Although Tencate and his staff were happy with the performance of the Iso-Flo conveying system, they worked with Key Technology to refine product flow, especially for conveying Ferrara Pan's stickiest products.
Rods at the discharge end of the feeder conveyors acted like a rake to even out product levels. But the sharp edges caused clogging problems at the feeder end with gummy products. Tencate worked with Key engineers, and rods were eventually added to help the product flow more freely. After several production runs and discussions about ways to make product-leveling even more effective, Key built a prototype based on Tencate's suggestions.
"I suggested they make the rods adjustable so you could lift them up and tighten them down," Tencate recalls. "That way, we wouldn't be using them unless we needed them. They let me run the prototype for a month, and when it worked built us three more for the other feeder conveyors. We've been running well since they made that modification."
The "raking" prototype also eliminated the need for "product movers" -- employees who stood on a mezzanine above the scale feeders to physically manipulate the flow of the candy.
Ferrara Pan continues to work with Key to make it easier to adjust conveyor speeds for the wide variety of candy Ferrara Pan produces. Currently, operators manually speed up or slow down the conveyors, and Key is working on a modification that will automate that function.