Daily dishwash challenge of 3,000 plates forces college into equipment makeover

Ardingly College

One of south-east England’s top boarding schools claims its wash-up area is a safer and more effective place to work after revamping its catering facilities.

Ardingly College, an independent co-educational boarding and day school for boys and girls, teamed up with manufacturer Meiko to put in new warewashing equipment at its 230-acre campus in the West Sussex.

The College accommodates 945 pupils, but shares the campus with other institutions, meaning that as many as 3,000 meals are served every day. With the main hall seating just 270, the kitchen has to process a steady flow of dirties throughout the day.

Ardingly College has been using Meiko dishwashers for over 13 years and currently have five in operation, with new hardware brought in following a major re-design of the wash-up area.

Meiko worked in co-operation with the College’s Estates Department and Health & Safety staff to design a more user-friendly and ergonomic dishwash area, and create a safe and pleasant environment for staff to work in. Four staff operate the dishwash at breakfast time, five at lunchtimes.

The previous single dishwasher was a large Meiko flight machine which had lasted 13 years. The new design features two dishwashing machines, including its new M-iQ flight system, while the conveyor has been re-routed around the wall of the dishwash area. This allows two staff to decant trays directly onto the dishwasher’s conveyor belt with no undue bending or stretching.

Jo Davis, catering manager, Ardingly College

Catering manager Jo Davis says the self-cleaning cycle on the M-iQ machine saves staff a lot of time.

A soak sink is used to store cutlery prior to washing in the DV80.2 GiO AirConcept hood machine, which also handles cups and glassware.

Tray lowerators help to save staff bending and stretching by collecting used trays as they come to the end of the conveyor. The trays are then easily moved around for washing at the end of service.

The college’s catering manager, Jo Davis, says: “The wash quality is amazing and it has really helped to separate cutlery, cups and glassware, leaving the big machine to cope with crockery and trays. The staff love the self-cleaning cycle on the M-iQ which saves a lot of time.”

She said it was now a “quieter, safer and more inviting place to work in”.

The college has an extended maintenance contract with Meiko, which includes regular planned maintenance, parts and labour and quick responses in the event of breakdown.

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