Precision machinery reliability boosted, says Key

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Manufacturing

Improving sanitation and equipment reliability were the primary factors that drove the enhancement of existing precision sizing and grading machinery, claims a US company.

Food manufacturers are increasingly seeking equipment that can boost efficiency and bolster their margins in a contracting global market.

Key Technology said the goal of the upgrades to its Farmco Sliver Sizer Remover and Rotary Size Grader was to eliminate rust and the need for constant oiling.

Lubricant-free system

“These objectives were achieved by designing a food-friendly drive system and lube-free adjusting system made of corrosion-resistant, long-life polymer components,” ​claims Dave Johnsen, product marketing manager at the Washington based manufacturer.

He told that the upgrades reduce maintenance by eliminating the need to oil moving parts, and since this maintenance can be performed while the machine is operating, production downtime is not affected.

Johnsen explained that the polymer bearing blocks are manufactured to extremely tight tolerances to assure precise and repeatable roller spacing adjustment. “When a bearing is worn, the bearing insert simply needs to be replaced and the polymer pillow block re-used.”

In addition to the drive system upgrades, a new adjustment handle improves worker safety because it folds flat against the machine and as such is out of the operator's way, he continued.


Johnsen added that the upgraded parts can be retrofitted to current installations, either by Key service technicians or by the food processors’ maintenance personnel guided by Key’s field instruction manual.

The Sliver Sizer Remover, said the manufacturer, is used for removing slivers, fines, and chips; precision sizing and grading; de-juicing and deseeding; and removing debris on processing lines handling fruit, vegetables and other food products.

Key said that the machine removes targeted material using a series of stainless steel rollers, with the size for separation, selected by the customer, and determined by the gap between rollers:

“Targeted product falls through the rollers and exits beneath the machine, while remaining material moves on to downstream equipment over the tops of the rollers.”

The equipment is designed to meet capacity requirements of up to 13,608 kg/hour (30,000 lb/hour), added the company.

And it explained that its Rotary Size Grader removes short pieces, nubbins, loose seeds, and snipped ends of vegetables while conveying good product to downstream equipment. Common applications, claims Key, include french fry strips, cut and whole green beans, julienne vegetables, onion and bell pepper strips, and other products.

Related topics Processing & packaging

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