Managing Risk: a Case Study of Stick Washing
Industry-leading automation from Sani-Matic upgrades the process of washing meat sticks for Cher-Make.
In the back lot of the Manitowoc, WI-based Cher-Make processing plant lays the remnants of an old rolling-drum machine originally intended to wash meat sticks. The stories of back pains, loud noise, as well as damaged and unclean sticks, are now a distant memory. This rolling drum machine has since been replaced by a Sani-Matic Stick Washer that makes cleaning meat sticks easy and safe while it quietly runs in a small corner of their process room.
This patented design allows one worker to easily wash 1,000 sticks per hour using very little water and chemicals over an entire day’s production.
Cher-Make was looking not only to help its sanitation workers but also to improve the quality of the cleaning process through automation. The new Sani-Matic Stick Washer is loaded with 100 sticks at an ergonomically-friendly 40-inch height. With the movement of a lever, the sticks are dumped from a hopper into the detergent section of the machine. An inclined conveyor keeps the sticks in a constant rolling motion while submerged in a detergent reservoir with a re-circulating jet manifold that impinges upon the sticks and removing any soil residue. With the flip of another lever the conveyor unloads the meat sticks into a rinse/sanitize bath. Again, at an ergo-friendly height, the operator unloads the machine and places the sticks in transport barrels to keep the stuffing lines busy — never again having to wait for clean sticks.
The overall operation of the Sani-Matic stick washer is very efficient. The cleaning time can be varied according to soil load, but typically a four-minute cycle is sufficient to get the sticks cleaned to a proper sanitary standard. The chemical strength in the detergent section at Cher-Make is automatically controlled to take the guess work out of maintaining a proper concentration. The Sani-Matic washer can usually be run all day without a detergent change unless the sticks are heavily soiled where a one time change may be necessary. The rinsing and sanitizing solution needs changing 2-3 times per day at most.
Thoughts of an injury no longer worry management, and now the workers see washing meat sticks as easy to accomplish, rather than a task to avoid. At Cher-Make, the decision was clear: wash faster and better, save money using less water and chemicals, and eliminate a real pain in the back. NP