On a recent project with a world-leading natural, high-protein whey and cheese production plant we were put to the challenge of moving 45-pound blocks of cheese out of the processing stage to the final packaging stage.
As the process ran originally, the blocks of cheese entered a large refrigerated storage unit in a first-in-last-out (FILO) orientation. To ensure the proper cooling and storage time of the cheese for optimal quality of cheese, the customer needed to batch their product in a first-in-first-out (FIFO) orientation.
To meet the FIFO flow requirement and increase production output, we had to address some challenges:
- All cartons need to be flipped over on the sanitary conveyor
- The design had to fit into a small elevated area with several building and machine obstacles to work around
- The customer also needed to minimize cheese production downtime.
- We had only five weeks to bring the FIFO solution from concept, to design, to installation.
We implemented a sequence of Dorner AquaPruf 7400 Series, AquaGard 7350 and 7360 Series sanitary conveyors to carry the cheese blocks from the refrigerated storage unit to a discharge point and included a special product flip-over device. The conveyor system was installed in only a few days and effectively moves cheese blocks, as required, in FIFO orientation. By adding significant capacity to the cheese packaging process with our conveyor systems and the cheese product adding 16 more cheese towers, production throughput was increased dramatically. Overall, the timeline from placement of order to completed installation was less than 6 weeks.