From The Ergoweb® Learning Center

Food Processing Equipment: Model for rapid changeover and easy maintenance

Dan MacLeod, CPE, MA, MPH


The food industry — meat processing in particular — has developed ingenious techniques to take apart and reassemble equipment quickly for frequent cleaning. These techniques provide valuable insights for general industry in designing equipment for rapid changeovers and maintainability.


Minimize time and effort by designing equipment to:

  • avoid the need for tools
  • eliminate lifting
  • use quick releases, hinges, and power assists

Ideas and Options

Example 1

Clean1 Clean2
Processing equipment in use Dismantling — Arrows show quick release handle and latch

The first photo shows the machine in production.  The second photo shows a cleaner beginning to dismantle the machine during a production break.  Sections of the equipment are connected with hinges and secured with quick releases.

Clean3 Clean4
Closer view of quick release handle and hinge Fully dismantled  — Note multiple hinges and connection points

No tools are needed and no lifting is required.  Every nook and cranny in the machine is accessible for cleaning.  The machine is put back together by the time the break is over.

Example 2

Clean5 Clean6
Packaging machine opened up Features

This piece of equipment looks like a pop-up book as it is opened and then close quickly.  The right hand photo shows left-to-right (a) a powered cylinder to help open the wing-like sectoin, (b) hinges that connect the sections, and (c) a latch used to support the final section that is extended.

Conveyor belt

The conveyor belt has a quick release to enable it to be loosened rapidly for removal and cleaning.

Example 3

Cleaning anti-fatigue mats Cleaning trays

Everything in the production area must be cleaned and sterilized, without fail.  The photos above show special racks designed to permit quick and efficient cleaning, Designing to minimize bending and reaching helps to eliminate wasted time and effort.