In 2011, Marunaka Confectionary opened a second plant, in addition to its headquarters located in Hyogo Prefecture, to expand production of its unique specialty doughnuts. The doughnuts are supplied via “just-intime” delivery to major convenience stores and supermarkets throughout Japan that maintain the highest levels of hygienic standards. The new plant produces six to seven types of doughnuts at a rate of 60,000 pieces per hour.
Marunaka had used wire belting in the past, and was very unsatisfied with the results. The belts produced black specks due to metal-on-metal friction and proved to be difficult to clean to a hygienic level. They required such a great amount of labor to clean that it was impossible to sanitize them throughly, whereas, ideally, they would be sanitized daily. In addition, the sharp edges of the belting posed safety hazards for workers, and special technical resources were required for safe handling.
As a company principle to ensure production of the finest quality products with high efficiency, Marunaka instituted a stringent set of criteria to be used when selecting ingredients and machinery, as well as production processes. With the opening of its new plant, the company applied these criteria to equipment selection. For conveyors, Marunaka demanded that the equipment must be safe (for its products and its workers), must enable hygienic food processing, must provide easy maintenance and cleaning, must be operable by female workers (the majority of its workers), and must be durable.
Intralox’s S1500 cooling line solution not only met all of these requirements, but promised to eliminate the problems the plant experienced with wire belting. As Marunaka had previous success with Intralox modular plastic belting on cake cooling lines, it was confident in specifying Intralox S1500 belting for its new doughnut cooling conveyors, as well as S1100 belting for downstream alignment and singulation processes.
“We are highly interested in safety-both of our products and our workers-and superior hygiene. And we are quite happy with Intralox,” said Mr. Yasuhei Nakayama, Senior Managing Director of Marunaka Confectionary.
Intralox belting has proven to be an easy-to-clean and low-maintenance conveying solution for confectionary processing. Black speck contamination has been completely eliminated, allowing the company to meet ever-increasing standards for food safety. In addition, the cleaning and maintenance processes that the plant’s female workers perform have now become very easy due to the lightweight belting.
At installation, the length of the S1500 belting had to be modified because of a floor plan change, which was handled without difficulty due to the belt’s modular design. Since the new plant has opened, Marunaka is proud to show prospective suppliers, buyers, and visitors of the plant the line’s new, attractive, clean look and quiet operation.
As the future successor of the company, Mr. Daisuke Nakayama said, “As the company has invested such great efforts in its hygienic management over the past couple years with such great results, it can now redirect its attention to new product development.”