Italian manufacturer Deco Industrie produces bread and biscuits at its plants in Bondeno and Ravenna. Cooling lines, which span the area between the oven discharge and packaging areas, can be a challenge for facilities that make these products. The cooling line elevators in Deco Industrie’s plants were no exception.
At the Bondeno plant, a modular plastic belt along the secondary cooling line caused issues due to butter and fats migrating into the belt’s hinges. Plant personnel had to remove the belt from the conveyor once a week to execute labor-intensive cleaning in another part of the plant. The Ravenna plant was experiencing similar issues with flat belts, which caused not only cleaning difficulties, but also challenges related to belt tensioning. The constant adjustments required to keep the belts operational led to edge fray, mistracking, and (eventually) belt breakage. Belts broke approximately every 3–4 months; when this happened, production was stopped until a replacement could be successfully installed.
Deco Industrie sought to overcome the cooling line challenges at the Bondeno plant. Its goals for both plants were to extend belt life, reduce downtime and time/labor spent on cleaning, improve overall line efficiency, and redeploy personnel to work on more impactful initiatives. On the basis of a longstanding and trusting partnership, Deco Industrie turned to Intralox for a solution. Intralox officials recommended Intralox® ThermoDrive technology for both the Bondeno and Ravenna plants.
ThermoDrive technology combines flat, 100% closed surface, homogeneous thermoplastic material with the positive drive feature of modular plastic belting. Using a patented tensionless belt system, it helps snack manufacturers simplify sanitation and optimize operational performance. Having already installed ThermoDrive belts throughout several of its plants—including the Bondeno and Ravenna* facilities—Deco Industrie was familiar with the technology’s benefits, which include:
- Reliable, predictable operational performance (no unscheduled downtime)
- Highest standard in food safety risk mitigation
- Easily lifts in place, allowing effective and efficient sanitation and quick return to production
- Significant reduction in operations and maintenance costs
- Increased productivity and improved yield
- Extended belt life
- Easy on-site repairs
The Bondeno plant’s cooling lines were retrofitted with ThermoDrive belts in September 2016. Since then, Deco Industrie has realized extended belt life, reduced time and costs devoted to maintenance, and the elimination of belt-related production downtime. By implementing a simpler cleaning process, the plants have also significantly reduced time and resources devoted to cleaning. Deco Industrie Maintenance Supervisor Claudio Saccomandi had this to say:
“ThermoDrive belting has made cleaning faster and easier, which is especially important given how tricky these products can be for sanitation. We had previously found great success with ThermoDrive—zero unscheduled downtime in eight years—and these new ThermoDrive belts are poised to reach, or even exceed those targets.”
*A ThermoDrive belt installed in the Ravenna plant in 2008 lasted for more than eight years before replacement. The plant experienced zero belt-related unscheduled downtime (on a 24/7 run-time schedule) during that time.