Processing / Case Studies & Field Reports

Making the most of a sticky situation

Fresh pizza dough likes to cling to trays and equipment, making it tough to clean them effectively by hand. 
Hygiene mandates in food production and packaging facilities continue to be a critical focus of processors and regulators, yet some processors still cling to cumbersome, less-than-effective methods of washing and sanitizing containers used in the process stream. One challenging example is cleaning trays that contain fresh, sticky pizza dough before reusing them. 
In manual washing operations that include power spraying, there is much room for human error. Workers may not achieve the water temperature required to properly sanitize trays and containers. Plus, even after hand washing, food remnants and cleaning agent residue can remain in the seams and corners of containers. However, automating the washing process assures food processors a complete cleaning and sanitizing of containers every time.
Other benefits add to the strong economic case for integrating automated washing systems. For example, saving on wasted labor and floor space and improving on production throughput are important incentives for many food processors.
Papa John’s, one of the world’s largest pizza chains, attributes much of its success to using better ingredients to make better pizza. One of the key ingredients, of course, is the pizza dough, which Papa John’s management insists must always be fresh. So every day, thousands of trays of fresh pizza dough are sent out from the company’s distribution commissaries to stores all over the world.
The use of fresh dough is a bit more challenging than handling frozen dough. For one thing, fresh dough is much “stickier” than its frozen counterpart, leaving some residue in many of the dough trays after use. This makes it very important that every one of the trays is thoroughly washed and completely dried before it is reloaded with fresh dough for further distribution.
To help meet this stringent requirement, Papa John’s Dallas, TX commissary installed an automated two-lane, four-tank washing system provided by CM Process Solutions to clean and sanitize its dough trays at the rate of 2,000 per hour.
“This washing system plays a vital role in the process,” says Dan Farmer of Papa John’s US corporate engineering QCC operations. “The rapid and more or less continuous washing and drying of these trays allow us to automatically meet our volume requirements and ensure consistent cleanliness.
“However, the real key is ensuring the trays are totally bone dry as they are conveyed from the washer directly to the production area for immediate reuse. CM Process Solutions guaranteed this and delivered it,” adds Farmer.
These washing systems are available in 304/316 SS, feature variable speed control, have electrically interlocked service covers, use SS chain transport conveyors, provide 360° jetting and feature a SS control panel. The washers can be heated by gas, electric or steam and have blow-off sections for drying. Various configurations are available, and automatic filtration, high-pressure jetting and chemical dosing systems are options.
In addition to the assurance the automated washing system meets Papa John’s stringent hygiene standards, Farmer adds that a properly designed automated washing system also pays off in tray throughput at Papa John’s.
For more information:
Mark Corser; 951-808-4376;

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