A global powerhouse in the food industry, Nestlé has manufacturing plants in 77 countries around the world, and throughout that network, hygiene and safety are a major priority.

When one of their South African manufacturing facilities had concerns about potential issues from flour leakage on a wafer production line, the engineering team looked to industry-leading BFM® fitting connectors to provide the solution. 

Nestle South Africa - Tapered connector - beforeNestle South Africa - Double Connectors - BeforeFlour Leaking From Flexible Connectors a Concern

The problematic connections were located between a vibrating feeder at the base of the silo and a screw feeder, as well as between the screw feeder and a drum drier. These connectors, responsible for delivering cake flour to the wafer production line, were made from silicone rubber tubing and hose-clamped to the pipework.

Despite valiant efforts from the maintenance staff, flour continued to leak between the connectors and pipes, even with double clamping. This resulted in the accumulation of powder on plant surfaces, and fine dust permeated throughout the factory's atmosphere.

Given the ATEX environment, this posed a genuine risk as it could serve as a potential fuel source for a secondary explosion.

Stringent Safety Requirements Demanded Action

The constant need for powder cleanup in the general production area was unsustainable, and the explosion risk the dust presented needed addressing immediately.

Nestlé's global compliance standards are comprehensive, and the BFM® fitting system has already successfully undergone its stringent approval process for use in Nestlé plants worldwide. So, the Nestlé ESAR (East and Southern Africa Region) engineering team reached out to the local Authorized BFM® Distributor, Capack Pty Ltd, for assistance in upgrading their wafer production line connections to the industry-leading BFM® fitting system.

RNestle South Africa - Tapered connector - after BFM - CROPPEDNestle South Africa - Double Connectors - After BFModney Emmanuel, Senior Sales Engineer at Capack, worked closely with the Nestlé ESAR team and proposed the installation of BFM® fitting’s blue-band Seeflex 040E connectors in both problematic locations. To get the maximum long-term benefits from the system, he recommended the pipework be modified as part of the installation process.

“The pipework at the base of the silo was tapered and modified to accommodate the BFM® spigots, and a slightly tapered BFM® fitting was then positioned above the screw feeder,” said Rodney.  

“For the twin outlets delivering from the screw feeder to the drum drier, the two upper connections were redundant as only one compensator was really required to stop the transfer of vibration,” said Rodney.  

“The pipework was adapted so there was only a single flexible connection, which will provide long-term savings as it will not only reduce connector wear but there’s also now only one actual connector to replace rather than three.”

Dust In The Factory Environment Drastically Reduced

The internal seal of the snap-fit BFM® fitting connectors now provides a 100% airtight connection, preventing any flour from escaping into the surrounding plant area. This transformation has significantly decreased the presence of dust in the environment, so it’s better for staff, and the risk of an explosion in the plant has been dramatically reduced.

"We're impressed with how much cleaner and safer the plant is since installing the BFM® fitting connectors,” said the engineer at Nestlé ESAR.  “The ATEX risk has been dramatically reduced, and the overall production process remained unchanged.”

The snap-in fitment of the BFM® fitting connectors is also proving to be exceptionally user-friendly, a significant improvement over the time-consuming hose clamps previously used.

"Staff members also appreciate the ease of removing and reinstalling the connectors for cleaning, in contrast to the old and cumbersome hose-clamping system.”

Find out more about how the BFM® fitting system improves health and safety.

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