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Martins Foods Group in Manchester has invested in two 4m downflow booths from Flextraction to control flour and ingredients dust at the point of weighing in preparation for onward baking.

The downflow booths are designed to contain dust over large areas of emission.

Martins Food Group has a 50,000ft2 (4,650m2) central bakery in Newton Heath, producing and supplying more than 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 food service outlets.

Flextraction’s modular-design, 304 stainless-steel downflow booths, with an acoustically enclosed fan to minimise the overall noise level, operate on a re-circulatory airflow principle with a clean, evenly distributed downflow of air at 0.5m/sec.

Extraction is via low-level primary roughing filters and secondary bag filters; this then provides downflow via ceiling-mounted 99.95 per cent filtration-efficient high-efficiency particle arrestor (HEPA) filters suppressing any dust downwards away from the operator’s breathing zone.

Pressure-indicating devices continually monitor the extraction performance while 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.

As the booth operates using continuous re-circulation of the air within the booth, no airborne contaminates can escape into the external environment.

The modular design allows a size to be manufactured to suit the application.

Neil Martin, managing director of 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.

‘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,’ he added.


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