Cleveland-based MINOR’S, a division of Nestlé Professional, is one of the country’s leading producers of high-quality bases and stock products used by professional chefs. Recently, MINOR’S increased its production by bringing online a two-story, 75,000-sq.-ft. addition to the original plant. This $20 million-plus project houses an ultra-clean operation augmented by advanced technologies and processes, and will enable the company to satisfy a growing demand for its more than 140 culinary products.
A long-time user of Rytec Clean Roll roll-up doors, MINOR’S evaluated its needs for the addition and concluded the newest generation of these doors would provide the cleanliness needed to maintain food quality.
As product makes its way through the plant on specially designed automated guided vehicles, it passes through a number of rooms and any one of 27 doorways. All these areas must meet controlled environment standards. Positive air pressure prevents air infiltration; Clean Roll doors are set up in an airlock arrangement to maintain this environment.
Many of the functions once performed electrically and mechanically on the clean room doors are now handled by electronics in the Rytec System 4 controller. The AGV control system communicates with the System 4 to ensure the doors are opened in time and closed promptly after the AGV exits the door.
“The whole packaging area requires positive air pressure,” says Tom Arthur, MINOR’S plant engineer in charge of the expansion project, “and what we’ve done is balance the room using this sophisticated door system.”
The roll-up doors protect the operation in several ways:
• Tight seal—When the doors roll up, the curtain travels along stainless steel side guides that encase the sides of the curtain along the full height of the door. Protection around the doorway perimeter is completed by a brush seal along the header and a floor-hugging gasket seal at the bottom.
• High speed—Rapid access minimizes the kind of air infiltration that can allow pathogen travel and energy loss. Opening at a speed of 50 inches/second, the door remains open for as little as five seconds to maintain air balance.
• Low maintenance—The System 4 technology that coordinates door function with AGV operation also enables precise door positioning, infinite speed adjustments, real-time diagnostics of door operation and the ability to track door operation and performance.
• Cleanability—The door’s USDA- and FDA-compliant panel fabric is easily sanitized. The doors meet the requirements for current GMPs.
Wastewater, rinse water and spilled product are major sources of contamination in food processing facilities. The door curtain acts like a large catcher’s mitt for aerosolized microorganisms, blocking the entry of these invaders at the doorway.
Clean Roll doors have a pneumatic drip-catch tray that moves under the roll drum when the door opens to prevent adulteration and contamination. The door curtains have a sloped bottom bar, preventing contaminants from dripping onto product by channeling water off to the side of the doorway.
“We want this operation to be as clean as it can be,” says Arthur, “and the Rytec Clean Roll door is part of a successful program to control our environment and our quality.”