cleaning manufacturing area

The Best Practices for Cleaning Manufacturing Equipment

Literally, so many things happen behind the scenes so that we can enjoy all the packaged goods offered in the market. Those vacuum-sealed sausages and cheese, Tetra-packed and bottled beverages, and other preserved goods that keep our quarantine stash filled are only ever possible with manufacturing companies strictly implementing protocols within their facilities. Still, mass production is hugely credited for top-of-the-line equipment such as liquid filling machines that keep our beer spirited and giant mixers that make store-bought cakes consistently fluffy. 

Manufacturers cannot function without machines, so much that even a minute of downtime can cause thousand-dollar losses. That is why they should be treated with utmost care and kept at their cleanest to produce food within quality standards. If you’re wondering, here’s how they do it.

Maintain a Record of Maintenance

Factory equipment must be checked for its functionality as often as recommended. The purchase of every piece of equipment is usually closed with a memorandum of agreement between the company and the selling party. In it, the schedule of preventive maintenance work shall be indicated. On the other hand, works of more contingent nature, those whose need arises because of an unexpected breakdown, otherwise called corrective maintenance, should still be clearly agreed on in the contract. 

A record listing all the maintenance work that has ever been performed on the equipment should be kept either in a printed file or, better, in an accessible online database. Of course, since a machine works at its best partly due to its cleanliness, the management should also keep tabs on dates and times equipment was wiped or washed. On the operation side, consistently documenting these activities will guide cleaning personnel on their task delivery. From a financial perspective, this helps keep track of purchases of spare parts, accessories, and tools.

The Exponential Benefit of Automation

Just like how smart air purifiers give alerts for when their filters are due for changing or how some facilities have a built-in water testing site that automatically cuts off the water supply after detecting toxic or fecal matter, integrating cleaning alerts into your factory’s control centers offers years’ worth of benefits that otherwise wouldn’t be felt without them. To give you a picture, it will take less of the line supervisors’ time and energy and, instead, they can attend more immediately to actualities while the lines are moving. Cleaning now becomes more of muscle rather than mind work, which can be done without interrupting productive time.

Efficient Cleaning Tools

Whereas a staff can be taught to be intentional and thorough when they clean equipment, nothing beats their efficiency if mechanical tools assist them. These tools include pressure washers and hoses that can emit water as fast as 240 miles per hour and remove the most stubborn grime in a snap. The best part of cleaning with pressure washers is their ability to eliminate harmful microorganisms like mold and mildew.

Water cannons are another heavy-duty equipment that releases pressurized water and can withstand harsh conditions. There are electric and manually operated types of water cannons, and they usually come with specialized fitted nozzles that release water in different directions and coverage. While they are typically used to wash large vehicles, they are handy in washing factory equipment, particularly for final rinsing.

Still, manufacturing machines that are equipped with self-cleaning capabilities are technically becoming the norm. For years, researchers, including those involved in the TresClean project, have been invested in formulating materials for equipment bodies that resist oxidation and the growth of microbes that tends to happen in food-handling facilities. Soon, businesses can enjoy the economies of scale from no longer having to clean their equipment every so often.

The Importance of Lubrication

Lubricants keep gears turning smoothly and, in turn, your equipment running with no glitches. It is imperative to check the back end of your assembly lines if bolts and gears are still adequately greased. Moreover, the assigned personnel should check for buildups or leaks and clean them before reapplying lubricating oils.

Train Those in the Assembly Lines

The staff who directly interact with machines also have a crucial role in keeping their workstation at its most pristine state as possible. They should not engage in non-work activities, especially eating, where they must take off their protective gear. They should be strictly prohibited from manipulating controls or moving the equipment other than how they were trained.

Cleaning factory equipment does more than keeping them at their tip-top speed and function. It also helps reduce chances of downtime and, therefore, repair-related expenses and production losses. Most importantly, this keeps the workplace safe for factory workers.

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