The Kellogg Company has improved the convenience and speed of maintenance operations on the corn flakes ovens at its Trafford Park, Manchester, factory with the purchase of two specially adapted IBIX blast machines from Hodge Clemco.

The nine ovens in the factory — the biggest specialist cereals production unit in the world – are shut for maintenance every four weeks in order to ensure product quality and reliable operation. Each oven typically toasts a tonne of cereal an hour at about 300ºC by passing it continuously through a tunnel of perforated steel.

Part of the maintenance procedure involves deep-cleaning the inside of the ovens, which measure some eight metres long x two metres high, to remove residue and small particles. Kelloggs previously used crushed corn grit for this work, but the equipment was heavy and inconvenient to use, and grit had to be removed from the ovens after cleaning. The IBIX machines are much easier to use, and the sodium bicarbonate abrasive automatically flashes off when the ovens are heated.

Because of their compact size and light weight, operators can easily move the machines into position, and the blast and air control hoses are also light and convenient. Air pressure can be adjusted from 0.2 to 7 bar to control abrasive output, and the nozzle is a comfortable pistol-style component with safety button.

The IBIX machines have been specially designed to ensure good material flow for the sodium bicarbonate, and two moisture traps and a non-return valve to protect the filter have been included. Cleaning each oven now takes about 45 minutes, which is half the time with the previous system.

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