When it comes to quality, there are few operations that care more about holding their product to the highest standard. Olympia Provisions, a family run charcuterie operation in Portland, OR, is one such company. After they began operations in 2009 as Portland’s first USDA approved charcuterie processor, Elias Cairo and his family spent years perfecting their processes, so that their products came out perfect every time. So when the time came for upgrades to be made to the Olympia Provisions facility, the decision was made to retrofit the building’s aging drainage system into something that supported their production quality, instead of challenging it.
The Olympia Provisions facility had previously been installed with plastic trench drainage throughout. This had been causing issues for the team in a number of ways, first and foremost being the potential risks to the operation by bacteria and microbes.
As a meat processing facility, they were frequently audited by inspectors to ensure that a hygienic environment was being maintained. This could be difficult and arduous with traditional plastic trenches.
“So we’re a USDA meat plant, that means the USDA could be here three, five, even seven days a week if they have to, and one of the big stalls in their pre-ops when they are here to check before we start operation, is they will go directly to the drains.” Elias told us.
“Having a pre-op stall from the USDA in the morning can really slow your production down.”
Additionally, the plastic drains were having issues holding up to the traffic inside the facility.
Elias says, “We don’t do a lot of caster wheels, everything is stainless steel edges. We use forklifts that move a lot of these big smoke racks.”
“We were always having a problem where we would lay our smoke racks down on those plastic drains, sometimes it would hit a corner and possibly tip a whole rack.”
Thus, finding a solution that would allow for quicker, more safe travel over drains for both forklifts and staff was important in whatever solution was chosen.
Olympia partnered with Jireh Industrial Services for the retrofit, as they specialize in concrete floor repair and have been serving the industry since 2005. Jireh was able to make the recommendation to Olympia to reach out to FoodSafe Drains, who are experts in manufacturing drainage systems for the food and beverage industry.
After reviewing the specific needs required by Olympia’s operation, FoodSafe Drains suggested that the facility should be retrofitted with their 6000 PLUS-R FoodSafe Slot Drain system.
Firstly, the system has been designed from the ground up for food and beverage applications – with a fully stainless steel body and a no-niche design to make cleaning a breeze and lengthy audits and inspections a thing of the past.
Second, the system sports a reinforced angle underneath the lip of the drain. This meant that Elias and staff would be able to confidently drive their forklifts over any of the plant’s drains – without risking a broken plastic top or creating a tripping hazard.
Finally, the 6000 PLUS-R features a shallow design and specialized quick-leveling rebar ties to make installation a breeze. This is doubly important in a retrofit operation, as every day of shut down adds to lost production and profit.
With the installation complete, and over a year of production with the new drainage system, Elias had nothing but good things to say about the experience and the results.
“We can actually track the efficiency of not having to pull grates and not having to scrub plastic.” Elias said, “with the new drains, the idea is you can just run a brush through them, and you can do it multiple times throughout the day. So there’s actually no build up of gunk in the drains. It really has changed the entire time we spent cleaning drains.”
This has also helped Olympia save time when it comes to inspection as well.
“I’ve been able to get after it right in the morning, have the USDA look at it and it’s spotless and shiny and then start processing now.” Said Elias.
On top of this, Elias was extremely happy when it came to the drains safety and durability.
“You know, those old drains you’d be breaking those tops and they’d have to sit crooked, or if somebody didn’t have them in there and stepped in the drain they’d trip and it was always just an issue.”
Elias contrasted this with the new floor drains, “With these we could land pretty much anywhere. We don’t even think about when we’re driving the forklift wherever they are and they’re super durable.”
Overall, the retrofit was an incredible success, providing the team at Olympia with exactly the results they needed.
“Anybody I have in manufacturing is a friend of mine or a colleague or whatever… Do you have any drain problems? Honestly, there’s no other choice in my mind.” Said Elias.
“We’re going to have these forever.”