Continuous Belt Washers

Continuous belt washers, also referred to as tunnel washers, while not as versatile as cage and rack washers, are more efficient at washing and sanitizing solid-bottom shoebox-type cages (Figure 8.22).

Figure 8.22 A continuous belt tunnel washer designed for use with robots that load and unload cages from the belt. It has two features that are required to accommodate robots: (1) it is an indexing tunnel washer that stops periodically for loading and unloading the belt, and (2) it has exceptionally long load and unload extensions that can accommodate several rows of cages as opposed to the more typical extensions that may hold only one row of cages. The dividing wall for separating the clean and soiled sides of the cage sanitation area is not yet in place.

Figure 8.22 A continuous belt tunnel washer designed for use with robots that load and unload cages from the belt. It has two features that are required to accommodate robots: (1) it is an indexing tunnel washer that stops periodically for loading and unloading the belt, and (2) it has exceptionally long load and unload extensions that can accommodate several rows of cages as opposed to the more typical extensions that may hold only one row of cages. The dividing wall for separating the clean and soiled sides of the cage sanitation area is not yet in place.

Therefore, they are commonly used in facilities that have a large number of shoebox-type rodent cages. This type of washer is also well suited for sanitizing cage pans, water bottles, and other small equipment. Cages and equipment to be cleaned and sanitized are placed on a conveyor belt that moves through a tunnel divided into sections, e.g., prerinse, detergent wash, rinse, and final rinse. Water is .usually recirculated: the recirculating rinse water is used for prerinse, which is discarded, and the final rinse water flows into the recirculating rinse water to freshen it. Often, a dryer and bedding dispenser section are added to the tunnel washer (Figure 8.23). Tunnel washers come in a variety of sizes; however, a typical tunnel washer may have a conveyor about waist high, a tunnel opening of 61 cm (24 in) to 107 cm (42 in) wide by 61 cm (24 in) high. The washer section is typically a minimum of 4.6 m (15 in) and may be longer. The width and length of the washer determines the washing capacity. The longer the washing tunnel, the faster the conveyor belt can run and still provide an effective exposure time in each section. A dryer, automatic bedding dispenser, and load and unload sections are optional features. With a washer, dryer, bedding dispenser, and load and unload extensions, a typical tunnel washer assembly may be 10 m (33 ft) long or longer.

Figure 8.23 In the center of this figure is a bedding dispenser at the discharge end of a tunnel washer. As cages exit the tunnel washer (top left) open side down, they are automatically turned over, as they tumble onto the lower bedding dispenser belt so the open side of the cage is up. Upon exiting the bedding dispenser, the cages collect on the roller conveyor to the right of the dispenser. Above and to the right of the dispenser is a vacuum cleaner that collects bedding dust generated by the dispenser. Note the ceramic tile floor and wall coverings with epoxy grout and a corner of a grate-covered floor pit at the bottom left of the figure in front of the rack washer.

Figure 8.23 In the center of this figure is a bedding dispenser at the discharge end of a tunnel washer. As cages exit the tunnel washer (top left) open side down, they are automatically turned over, as they tumble onto the lower bedding dispenser belt so the open side of the cage is up. Upon exiting the bedding dispenser, the cages collect on the roller conveyor to the right of the dispenser. Above and to the right of the dispenser is a vacuum cleaner that collects bedding dust generated by the dispenser. Note the ceramic tile floor and wall coverings with epoxy grout and a corner of a grate-covered floor pit at the bottom left of the figure in front of the rack washer.

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