With three production facilities and six sales offices spread over Europe, Plusfood ranks among the five largest suppliers of further processed poultry products in Europe. Plusfood’s products are known under the internationally well-known brand name Friki and under its customers’ own labels. Along with geographical expansion into new markets in eastern Europe, Plusfood is committed to new product development and innovation, with the goal of producing the best quality products at the lowest price.
Plusfood was experiencing several problems with a steel spiral belt over the last few years of ownership. Approximately 2% of all plant maintenance time was spent on spirals, devoting an average of one half day per month to checking, repairing, and maintaining the steel spirals. In order to avoid unscheduled downtime during production hours at high cost, Plusfood scheduled preventive maintenance during the weekend.
Belt breakage caused downtime. When the belt flipped because of high tension, two hours of unscheduled maintenance were required. Plusfood estimated that sixty meters of replacement belting was used in the past four years, totaling expenses of 9,000 euros.
Plusfood was also concerned with reducing the amount of product that was lost or damaged due to broken metal links. Additionally, Plusfood wanted to solve its belt and spiral cleaning and sanitation issues.
Having a spiral that works efficiently, continuously, and reliably is of absolute importance to Plusfood Technical Manager Ale Douma. “The spiral must always run. It is the heart of the factory,” he said.
Intralox worked closely with Plusfood to deliver a modular plastic spiral belting solution and EZ Clean In Place (CIP) system to retrofit the steel spiral. Intralox’s revolutionary line of Spiralox® belting can cut product waste in half, eliminate metal wear debris, and reduce maintenance and downtime costs by up to 75%.
Two months after installing the Intralox solution, Douma reported improved efficiency. “We run the belt without tension now” and “we do not need to stop anymore for repairing,” he commented. Visual checks also showed a higher level of belt hygiene when used in conjunction with the CIP system. The head of the cleaning team reported being more satisfied with the Intralox solution than with the old steel spiral belt.
The biggest advantage he noted was that it is easier to clean. “It saves them [the cleaning team] time, and that is also money,” said Douma.
Ale Douma reported that his experience with Intralox has been very positive. He was impressed with the amount of time and attention Intralox devoted to Plusfood in preparation and product selection, bringing in many specialists and discussing everything in detail. “Intralox is very professional, I must say. I am very pleased with that kind of service. Absolutely,” he said.
Although reduced maintenance costs and improved hygiene are important to Plusfood, most critical is that Plusfood can count on the spiral to be reliable and not break down during production. “In the beginning, I was very afraid of the plastic belt. Now, I am very glad we started talking about it and looking into it with Intralox. Otherwise, we would have still had the old steel belt; now, we have improved,” Douma said. “Next time we need to replace or install a new spiral, we would definitely go for an Intralox plastic belt.”