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Minimising Flour and Ingredients Dust at Manchester Bakery Group

  • 19th January 2010
  • Flextraction Team

To control flour and ingredients dust at the point of weighing in preparation for onward baking, Martins Foods Group in Manchester has invested in two 4m downflow booths, designed to contain dust over large areas of emission, from Flextraction Ltd, supplier and manufacturer of Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) products for dust and fume extraction in the work-place.

Martins Foods Group, one of Manchester’s longest established bakeries founded in 1922, has a modern 50,000ft2 central bakery in Newton Heath producing and supplying over 150 bakery and sandwich products every day to the Group’s 28 retail outlets in the Manchester area. The Group also has a 30,000ft2 factory including a large holding freezer in Radcliffe, Manchester supplying frozen bakery products cakes and desserts to supermarkets and Foodservice outlets.

Flextraction’s own modular design, 304 stainless steel downflow booths with an acoustically enclosed fan to minimise overall noise level, operate on a re-circulatory airflow principle with a clean evenly distributed down flow of air at 0.5m/second. Extraction is via low level primary roughing filters and secondary bag filters and this then provides down flow via ceiling mounted 99.95% filtration efficient HEPA (High Efficiency Particle Arrestor) filters suppressing any dust downwards away from the operator’s breathing zone. Pressure indicating devices continually monitor the extraction performance, whilst automatically controlling the 2 x 2.2kW direct driven variable speed fans to maintain optimum operating conditions. Louvered grilles in the lower rear wall capture the airborne contaminants. Because the booth operates using continuous re-circulation of the air within the booth, no airborne contaminates can escape into the external environment. Their modular designs allows a size to be manufactured to suit the application and they are found in a multitude of industries in addition to bakeries, these include dye and paint manufacturers as well as pharmaceutical and chemical manufacturers.

Neil Martin, Managing Director, Martins Foods Group said: “I first came across a Flextraction downflow booth during a visit to the Birds Bakery in Derby. I was impressed with the dust free conditions in the weighing area and although at the time we were already undertaking good practice to keep the dust levels as low as possible, I realised we could improve our own working environment to the betterment of our employees, as well as the Company. As a major bakery group in the Manchester area, we have to ensure that our operations meet with the most stringent health and safety standards and this investment has enhanced those standards. After discussions with Flextraction, we decided in 2008, to invest in a 4m booth, basically because it fitted into the size of our Newton Heath operations and once installed, we immediately saw environmental improvements. We made dust emission checks and found that the employees weighing up and tipping flour or ingredients into removable bowl mixers had the lowest emission levels of anywhere in the bakery, which was excellent. In early 2009 we decided to invest in another one for our Radcliffe operations with exactly the same results. Both booths have been an excellent investment providing a much cleaner working environment and require very little maintenance, we only have to replace the easy to access filters, which is a very easy task.”

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