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Constant hygiene

Catering, party tents, deliveries for large events, extensive production and shop sales - the Binswanger & Kempter is active in many business sectors. The number of containers it uses for transporting goods is correspondingly high as well. The company uses the Meiko KA 15 automatic container washer to clean these transportation items. Angelika Kempter discusses her experiences with this machine in a Fleischerei field test.

The Metzgerei Binswanger & Kempter located in Gersthofen, Southern Germany has its own slaughtering operation, including a slaughterhouse. Apart from a broad product assortment, which specializes in Bavarian cooking, the butcher shop offers a party service and has also had its own party tent company since 1983, which allows it to participate in many large festivals in Augsburg, Gersthofen and the surrounding areas. The company employs a staff of 50 in production and sales; during seasonal party-tent operations, Binswanger & Kempter may need up to 200 temporary workers. Despite its size, Binswanger & Kempter remains purely a family-owned and -operated company: founded by the Binswanger couple in 1963, it is managed today by daughter Angelika and her husband Reinhard Kempter; their two children are already working in the company as well. A company of this size naturally needs various transport containers. Cleaning these, however, is no trivial task. This is why the company uses the Meiko KA 15 automated container cleaner. “We had another container cleaner before the KA 15. With the numbers of containers we have to clean, it would not have been possible to clean them by hand,” explains Angelika Kempter.

The KA 15 is designed for use in butcher shops and was specially developed for cleaning Euro-containers, transport boxes and similar items. Angelika Kempter gives this machine the best rating of “Excellent”. “Compared to hand-cleaning, but even to the machine we previously had, this container cleaner is very fast.” It can clean up to 150 baskets per hour, depending of course, on the operator.

Ergonomics and hygiene

The head of sales also gives the KA 15 the same top grades for operation and handling: “The machine couldn’t be easier to use.” The container cleaner is equipped with an electronic CE control and a keyboard display that is relatively simple to operate and shows all important information in clear text – wash- and rinse-water temperature as well as any motor problems.

The operator loads the machine via an ergonomic table; the container is placed upside down on this table and pushed into the cleaning zone. The container transport system then guides the container through this zone. The water temperature in the wash zone is between 55 and 60 °C; during the rinse cycle, 85 °C water is used to ensure visually as well as hygienically perfect rinse results. The transport system is also protected again overloading: even if a container should get stuck due to clumsy insertion, damage to the container or container washer is practically impossible.

The automated container washer also meets current hygiene requirements in regard to clearly separating between clean and unclean zones: the drain area is clearly separated from the entry and cleaning area as well.

If the KA 15 is to be manually loaded and unloaded, it can be optionally equipped with a foldaway reversing mechanism. Thanks to an adaptable guide roller, this reversing mechanism can be adapted to various container heights.

Meiko offers a number of other supplementary devices that users can choose among: “Transport belts for infeed and discharge, for example,” explains Angelika Kempter, who rates the expansion options for the container washer as good. Devices for heat recovery, drying or blow-off zones can be added, and meat production companies that want to use their space particularly flexibly can also purchase mobile container washers.

The fact that the device can only be used to wash containers can be coped with: “That’s why we got it. There are other solutions for flatware, and this was clear to us from the outset.”

Reliable operation

Angelika Kempter gives the KA 15 the best possible grades for materials and workmanship. Its housing is built primarily of stainless steel, just like its transport system, pump rotor and housing.

The removable surface covering sieve is also well designed. A tank covering sieve and round basket sieve over the wash pump ensure double wash-water filtering. A simple quick-release fastener guarantees simple handling during the removal and reinsertion of the rotating wash arms. Their large jet openings ensure dynamic cleaning on the one hand; on the other, they are not easily subject to blockage. Of course, the container washer also has to be regularly washed. “We have to remove the sieves,” explains Kempter – “the machine doesn’t clean itself. But that goes quickly.”

The container washer has no corners, edges or screws that would make efficient cleaning more difficult. Its noise emission is, as Angelika Kempter, “not disturbing in a production environment. It is not silent, of course, but compared to other machines in the production area, e.g. cutters, it really doesn’t make much difference.” The machine also accrues points for safety: “If someone really wants to, they can of course injure themselves, but when the machine is used normally, nothing can happen – and nothing has ever happened.”

But even the most reliable technology is not completely immune to breakdowns or failures. This is why reliable service is an important aspect when purchasing any new machine. Meiko also gets the best ratings in this department: “Right after we bought the container washer, we had a few questions and problems. When the service technician couldn’t help us by phone, the mechanic came almost immediately and helped fix the problem.”

Now, visits by the mechanic have become seldom: “Once a year we have Meiko service the container washer, otherwise, it is maintenance-free.”

Angelika Kempter continues to be convinced that her investment was worth it. In her view, the KA 15 automated container washer also offers good value for the money and is just right for her company’s needs. With performance of up to 150 containers per hour, high hygiene standards, simple operation and future-oriented expansion opportunities, this machine has all the features that are important for Binswanger & Kempter.

Dirk Bongardt

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