Executive summary

Daylight Donuts is a small processing facility with big cleaning challenges. Their Oklahoma-based food plant manufactures the ingredients used to make donuts at their nearly 500 retail outlets.

In the past, Daylight had used commercially available shop-style vacuums to clean the facility. But those vacuums weren’t built for a high-dust environment, and they needed to be replaced often.

About 12 years ago, Daylight invested in a Nilfisk industrial vacuum, instantly reducing cleaning time and improving cleaning effectiveness. Today, that vacuum is still the centerpiece of the company’s cleaning efforts. It not only saves them time and money, but also boosts food safety by preventing cross-contamination.

The challenge: Daylight Donuts was spending a lot of time and money replacing shop-style vacuum cleaners that weren’t doing the job

Daylight Donuts has been serving up fresh donuts since 1954, when Tommy and Lucille Day developed their signature light donut mix. Today, Daylight has close to 500 retail outlets in the United States and internationally, and the donut mix and other ingredients for every single one of their donuts is produced at a 65,000 square foot manufacturing facility in the company’s hometown of Tulsa, OK.

With thousands of pounds of flour, sugar, and other ingredients moving through the facility every day, housekeeping is a challenge. “It’s a very high-dust environment,” says Jim Pugh, Daylight’s Director of Food Safety. “Sometimes the rooms have dust up the walls and on the ceiling.”

When Pugh first started at the company, Daylight employees used large shop-style vacuums they would buy at Home Depot. “They never operated satisfactorily,” he says. “We would use them for a couple of years and then they would fail, and we’d have to throw them in the trash and get new ones.”

The solution: Daylight invested in a Nilfisk industrial vacuum

Pugh knew there had to be a better way to keep his facility clean. As Director of Food Safety, he also wanted equipment that would help prevent cross-contamination of products.

So, about 12 years ago, he did what we all do when we need information about new products: he went online. “I looked at various makers of industrial vacuum cleaners to see their reviews. From what I could ascertain, Nilfisk equipment always came out on top.”

In fact, the only drawback the reviewers reported was that Nilfisk industrial vacuums are more expensive than commercial shop-style vacuums. But, after purchasing multiple shop-style vacs over the years, that didn’t concern Pugh. “Cost wasn’t an issue for me; durability was the issue. I was tired of having to stop work in the middle of cleaning and go to Home Depot to buy another vacuum that still wouldn’t do the job.”

To meet current food safety requirements, Pugh needed a vacuum that was able to clean all areas of the plant, including screens, overhead pipes, and even other equipment. He decided on a compact industrial vacuum with HEPA filtration, enhanced suction power, and wet/dry collection capabilities.

The results: Nilfisk saves Daylight Donuts time and money, while also helping them meet current food safety requirements

That was 12 years ago. Today, the Daylight Donuts team uses the Nilfisk vacuum for both their standard cleaning regimen and occasional emergency clean-up tasks.

For example, about 2 years ago, 500 pounds of fine wheat flour was accidentally ejected from an overhead pipe and into the plant over the course of about 5 minutes. “It was snowing in the plant,” Pugh recalls. “Before we had the Nilfisk vacuum, it was very time- and labor-intensive to clean up after these incidents. With the Nilfisk, we were able to clean the floors, the lines, the racks, everything very quickly.”

“Over the long-term, the Nilfisk vacuum has saved us money, not only because we haven’t had to replace it, but also because it cleans significantly better and faster than the shop-style vacuums.” ~Jim Pugh, Daylight Donuts

The vacuum also makes routine cleaning fast, easy, and effective. “The Nilfisk vacuum is easy to clean and easy to use,” Pugh says. “It has a multi-speed motor so you can adjust your cleaning power to your application. There’s really nothing it can’t do here.”

Pugh also appreciates the features that enhance food safety, which he says make the vacuum a good investment for any food company. “The color-coded attachment offerings and the fact that it’s cleanable reduce the chances of cross-contamination. It also allows you to empty the hopper without dispersing dust into the air, which is a requirement for a food plant.”

“Our entire team enjoys using the Nilfisk. They’ve named it R2-D2.” ~Jim Pugh, Daylight Donuts

Finally, Pugh notes that in the 12 years since Daylight has been using the vacuum, there hasn’t been a single service issue. “For maintenance, you basically just empty it and clean it up,” he says. In fact, they’ve only ever had one problem: the cord came off when someone drove a forklift over it. “It was clearly our mistake, but Nilfisk still offered to cover it under warranty. Talk about service!”

Overall, the Nilfisk vacuum is the ideal solution for Daylight Donuts. It’s been reliable for 12 years, and Pugh anticipates getting many more years of service. “We purchased our Nilfisk vacuum many years ago and it still performs like new. It’s one of the lowest maintenance items in the plant, not to mention a time-saver and a job-completer.”

“Nilfisk is a stellar company. Their products are stellar. I don’t think there’s another company out there that matches them.”~Jim Pugh, Daylight Donuts

Recommended vacuums for food processing applications

Nilfisk VHS110 Single-Phase, Certified Class II Division 2 Vacuum The VHS110 is NRTL certified for Class II, Division 2 classified (hazardous) locations. This helps facilities ensure compliance with NFPA 652 housekeeping recommendations for the safe collection of combustible dust. Featuring a brushless motor, PullClean filter cleaning technology, and HEPA filtration, the VHS110 offers the highest performance and safety for long product life and flexible, easy use—from overhead cleaning to confined areas around equipment. Nilfisk VHS110
Nilfisk VHT437 EXP Continuous-Duty, Certified Explosion-Proof Vacuum The VHT437 EXP is CSA-certified for use in Class I, Group D and Class II, Groups F and G environments. This vacuum safely collects explosive dust in general cleaning and process-integrated applications.  Nilfisk VHT437
Nilfisk VHC200 EXP, Pneumatic Hazardous Location Vacuum The VHC200 EXP air-operated vacuum designed to meet the requirements for use in Class I, Group D and Class II, Groups E*, F and G environments. This vacuum is ideal for a variety of general cleaning tasks, including heavy-duty applications involving denser types of debris. The VHC200 EXP can also be used in continuous-duty applications with few maintenance costs because it is pneumatic, with no moving parts.  

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