Tool-Less Conveying Means
Jim Monaweck, Walker Custom Sheet Metal
If you’re a food processor that’s adopted a lean manu-
facturing approach, you likely employ a “less is more”
mindset throughout your operations. But there’s one area
you may not have considered streamlining: the tools and
time required to maintain, changeover and sanitize food
handling equipment. At Walker Custom Sheet Metal, we’ve
created the W.O.W. Conveyor™, a customizable system
that’s both ultra-sanitary and totally tool-less, and is provid-
ing our customers with more efficiencies.
With our tool-less conveyor, the pulleys, motors, drives,
chutes, bearings and belts can all be easily removed using
only one’s hands, so that anyone can fully disassemble
and reassemble the conveyor. One customer cut disassem-
bly downtime time by two-thirds because the conveyor
system eliminated the need for a mechanic during routine
maintenance (i.e., belt changes), sanitization and other
A tool-less design means the conveyors can be eas-
ily maintained by the equipment operator. For instance,
thanks to preset tensioners, belts no longer have tracking
issues and require no wrenches for adjustments.
The unique, patent-pending bearings on the W.O.W.
Conveyor are one of the design features that create the
tool-less system. They also allow manufacturers to sanitize
areas around the bearings and pulley shafts that would oth-
erwise remain unclean. These and other features, such as
a stainless steel, tubular design, offer improved and faster
sanitation to processors who must soon comply with the
Food Safety Modernization Act.
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tary compliance continue to be enacted, conveyor equipment
will need to keep pace.
How has conveying equipment for the food industry changed
over the last few years?
One of the major changes in conveying equipment for
the food industry is that they’ve become more sanitary
in design. This has been driven both by industry and customers. Also, since food manufacturers are often running
three shifts around the clock, they can’t afford downtime.
Sanitary conveyor designs need to allow for fast disassembly and cleaning, so systems can get back online and operating with minimal downtime.
Food safety is of the utmost importance for food processors.
What features are being included in conveyors to help processors improve food safety in their facilities?
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Processors are evaluating each application with food safety
first and tailor fitting or requesting features based on the
specific applications requirements. To meet this need, the
conveyors need to be designed continuously. Some applications may have cutting tables or food bins on the sides of the
conveyors. In these applications, easily removable parts are
a must. Removable parts or add on components should be
welded onto the conveyors and designed to drain effectively.
Some more common features across the board continue to be
removable bed plates for access to clean the frame, tip up tail
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