and upgrading existing scraper assemblies has been found to be a relatively straight-forward process.
V: What makes it unique from other scraping products?
M: Several design features make the VeriLite X roll cleaner assembly unique and highly-effective. One of them is the top plate which totally encompasses the body to prevent debris from collecting on the internal pivoting components. In addition, the VeriLite X roll cleaner assembly differs from other roll cleaning devices because the loading and unloading is done within the compact body. Utilizing load tubes within the body benefits the customer in two significant ways. 1) The loading pressure of the blade against the roll is applied uniformly across the entire roll face. 2) The air loading allows for fine adjustments in the load pressure against the roll simply by adjusting the air pressure in the load tubes. Ultimately, the VeriLite X roll cleaner benefits the user by providing a super-clean roll that has the potential to provide more consistent end-product that can lead to increased yield, reduced waste, and a compelling return on investment.
V: What applications will see the most benefit from using the VeriLite X roll cleaner assembly?
M: Any industry where the process requires clean rolls to ensure consistent product quality or maximum productivity is a candidate for the VeriLite X roll cleaner assembly. We have found that industries such as food and beverage, specialty chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and metals, among others, have unique requirements where contaminants in the environment can lead to product quality issues or making the final product unsaleable.
V: What successes have you seen with the product?
M: As I mentioned earlier, the VeriLite X roll cleaner assembly was originally designed to help minimize food dust from entering the scraper cavity for a major food processing company and this application has been shown to be highly effective. This succeeded, in part, because we could retrofit the VeriLite X roll cleaner assembly to the customer’s current system. We took something that was cumbersome and made it simple and efficient.
V: Why would food and beverage producers want to upgrade to this new roll cleaning system?
M: We have found potential users to show great interest in the VeriLite X roll cleaner’s ability to improve their product quality and reduce waste. And we believe these are two key advantages for users of this new offering. Besides the design features I noted earlier, operation of the unit is simple and hands-free as the cleaner automatically adjusts to roll conditions to ensure optimal cleaning performance. Another big advantage is the simplicity of the blade change. In some cases, the change can be made with the roll running which can significantly increase uptime for a modest investment.
Click here to watch a short movie about roll cleaner assemblies.