Unibloc Blog

Maintenance Made Easy with the Unibloc® UltraLobe™ FoodFirst 700 Series

By | October 19, 2023

Even as U.S. manufacturing firms poise for a resurgence, industries across the board find themselves critically short of skilled labor. The business consultancy firm Deloitte predicts that by 2030, U.S. companies will need two million more manufacturing workers than are available for a lost opportunity cost estimated at $1 trillion per year.

Skilled workers for the maintenance department are not exempted from this shortage, forcing companies to constantly seek shortcuts to avoid having to resort to drastic run-to-fail measures. Efficient operation, equipment lifespan, and long-term production costs hinge largely on critical equipment maintenance.

Equipment suppliers such as Unibloc® Hygienic Technologies (UHT), aware of this dire need, continually innovate to ease the burden on manufacturers while supplying desired performance metrics and throughput. The newly introduced Unibloc UltraLobe™ FoodFirst 700 Series lobe pump emerges as a game-changer at this critical time, offering increased throughput combined with simplified maintenance, a truly unique combination that addresses multiple issues.

The Struggles of Maintenance in Traditional Systems

In a typical setting, maintenance can be a labor-intensive and intricate process. Dismantling parts, cleaning complex designs, ensuring that no contaminants are left behind, then reassembling the machinery can be time-consuming, taking up to two hours for a standard pump cleanout.

Furthermore, mistakes or oversights during these processes can result in equipment malfunctions, decreased efficiency, and/or broken parts or missing parts, which can result in product contamination – a non-negotiable issue in industries with stringent sanitary and safety standards such as food processing or pharmaceuticals, for example.

Given the current skilled labor crunch, these maintenance challenges are amplified. Companies often find themselves with equipment that requires skilled hands for maintenance but lack the personnel to devote the proper time. This gap can cause issues such as unplanned and prolonged downtime, reduced throughput, increased operational costs, damaged equipment, and at the very worst, product recalls.

Unibloc UltraLobe FoodFirst 700 Series—Maintenance Redefined

The 700 Series pump, with its innovative design, offers a refreshing solution to these challenges:

Seamless interior for simpler cleaning: Fabricated from 316L stainless steel, the pump is designed with a smooth surface devoid of seams or crevices. The absence of crevices or indentations means there are fewer places for bacteria or other contaminants to cling to and proliferate, making the cleaning process more straightforward and efficient. Hastelloy® is available for all wetted parts as an option that supplies the durability necessary to withstand harsh and stringent cleaning protocols.

Quick Cleaning with Nonstick Exterior: The gearbox in the Unibloc UltraLobe FoodFirst 700 Series has smooth, nonstick exterior surfaces. This concept ensures that product residue will not cling and enables quicker and more effective cleaning and sanitizing.

Patented One-Way Assembly and Disassembly: UHT’s patented QuickStrip® technology, unique in the industry, requires no specialized tools for disassembly and reassembly. The one-way assembly process is simple and repeatable, easy to learn and simple to perform in a short amount of time. This innovation not only saves time and aggravation, but also reduces the risk of pump damage and minimizes the chance of foreign material contamination being introduced into the production cycle.

Innovative Safety Swing Arm: The swing arm feature, unique to Unibloc® pumps such as the 600 and 700 series lobe style products, provides multiple benefits. It eliminates the need for the maintenance crew to dismantle the cover and place it on the floor, instead allowing the cover to remain attached to the pump yet easily swing to one side upon opening. This accessory protects the maintenance crew from potential injury, protects the cover from possible damage or contamination from placement on the facility’s floor, and makes maintenance much easier and quicker to complete.

Minimalistic Rotor Design: The pump’s rotor design has eliminated components like plastics, O-rings and rotor bolts. This simplification reduces the parts involved in daily sanitation processes, especially those parts that are not constructed of metal and more susceptible to damage, and/or requiring replacement. This is of particular interest to industries that must comply with stringent hygiene standards.

Engineered for CIP or COP: The Unibloc UltraLobe FoodFirst 700 Series was engineered with 3A sanitary processes in mind. The pump accommodates either Clean-in-Place (CIP) or Clean-Out-of-Place (COP) processes. While meat processing requires COP for CIP, the equipment does not need disassembly for cleaning — a benefit for processors when every minute of uptime impacts production and profitability.

Meanwhile, the COP functionality is facilitated by the fact the pump minimizes moving parts, ensures easy access and promotes seamless reassembly, for a thorough clean without traditional complications.

The Benefits of Easier Maintenance Across Industries

At its core, maintenance is designed to help supply machinery with longevity, efficient operation, and in most cases, the purity and quality of the end-product. The Unibloc UltraLobe FoodFirst 700 Series pump provides easy maintenance to assist with:

Labor Shortage Solutions: Machinery that is easy to maintain means less dependence on specialized personnel. The easy maintenance offered by the 700 series can significantly reduce the strain on the existing workforce so critical personnel can be redirected to other critical tasks.

Reduced Downtime: Every moment a piece of equipment is down for maintenance is a moment of lost production. The quicker and easier maintenance supplied by the 700 Series lobe pump ensures that operations can resume faster, aiding with efficiency.

Cost Efficiencies: Simplified maintenance translates to reduced labor hours, less risk of worker injury, and a decreased chance of rework due to maintenance errors. It also increases machinery lifespan, which combined contributes to cost savings.

Quality Assurance: Especially in industries such as food processing, easier maintenance means thorough cleaning can be achieved. This ensures product purity and helps industries with stringent sanitation requirements adhere to industry standards, to safeguard the public and their brand reputation.

The Unibloc UltraLobe FoodFirst 700 Series pump, along with all the pumps designed and engineered with unique, proprietary features from UHT, doesn’t just supply the industry with a larger, newer piece of equipment. It represents a thoughtful answer to a longstanding industrial challenge, especially relevant in today’s context of labor scarcity — a pump that increases production and decreases maintenance time and complexity.

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