Frija waffle bakery, Fritz Jaspert KG was founded in 1913 in Westphalian Hamm, Germany. Today it is one of the leading ice cream waffle factories in Europe.
The family-owned company employs around 100 employees and their range of about 200 different products is certified by the International Food Standard (IFS). They are exported to almost all European countries, the USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
The production of the sweet twisted wafers, pressed croissants and waffle cups, Gluten-free and organic waffles as well as round waffles with different decorations and designs are produced at 34 fully automated, highly modern and traditional production plants. The capacity of the baking machines is 240,000 waffles per hour.
The waffle structure, decorations and designs, are obtained by the engravings in the baking molds. In order to ensure product quality on the one hand and product safety on the other hand, regular cleaning of the molds is a must. Previously, they were using costly angle grinders and brushes to keep the molds clean.
“Depending on the production plant and the product, the molds were cleaned at least twice a week," said Kevin Zalewski, operations and maintenance manager at Frija. "In order for the employees to be able to continue cleaning, the systems had to be stopped and cooled down. It was also partially necessary for the mold for cleaning to dismantle the molds. It was very time- and personnel-intensive as well as stressful for the employees. In addition, the engravings have been damaged over time, requiring costly rework or completely new forms."
In order to ensure that no wafers are delivered with impurities, a large number of the wafers produced after restarting the plant were disposed of. Therefore, Frija wanted to make the cleaning more efficient and employee-friendly.
They began to test the dry ice blasting process to clean their waffle molds. Dry ice blasting proved to provide a good cleaning performance and the enormous result in time savings. Dry ice blasting machines are compact, robust and mobile devices that can easily be transported from one production machine to the next.
Dry ice blasting, or dry ice cleaning, is an environmentally responsible cleaning and surface preparation technique. It is similar to sand, bead and soda blasting in that it prepares and cleans surfaces using a media accelerated in a pressurized air stream. It differs in that dry ice cleaning uses solid carbon dioxide (CO2) pellets or MicroParticles, which are blasted at supersonic speeds and sublimate on impact, lifting dirt and contaminants off the underlying substrate. The process is non-abrasive, non-conductive, non-flammable, and non-toxic. The dry ice blasting process also does not create secondary waste. The dry ice sublimates, or phase transitions from solid CO2 to gaseous CO2, when it impacts the surface being cleaned.
“Earlier, we needed between 30 minutes up to one hour for the cleaning, depending on the plant, now we reduce the cleaning time by half with the Cold Jet dry ice system,” said Kevin Zalewski.
“An even greater savings is achieved because we only have to clean the molds for the most part once a week instead of twice. This results in a significantly better cleaning with dry ice in comparison to the previous method with brushes. It also contributes to improved product quality," explains the operations manager.
Furthermore, the downtime of the systems are shortened because the molds can be cleaned while hot and still in the production line. All this contributes to a noticeable increase in productivity. Since no cleaning residues were left on the molds, the waste could also be significantly reduced when the plants are restarted.
“The dry ice no longer causes any wear, abrasion or damage on the molds and engravings, so that they are practically unlimited in use. Before we needed, depending on the system, between 30 minutes or one hour for cleaning. This cleaning time reduced by half with the Cold Jet dry ice blaster. If we take into account the savings that result from this, the investment in the dry ice cleaning system will pay for itself in less than a year,” says the operations manager.