Maple Leaf Foods is a leading provider of consistently great-tasting, wholesome foods to Canadian and American markets. As a corporate mandate, Maple Leaf strives to reduce operational costs and downtime in all of its plants.
At the Maple Leaf Foods plant in Oxnard, California, loaf bread weighing sixteen to fifty-six ounces is conveyed via two cooling conveyors into spiral freezers. Before switching to Intralox, Maple Leaf used metal belts in its Northfield spiral freezers, which cost the plant excessive money and time due to a range of issues.
Preventive maintenance cost the Oxnard plant eight hours per week, while required belt flipping added approximately $6,500 yearly (to combat belt stretching). Unscheduled downtime was also high due to frequent belt breakage issues, which consumed four to seven hours of production time per incident. And, frequent replacement of cage bar caps and wearstrips added further to downtime.
Recognizing the problems that Maple Leaf Foods experienced with its former spiral technology, Intralox proposed a solution that promised to eliminate belt flipping and lubrication, lower maintenance, and save energy. Impressed with Intralox’s confidence that its technology could solve the metal belt problems, Maple Leaf agreed to the installation of an Intralox Spiralox® solution.
Intralox’s spiral technology delivered the promised results and more. After installing the Intralox solution, the performance of the spiral freezer at the Oxnard plant significantly improved. Lyle Webster, a Project Engineering Manager for Maple Leaf Foods who has worked in the industry for almost forty years, was very impressed with the performance of the Intralox solution. “Since trying it, I don’t think I’d ever go back to metal on any spiral application. Plastic belting is the way of the future in this industry. It’s more sanitary, it’s easier to care for, and it’s more cost-effective to run,” he said. “It’s just a superior-quality belting in spiral applications.”
Spiralox belts eliminate the need for belt flipping, saving the plant time and money each year. And when infrequent problems with the belt arise, the plant reported, repairs can be done in fifteen minutes—a drastic reduction from the previous four to seven hours. Preventive maintenance was also diminished to two hours every other week.
The Intralox spiral freezer eliminated the need for lubrication and consequently the corresponding potential for product contamination. The high-quality, long-lasting Intralox solution also provided a longer service life for cage bar caps and wearstrips. Over a year’s time, the Oxnard plant calculated savings of almost $5,000 with the new Intralox spiral just through lower energy costs of electricity and refrigeration.
Since 2003, when Intralox proposed the first Spiralox solution, Maple Leaf Foods has since installed Intralox spiral solutions in several of its other plants, including those of Canada Bread. In these installations, Maple Leaf and Canada Bread chose Intralox’s Spiralox Optimization Solutions, allowing Intralox to take 100% responsibility for the success of the spiral retrofit to ensure optimal spiral performance. Intralox spiral belt solutions have yielded over $150,000 of annual savings for Maple Leaf Foods company-wide.
“Intralox came in above expectations,” said Lyle Webster, Project Engineering Manager for Maple Leaf Foods. “And service since then has been great. You can’t ask for anything more.”