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Calise & Sons Bakery, Inc. Decreases Flour Recycling Time by 66%

Using Nilfisk-Advance America's industrial vacuum cleaners, Calise cut the time it takes to recycle flour from 9 hours a day to 3 Family-owned and operated Calise & Sons Bakery, Inc. (Lincoln, Rhode Island), founded in 1908, manufactures more than 150 varieties of baked, parbaked, and frozen hearth breads.

Using Nilfisk-Advance America's industrial vacuum cleaners, Calise cut the time it takes to recycle flour from 9 hours a day to 3

Family-owned and operated Calise & Sons Bakery, Inc. (Lincoln, Rhode Island), founded in 1908, manufactures more than 150 varieties of baked, parbaked, and frozen hearth breads. In a typical 16-hour day, the high-volume baker produces approximately 60,000 units of bread and rolls with speeds of 20,000 rolls per hour on its highest producing roll line. Such a heavy production schedule demands that Calise maintain a rigorous sanitation and maintenance program to ensure superior product quality. National account requirements and the bakery's rigorous quality standards mandate that loaf for loaf, Calise's baked goods must have a consistent and superior size, shape, appearance, and taste.

Because plant cleanliness is vital to the success of Calise's business, the bakery implemented a computerized preventative maintenance and sanitation program in 1992. The computer schedules all plant and equipment cleaning tasks - which average approximately 1,112 man-hours weekly - to ensure that no task is overlooked. As part of this proactive program, all product contact surfaces are cleaned at the end of each production run, at least once daily. Additional cleanings are scheduled after using ingredients that pose an allergy risk. Calise's commitment to cleanliness has even earned the company a "Superior" rating in unannounced Food Safety Audits from the American Institute of Baking, an internationally recognized sanitation-auditing organization.

So, when Calise realized that a key step in its production process - the recycling of flour during dough manufacture - was generating dust and necessitating a labor-intensive clean-up, it immediately searched for a solution. H. Charles Obert, C.F.S.P., Calise's director of food safety/hygiene, explains how the flour recycling system was initially set up. "Stainless steel pans were fabricated and stationed below our production equipment to catch falling flour. Under the old system, workers had to scoop flour from the catch pans, transfer it to a container, transport it across the bakery, and sift it. Not only did this process take about 3 hours per cycle, but it also created an opportunity for spillage and contamination. Periodically, a bin would even get misplaced and we'd end up sifting bins that had probably already been sifted, rather than take the chance that unsifted flour would be allowed back into the process."

If unsifted flour was introduced into the process, Calise's product would become contaminated. Additionally, small pieces of dough might find their way into the flour mixture, clogging equipment and forcing workers to stop production. Any unscheduled cleaning and maintenance stops, when added to the 9 man-hours of daily flour recycling time, would be a major productivity drain. "Downtime is not an option when you're producing the volume of goods we are. Since every hour that my team works is indirect labor, the best thing I can do to improve the bottom line is to reduce the number of man-hours it takes to get product out of the door."

A New Ingredient For Calise: Vacuum Technology

Obert realized he needed an entirely new that would bring the flour-recycling process up to the same high-tech level as the rest of Calise's production line. After seeing an ad for Nilfisk-Advance America's (Malvern, Pa.) Nilfisk and CFM industrial vacuums in a trade publication, Obert contacted the company. Nilfisk-Advance America sales representative Ray McCarthy worked with Obert to evaluate Calise's processes - taking into account the materials that the bakery intended to handle with the system - and assess the team's needs. Together, they created an optimal flour-recycling solution.

"What we needed was a separate flour collection and recycling system - not just a central vacuum system. We decided on Nilfisk-Advance America because they provided a complete package. The CFM 3707 came with everything we were looking for in a single vacuum system, including a large capacity hopper, highly efficient filtration system, and anti-static hoses. As important, it gave us the ability to run two or more operators at the same time," Obert said.

Now, instead of scooping dusting flour out of individual catch pans and carrying it across the facility to the sifter, Obert's team simply collects flour straight from the pans using the CFM 3707's 4-inch diameter hose. Halfway through the first shift, second shift, and at the end of each day, workers travel down the line, vacuuming flour out of each catch pan. Once collected, flour travels through the vacuum's filtration system and directly into the Nilfisk-Advance America hopper.

Obert said, "The hopper is great because it holds about 250-300 pounds of flour and is integrated right into our line. It saves us two-thirds of the labor involved in sifting by turning a two-step process into a one-step process. When the hopper is full, we just use the manually operated butterfly valve to transfer the flour directly into a sifter, where all impurities are removed."

Because contamination is such a key concern for Calise, the vacuum's filtration system was also critical to its selection. If collected flour is not adequately filtered and retained within the vacuum system, airborne particles may settle on equipment and floors, threatening product purity and employee health. "In a high-speed bakery like ours, it's tough enough to do your job without having dust introduced into the air," Obert explained.

The CFM 3707 vacuum's unique filtration system enables Calise to quickly and efficiently collect large amounts of fine powders and debris, while ensuring that all collected particles are retained within the vacuum. The high-performance filtration system slows airflow across the main filter's oversized surface area, maximizing the air-to-cloth ratio for increased collection capacity with minimal clogging. A series of graduated filters, including an optional HEPA exhaust filter, ensure that 99.999% of collected particles, down to and including 0.3 microns, are retained inside the vacuum.

Obert concluded, "Overall, I couldn't be happier with the performance of the Nilfisk-Advance America vacuum system. Not only does the CFM 3707 help ensure that our flour and processes remain pure; it does it 66% faster, enabling us to maintain productivity. The bottom line is that we could have the cleanest bakery in the world - but if we're not getting quality bread out of the door, then what good is it?"

Nilfisk-Advance America is dedicated to helping its customers in the food industry meet their individual cleaning requirements and challenges with a complete line of high-performance industrial vacuum cleaners. The company's Nilfisk and CFM brand vacuums are equipped with industry-specific features - such as FDA-approved hoses - and exceptionally efficient filtration systems, ensuring dust- and debris-free food and baking facilities. Nilfisk-Advance America's vacuums are used in a variety of food-industry applications, including general food plant maintenance and clean-up; allergen and pathogen control; overhead cleaning; equipment, floor, and wall cleaning; product recovery; process-integrated applications like packaging, filling, bagging, and mixing; and the cleaning of milling rooms, explosion hazard environments, ovens, and pits.