The firm, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, has taken four years to develop the product. It can be used to coat industrial tins to bake pies, bread, cakes and muffins.
Process to clean old coating
Nick Bailey, marketing director, CEO, SPL, told FoodProductionDaily, it will be equally relevant for equipment making sugary products, roasting ovens and making cereals such as granola .
“Working with bakery cleaning production equipment, we found the bakers were throwing old bakeware away when the original coating started to fail,” he said.
“We were amazed they did this as we knew we could offer a process to clean the old coating off and apply a non-PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) finish that was much tougher and wouldn’t chip or flake.
“We approached a few local larger scale bakeries and there was scepticism. They are typically conservative but eventually we got one to trial them in a muffin factory.
“The results have so far astounded them. They are getting more releases, no damage to the coating and they can still use the old bakeware. It is early days yet we are really excited about it. It’s taking a lot of time but seeing the results in trials is convincing us it is really good.”
SPL cleans a range of food and beverage production equipment including conveyor belts, chutes, filters and hoppers, removing parts that contain sugar, grease and oils. It can also clean heat exchangers by removing rust and limescale build up.
It uses an immersive process which means it can treat large batches at its Dudley facility with tanks that are over 8m long. Equipment which is too large to be moved or dipped in tanks can be treated on-site by a team of technicians by pumping SPL’s cleaning products through the entire system.
It claims to offer protection against contamination and corrosion and reduced downtime compared to ‘jetting’ methods. The cleaning fluids are safe to use on brass, copper, iron, steel, stainless steel and aluminium.
Mars and Cadbury
“Our process is a little different in that we can strip paint and coatings, remove rust and carbon, degrease and descale without attacking the surface of the metal,” added Bailey.
“We clean and re-coat a lot of plant and mixing equipment for food manufacturers including Mars and Cadbury. This includes conveyors, mixers, filters, bakeware, racks and heat exchangers.
The food industry in the UK likes the fact our process can clean away from the site and we don’t use chlorinated solvents, meaning we can meet health and safety regulations. Compliance is a major issue here.”
Bailey said the company will create a new division of SPL to focus on the bakery sector and it is already looking for a manufacturing site close to its existing facility.
Products from China
“It will require investment, more staff and infrastructure but from our initial trials, we believe this will dramatically reduce downtime and costs for bakers and is the right thing for us to do. We need to convince some of the more conservative bakers to give it a try but that will come,” he added.
Bailey said the main challenge in today's climate is compliance to legislation and its background of working in the food sector and the use of chemicals means process or quality control is critical.
“Transport costs and frustration with the quality from products coming from China means we are seeing manufacturers becoming resurgent and with more volumes, their process equipment needs maintaining and cleaning,” he said.
“With raw material costs likely to also rise and a greater awareness of waste, I sense that cleaning will be seen as more green technology and something to be embraced on a wider scale.
“Cleaning parts such as heat exchangers used in food helps to keep them more efficient and they don’t need to be replaced as often. Whole life costs will start to become more important.”