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ConAgra Brands

Milton, PA USA

The customer

ConAgra Brands is an approximately $8 billion company that combines a rich heritage of making great food with a sharpened focus and entrepreneurial spirit. They are modernizing their iconic food brands, leveraging fresh opportunities and adapting to a changing landscape – all with a culture that’s ready to capture growth and drive shareholder value. The primary brands handled at the Milton facility are Chef BoyArdee and Healthy Choice. The conveyor systems are handling mostly meat, pasta and aluminum cans. This facility is one of the biggest in the ConAgra system nationwide.

ConAgra – Milton has been a customer for many years but the relationship really took off in 2013 and has been growing steadily since.

ConAgra Logo

Application

ConAgra was running a competitor’s Monolithic belt on their meat grinder infeed. The belt had welded cleats on it and were loose in the back (gusseted) so they would go over a roller. This caused bacteria build-up under the cleat and the belts were very hard to clean. The design and placement of the cleat also led to it being very easy to be broken off the belt. If the broken cleat traveled to the hopper/grinder, it would contaminate the meat and cause a very expensive shut down.
We suggested switching to a modular belt which would eliminate the gusset behind the cleat (bacteria point) and reduce the potential for cleat breakage and contamination. Forbo delivered an all white belt, series 6.1 POM-CR.

ConAgra

Our belting solution

"Chef Boyardee meats ProlinK"- The series 6.1 POM-CR was an intial hit. Forbo’s belt was less expensive and performed better than the competitor’s product. Small issues existed which we later addressed.

The second belt was modified to have PE cleats which are more flexible in cold temperatures. It also included one row of blue PE cleats. This was done to allow the operator to watch the belt rotate one time to look for damaged cleats. Having one row of blue cleats allowed the operator to just look at the belt and examine it as it moved and not have to count the rows of cleats Once the blue cleats went by twice, the inspection was done. The last modification to the second belt was widening the pocket by approximately 50%. This provided the operator a larger area in which to load the frozen block of meat. This wider area reduced the risk of cleats getting broken and contaminating the ground meat.

The third (and final) generation of belt started with changing the belt from flat top to cone top. The points of the cone top helped keep the meat block in place as it ascended the incline. The belt was also changed to a blue base with blue cleats and one row of white cleats. This was done for visual effect during inspection. A piece of blue belt or cleat would be easier to see in the ground meat, possibly saving that batch. The white belt material would blend in more easily with the ground meat. The one row of white cleats was again to assist the operator with inspection of the belt periodically; not having to count flight rows.

ConAgra

Result

The original conversion was done in 2013. This was done in the main meat room on the most problematic conveyor. With reduced life cycle cost, less down time and virtually no contaminated (lost) product, the decision was made to retrofit all of the hopper feeders with Prolink. The belts have been running for several years on these applications and ConAgra is very pleased with the results.
We have leveraged the success of the meat room belts into more belts and applications in the plant. We now sell Series 10 Prolink belts and Monolithic belts for ravioli, spaghetti and noodle handling as well as other meat applications.
Overall a great success that has led us to become the preferred belt supplier in the plant.

ConAgra
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