Heat and Control has released the latest member of their FastBack family of products, the FastLane slicer infeed conveyor. Slicer infeed conveyors reduce plugging risk and amounts of slicing scrap while improving slice quality and have helped many potato processors optimize quality with quantity. However, some potato processors are unable to use slicer infeed conveyors due to factory space and cost limitations. In response, Heat and Control created the space-saving FastLane which combines the gentle horizontal motion of the FastBack Model 260E-G3 with a multi-lane pan that singulates product for delivery into multiple rotary slicers. This ensures that only available slicers receive successive product while unavailable slicers remain unfed.
With typical slicer infeed conveyors, when an individual lane needs to be closed for service or blade changes, an operator pushes a button which forces an overhead paddle down into the product stream to prevent the desired slicer from receiving product. However, this forceful downward motion creates pinch-points where an operator may be injured. The FastLane eliminates hazardous pinch-points by using basal-mounted, air-actuated paddles which use upward motion to dam lanes and which descend without a mechanically applied force.
Overhead paddles are a sanitation hazard because debris can accumulate on the paddles or on any suspended support steel and can fall into the product stream. With the innovative FastLane control interface, an operator can push a button to select an air-actuated paddle which rises to impede product stream within the lane. It also eliminates overhead sources of contamination which can fall into the product stream.
The FastLane is built for washdown environments and simple sanitation. The stainless steel totally enclosed, fan-cooled motor package is IP65-rated, and the electrical cabinet and sensors are IP66 rated and designed to NEMA 4X standards. The drive and the electrical cabinet and sensors are protected against dust, corrosion, and strong jets of water from all directions to withstand the toughest washdown environments. With these key features, the FastLane’s food safety-focused design reduces time and labor for sanitation.
The FastLane increases production by yielding more quality slices and less scrap with a consistent, singulated feed to each slicer. It spreads potatoes evenly so there is no flooding or product damage. Because FastLane is a compact, light-weight solution which requires a minimal support structure, it requires less floor space and saves up to half the total cost of traditional infeed conveyors so additional equipment can be added in the same area when needed.
The maximum operating speed is 60 Hz (0.75 kW motor) or 53 Hz (1.55 kW motor). The maximum throughput is 38,400 lbs/hr (17,418 kg/hr) and the maximum pan weight is 300 or 400 lbs. (136 or 181 kg), depending on motor size.