Service Agent Q&A with Tim Lochel, service manager, Elmer Schultz Services Inc., Philadelphia
FE&S: Describe a typical cleaning schedule for flight-type ware washer.
TL: Flight machines should be cleaned daily. At a minimum, the pump intake screens should be removed and cleaned to ensure the pumps are able to move enough water to maintain the minimum wash and rinse pressures. Also, removing the wash arms and cleaning the jets is recommended. A good weekly routine would consist of washing the interior and exterior panels, along with a thorough cleaning of the conveyor system.
FE&S: How are these cleaning tasks best accomplished?
TL: Most of the parts can be taken to a sink and cleaned manually. Harsh cleansers or acids are not recommended to clean the parts. Dish soap, scrub pads and personal protective equipment are all that is needed. High-pressure hoses should never be used to clean any of the warewasher’s exterior parts.
FE&S: How can operators extend the service life of these units?
TL: Supervisors should generate a cleaning log based on usage that supports a regular cleaning interval. A planned maintenance visit with the service agent also should be scheduled. The service agency will be able to perform preventative-type work that includes, but is not limited to, greasing conveyor bearings; checking and adjusting wash and rinse temperatures; checking for leaks; inspecting and adjusting conveyor jam switches or optical lenses, as needed; and inspecting water valves and vacuum breakers for corrosion and leaks.
FE&S: What are the signs that indicate a service agent is needed?
TL: An operator should call a service agent immediately if they notice low wash or rinse temperatures or when there is any mechanical or electrical failure.
FE&S: Are there obvious indications when these units need replacing?
TL: The number one sign that the equipment should be replaced is continuous electrical failures. As these machines age, they will be exposed to high temperatures and constant dampness. This will cause the electrical components to deteriorate over time and long before the frame and panels of the unit break down. A complete overhaul could be a cost-effective option, rather than replacing the unit, but getting parts could be a challenge, as some will be discontinued by the manufacturer over time.