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Are Pet Food Tube Conveyors Safe And Sanitary?

A pet conveyor system

As the demand for pet products surges, driven by heightened pet humanization and increased pet ownership, ensuring the safety and cleanliness of the production process is essential. But are pet food tube conveyors safe and sanitary? Let’s explore the role of a tubular conveyor in addressing these concerns, offering a glimpse into why it has become a cornerstone in the quest for safe and hygienic pet food production.

Are Pet Food Tube Conveyors Safe and Sanitary?

Pet food tube conveyors are exceptionally safe and sanitary. Their hygienic design, ease of cleaning, and compliance with stringent regulations make them a reliable choice for ensuring the safety and cleanliness of the pet food production process.

Unprecedented Growth – Unpacking the Surge in the Pet Food Industry

The current pet food industry is growing about three times faster than the packaged food industry. The major factors influencing this growth revolve around the owners’ increasing awareness of their pets’ health, increased pet humanization, and the adoption of more pets per household.

In 2021, the global industry reached $110.53 billion and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.11% until 2029, when it will be valued at around $163.7 billion. Even though it was expected that the COVID-19 pandemic would have a negative impact on the pet food market – as it had on practically every other global market – the opposite occurred.

The pandemic led to an increase in pet ownership as people looked for companionship and turned to pets for emotional support. In addition, with more people working from home, they had more time to take care of their pets and pay attention to what they ate. Overall, the global market experienced an increase of 4.75% in 2020 compared to 2019.

Pet Ownership Peaks – Transforming Preferences and the Demand for Healthier Pet Food

It is safe to say that pet ownership is at an all-time high. According to The American Pet Products Association, there are over 90 million households across the United States that have at least one pet. Most of these pet owners are no longer interested in traditional pet foods.

They seek healthy ingredients and demand higher transparency when it comes to nutritional labels. What’s more, they are willing to pay extra for them. These trends do, however, raise some questions regarding safety and sanitization in the overall production.

A pet food conveying system

Safety and Sanitary Regulatory Compliance in the Pet Food Industry

In the food processing industry – whether that is pet or human food – the safety of the product (food safety) is of paramount importance. A contaminated food product can result in recalls, severely affecting the company’s image and revenue.

However, when it comes to the human and pet food industries, the liabilities go beyond mere recall and replacement costs. There is a potential for loss of life, which was the case with the Peanut Corporation of America’s (PCA) 2008 tragedy. Nine people died, and over 700 others developed food poisoning due to salmonella contamination, which is a testament to what can happen when safety and sanitation policies are not strictly enforced.

The pet food industry also had its share of unfortunate events, where pets have died as a result of contamination or wrong ingredient mixes ending up in the marketplace. Since 2011, however, with the passing of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) – the largest food safety reform in the United States in the past 70 years – far stricter food grade regulations were put in place by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) concerning the pet food processing system.

Elevating Standards – The Crucial Shift Towards Proactive Safety and Sanitation in Pet Food Processing

There’s increased pressure on pet food manufacturers to pay closer attention to safety and sanitation. Processing organizations need to shift their focus away from reacting to any foreign material contamination and look toward preventing it before it happens. That’s why many leave the more traditional conveyor belt system and choose enchanted safety, sanitation, and easy cleaning (as these are among the highest priorities when it comes to this kind of conveying system).

A tube conveyor conveying pet food

Explore Possible Pet Food Material Conveying Challenges

Uncovering the intricacies of pet food material conveying challenges is a must if you want to enjoy successful conveying. As the industry surges forward, both food and conveyor systems manufacturers face unique hurdles in ensuring the seamless movement of materials. Here are some of the most common safety and sanitary challenges that a pet food manufacturer might face:

Product Breakage and Line Changeovers

One of the industry’s most common issues is product breakage and degradation when animal feed is transported through pet food conveyors. Several factors influence material degradation, including high conveying speed, suboptimal inlet design, temperature changes, product shearing, and friction-induced separation. 

The immediate results may translate into wasted pet food products and higher production costs. It can also lead to a higher risk of cross-contamination of the conveying materials, particularly in the event of line changeovers. When pet food manufacturers run different materials on the same lines, they need to clean and sanitize the feed conveyors between all changeovers to prevent contamination.

Sacrificing a bit of speed and overall production in favor of somewhat slower tube conveyors will help minimize many of the issues associated with product breakage. A tubular disc and cable system has a more sanitary design overall and is easier to clean than other automated conveyor systems like a vibrating, roller, auger, infeed, chain, bucket elevators, pneumatic conveyors, and many other types of traditional manufacturing conveyor systems.

