How to clean and maintain an industrial mixer
Industrial food mixing equipment is an essential piece of machinery in many food manufacturing operations. Their ability to quickly and efficiently combine large amounts of ingredients makes them very useful to many businesses. However, without proper cleaning and maintenance you will likely find yourself with a broken-down mixer and a costly repair bill or having to replace the machine entirely. To avoid this and to ensure your industrial mixer can run smoothly and with longevity, we’ll be looking how to effectively clean and maintain your mixer in this article.
Key cleaning and maintenance steps for an industrial mixer
Lubricate the parts
This is not a task that has to be done every day, but lubrication is an essential part of running your industrial mixer with a consistent schedule in place. Certain parts of the mixer like the sliding bowl height adjustor only require oiling around twice a year. Listen out for squeaking from the gear housing as this will be an indication that it requires oil.
Checking the lubricant levels regularly (once a month for most parts) will extend the life of your mixer by years. Some components within the mixer like the drive components make up a lot of the mixer’s cost. Therefore, if just that one part needs replacing it can almost be as expensive as buying a new mixer. With that in mind you should pay specific attention to the levels of lubrication around the reducer, drive, and shaft bearings.
Keep the seals maintained
The seals on a mixer are designed to keep the ingredients inside and protect the movement of the shaft. This means if the seal becomes worn or damaged, food can escape, or the shaft’s alignment could move out of place. There are several different types of seals, and the maintenance requirements can vary depending on which one your machine has. If you notice your seal is leaking or is damaged in any way don’t leave it. As it can lead to more problems. Having it repaired or replaced as soon as possible will ensure your mixer remains operational, safe, and cost effective over the long term.
Protect your mixing tub
The tub of the mixer is the body of your machine and with so many components moving at speed. It’s important that this is protected, cleaned thoroughly, and maintained. Without it you wouldn’t have anything to mix your ingredients in. No matter what type of mixer you have, ribbon, paddle, etc the tub of the machine can end up getting damaged. If the agitator is too close to the walls. In addition, you will need to look out for any objects that could get into the machine and cause problems like metal or small stones.
If the shaft becomes misaligned as mentioned above, this can cause the mixing blades to shift either too close or too far away from the tub. This can result in the mixing operation being disrupted, which has a knock-on effect on other important processes.
Equipment used in the food industry all have an individual job that works as part of a larger overall operation. So, if one of your machines encounters a problem. Everything else will be negatively impacted and you could lose a lot of money while operations are down. When it comes to your industrial mixer, it will be designed to meet the needs of your specific ingredients. As a result, if it’s not aligned correctly, it won’t mix properly, and you could end up with a significant amount of waste. Check the alignment of your shaft if you can hear scraping noises or if it looks like the mixer is vibrating more than normal.
Keep the components dry
Whilst cleaning your mixer properly is important in ensuring there’s no cross contamination and proper food health and safety standards are met. Water can be harmful to the internal parts of the mixer. Therefore, when cleaning with hot and soapy water, you should ensure that it is completely dry afterwards. High pressure cleaning techniques are typically not the best approach when dealing with industrial mixers. If water accesses the parts inside the mixer, it could result in rust and the machine breaking down.
Keep the intervents clean
The intervents are especially important when mixing dry, powder ingredients as they enable displaced air to escape. However, this function means that they can often become blocked with dust. They need to be part of your cleaning schedule in order for the air to escape and ingredients to be added to the mixer easily. If they don’t have a path to escape, dry ingredients can create dust clouds which introduces a serious risk of fires.
Cleaning and maintaining your industrial mixer properly are extremely important to the overall workings of your food operations. If your business is involved in food engineering and you need on-site support, the team at FESS can help.
Our consultants are experts in their field and will help your food manufacturing operations become more efficient and cost effective. As well as future proof it for the long term. Contact us today to learn more or get started by booking a free site survey from us online.