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How belt cleaning systems increase food production efficiency

Optimising food production is critical in any modern food factory to ensure profitability. As costs within all businesses continue to rise, a greater focus on maintaining continuous production, reducing downtime on product change-overs and shift change, in order to maximise operational output and production is paramount.

This is highlighted in the UNEP (United Nations Environmental Programme) and UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organisation) concept of “Cleaner Production”, which explores how “the continuous application of an integrated preventive environmental strategy to processes, products, and services to increase overall efficiency, and reduce risks to humans and the environment”.

Clean Conveyor Belts = Cleaner Production = Better Efficiency

Conveyor Belts - being the workhorses of any food plant - are integral to its operations, as such any new strategy should have them at the forefront. Automating the cleaning of your conveyor belts allows for an increase in productivity, whilst simultaneously achieving a higher rate of consistency in hygiene standards and the resulting quality of your products. Our BSUs (Belt Sanitation Units) are powered by portable industrial sized dry steam machines, which can be used for “day to day” cleaning tasks of peripheral non-production areas, such as cleaning racks, underneath conveyor lines, barriers, and supports - footings, stanchions, stands, steps. It can even be used for the disinfecting of high touch points like handrails and production equipment. The dry steam cleaners can even be used to degrease stubborn industrial equipment and even clean electrical equipment, as the steam is ‘dry’.

On average manufacturers lose 10% of production time due to line shut downs for periodic cleans

With the BSUs affixed to the belt, connected to the steam and industrial sized vacuum cleaner, dry, superheated steam penetrates deep into the belt’s surface, solidifying and safely removing any residual product from the belt, resulting in a completely sanitised conveyor belt, free of pathogens and allergens.

The BSUs can be used for periodic sanitisation of the belt during product changes, shift changes or general deep cleans, or they can be used for continuous sanitation during production when used on the return of the belt.

If a belt is not fully sanitised there is a risk that any microbial pathogens and/or allergens on top of the belt, can be transferred onto the rollers that move the belt. These can then be transferred back onto the contact points on top of the belt, cross-contaminating any new product on the line. 

This is perhaps most apparent for manufacturers of cakes and confectionaries, who deal with extremely sticky products. Any product residues left on a conveyor belt will cause quality issues and cross-contaminate any future runs of product coming down the line. Periodically, you would have to then shut the line down for interim cleans. This happens a number times per shift. Manufacturers lose on average 10% of their production time because of this.

Having a continuous belt cleaning system, like our BSU, removes this downtime, improving the belt cleanliness and sanitation and optimising performance.

How dry steam can make food production more sustainable

Other cleaning practices, that don’t harness dry steam, can increase degradation, such as continual high-pressure wetting, overly aggressive chlorinated products. In high care sandwich and ready meal lines, 1,000s of litres of water per day are wasted by in line washers, which continually spray the food contact surfaces. Although these systems can “visually” clean the belt, the belts are left wet and not completely sanitised at a microbial level. 

At Deeside Cereal. Originally water usage cost them £4.56 per tonne of finished product. Since installing 2 BSUs, this has been reduced to only £3.59 thanks to the introduction of our dry steam cleaning system. With almost £1 saved on each tonne of product in water usage alone, when you consider how many thousand tonnes of product are made a day, the savings are exponential. This doesn’t take into account the benefits from reduced chemicals purchases and usage, nor the environmental bonuses.


Use the latest proven technology from OspreyDeepclean Ltd. to automate processes in your plant to optimise your product yield, lower production costs, more efficiently use resources and the talents of all your employees to provide even more opportunities to increase profitability.

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