Maintaining the Right Nutritional Mix

It’s also critical for pet food manufacturers to keep the right nutritional mix. Doing so consistently can prove to be a challenge with most industrial conveyor systems. With ingredients having different densities and granularities, separation can lead to proportional inaccuracies.

However, Cablevey’s cable and disc drag conveyor systems are better suited than buckets, pneumatics, spiral conveyors, vacuums, horizontal motion open belts, and other systems. The reason is quite simple – Cablevey’s automatic conveyor system moves material blends without altering the ratios designed by the nutritionist.

Cleaning Cable and Tube Conveyors

Belt conveyor manufacturers were once one of the most popular options, but times have changed, and so have technologies. The majority of production facilities use bucket elevators for their bulk handling. However, these systems are not exactly hygienically designed, requiring extensive interior and exterior cleaning. As a result, you will have a lot of downtime, particularly during line changeovers.

Conversely, tubular drag conveying systems prove to be highly suitable for food-grade applications as they adhere to the sanitation standards and specifications outlined by the FDA. These conveyors utilize polymer-coated 304/316 stainless steel cables with high-strength, one-piece polymer discs, which smoothly navigate within stainless steel tubing. This ensures a gentle, quiet, and dust-contained transportation of materials through the product stream.

Cleaning brushes inside the Cablevey conveyors

Choose Between Wet and Dry Cleaning

At the end of every conveying cycle, the discs remove any material fines or waste product from the tubing. Any material clinging to the disc and cable assembly will also be removed. Ultimately, every facility will develop its own cleaning protocols. These will be based primarily on the sanitation regulations and challenges posed by the materials used. The material’s reaction to water will indicate whether wet or dry cleaning would be the appropriate choice. 

Moreover, for seamless integration and performance optimization, consider expert conveyor installation supervision during the implementation of these cleaning protocols. Accessories for wet or dry cleaning can be promptly affixed to the cable, facilitating swift and comprehensive system cleaning. This significantly reduces downtime during changeovers. Cablevey Conveyors provides the flexibility of both wet and dry cleaning options for tube conveying systems.

Precision in Cleaning: Exploring the Components of Internal Tube Cleaning for Various Conveyor System Sizes

This internal tube cleaning option is applicable for 4-inch, 6-inch, and 8-inch system sizes and configurations and involves several pieces of equipment. These are:

  • Air knife – This is a line insert strategically located to blow compressed air and eliminate any accumulated fines off of discs.
  • Brush box – Another line insert that will brush off accumulating fines off discs.
  • Sponge disc and sanitizing cleaner – This is a disposable sponge disc with an applied cleaning agent that’s run through the entire system once and discarded.
  • Urethane wiper disc – Finally, this is a disc insert that wipes away any particles and accumulated fines.

Efficient Wet Cleaning Process for Tubular Drag Conveyors – A Step-By-Step Guide

Wet cleaning stands as a rapid and straightforward process for cleaning internal tube conveyors, suitable for all system sizes and configurations, much like its dry cleaning counterpart. The process involves several key steps in a tubular drag system:

  • Water rinse – After discharging all materials from the system, water is introduced to cleanse the inside of the tube and other components.
  • Foam agent – Following the water rinse, a foam cleaning agent is introduced, effectively cleansing all internal parts of the tube.
  • Sanitizing rinse – A thorough sanitizing rinse traverses the entire system, eliminating any lingering debris, contaminants, and remnants of the foam cleaning agent.
  • Final water rinse – The process concludes with a final rinse of hot water, ensuring the removal of all residues, including the sanitizing rinse, to render the system and its components production-ready.

Choose Cablevey for Unparalleled Pet Food Conveyor Solutions

Pet food production facilities must adhere to stringent sanitation and safety regulations, just like human food production facilities. The right tubular conveying system will go a long way in ensuring compliance. Tubular drag conveying systems are an excellent choice for pet food handling because they are easy to clean and maintain. They also minimize the risk of contamination, helping you keep your facility running smoothly and efficiently.Cablevey pet food conveyor systems are perfectly suited to move all materials and mixes. Our systems can also be engineered to service any part of the production process, making them the top conveyor choice for facilities that worry about finding an automated conveyor system that fits their unique spaces. Contact us today for more information on our conveying systems and discuss your production needs with one of our experts. We look forward to working with you!

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