Service Agent Q&A: Scott Marshall, training manager and senior technician, AR Repairs Baker’s Kneads Inc., Center Line, Mich.
FE&S: How often should breaders be cleaned?
SM: These units typically use wet breading, so the coating gets everywhere. In high-volume operations, this equipment should be cleaned twice a day, but typically, daily cleaning will suffice. Operators should follow the breader manufacturer’s recommendations.
FE&S: What is the best way to clean these units?
SM: Operators can break down parts and put them in a three-compartment, wash or soaking sink. Soap and water can be used, and then parts need to be sanitized, rinsed and dried thoroughly.
FE&S: Do breaders typically have a lot of service issues?
SM: Generally, these units aren’t bad for servicing. Sometimes there are issues with switches because breading gets inside but most have protective covers. It’s important to keep these clean and prevent breading from merging into the controls. When switches get gummed up, they tend to fail.
FE&S: What is the typical service life for breaders?
SM: These units last about five to six years. When the systems start slowing down on automated models, this may indicate a belt problem or buildup of food debris. In this case, the breader should be completely disassembled and thoroughly cleaned to see if that solves the problem. As long as the units are kept clean, they will last a long time. We don’t work on these too often, so they don’t seem to have many problems.
FE&S: What are the signs that a service call is needed?
SM: When the unit is acting up and cleaning doesn’t solve the problem, it needs to be looked at immediately so downtime is avoided.
FE&S: When should an operator consider replacing a breader?
SM: When an automated unit is slowing down and spinning parts such as shafts or bearings are worn down, the unit may be at the end of its service life. If operation becomes sloppier, the breader can be replaced or rebuilt, depending on the cost. Operators need to justify whether the cost to fix it is worth it or if a new unit is justified.