New Sanitation Technologies

New and improved means of keeping your plant safe and clean - at lower cost.

By Mike Pehanich, Plant Operations Editor

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Clean-in-place sanitation systems have long been common in the dairy and beverage industries along with other fluid processing operations. Today, however, CIP principles are spreading to other processing applications and other segments of the food industry.

Modern improvements in CIP systems involve upgraded controls and instrumentation for faster and more effective cleaning and more rapid turnaround. "Processors should see these (CIP systems) as opportunities rather than as cost burdens," says Wildes. "These upgrades will enable operations to recover more solution, decrease cleaning time, and lower costs."

And, in a mixture of two technologies, Sani-Matic is beginning to use ozone as a sanitizer in CIP. "This technology isn't here yet, but it is on the horizon. Some of the technological hurdles of the past are being cleared."

Pretreatment tech

Another way to up the level of sanitation while reducing cleaning and down time is to employ a pre-treatment.

Exelerate HS from Ecolab (, St. Paul, Minn., can be used in many processing arenas. Adding the pretreatment product (patent pending) to a soil area for 10 minutes prior to sanitation and following with a caustic cleaner liberates oxygen, allowing the soil to release from the surface wall. "This two-part reaction results in reduced downtime and cleaning time," says Kristen Prentice, market manager of food processing for Ecolab.

Exelerate HS, which is used in the 0.5 to 1.0 percent dilution range, is particularly effective in the dairy industry and on vats and kettles with a variety of tough-to-handle soils such as milk products, egg, sauces, mixes, shakes, starter cultures, butter products and macaroni and cheese. It also reduces manual cleaning and the worker challenges and dangers of large vats and kettles that require maintenance to enter the vessels.

"A normal kettle-cleaning operation requires boiling temperatures, but our product can perform the same cleaning function at 180° F for significant energy savings," says Prentice.

Because it works quickly on a soil, the product may reduce the rinse step, thus saving on water usage and effluent treatment as well.

"Sometimes plants need to add acids to the cleaning solution to neutralize the cleaning solution before it leaves the plant. But the Exelerate pretreatment is acidic and usually reduces the amount of neutralization necessary," says Prentice. The company claims its pretreatment program replaces up to 50 percent of the caustic to reduce effluent surcharge and neutralization costs.

Product claims note the effectiveness of acidic pH and chelating agents in removing mineral scale. Kristen Gray, Ecolab's senior marketing manager-dairy, notes that the products have had "very good success" in eliminating titanium dioxide residue, a challenge in many food and dairy operations.
Scheduled for release later this year is Exelerate Evap-S, tailored to tackle tenacious soil in dairy evaporators.

The 8000 series of static spray balls from Alfa-Laval (, Pleasant Prairie, Wis., feature contoured surfaces for uniform spray patterns that will improve performance in tank cleaning operations. Precision-drilled holes in the spray balls have chamfered inlet and outlet surfaces that improve spray coverage and lower operating costs. They can be used at high or low solution flows and pressures.

All offerings in the 8000 series are made of stainless steel and are 3A compliant. The SB18-3 is designed to clean process tanks and kettles. They can also be used in vapor lines, evaporators or similar vessels. The SD-7 will clean vat covers and bridges. Other products in the line are designed for vertical silo tanks, sloping duct work, large diameter tubing, and tankers.

High- and low-pressure systems

"Pressure" can be a misunderstood element within the cleaning process. Without sufficient water pressure, a soil may not get sufficiently loosened or removed. But the notion that higher pressure is always better is not accurate. Pressure at impact diminishes in proportion to the distance of water or cleaning solution from the spray gun tip. Too much pressure at a given point can result in damage to surface or part and diminish the surface area being cleaned, thus lengthening cleaning time.

A Holten Meats employee sprays ozone on equipment processing ground beef and pork at a plant in East St. Louis, Ill.
A Holten Meats employee sprays ozone on equipment processing ground beef and pork at a plant in East St. Louis, Ill.

Sani-Matic's RFS (rinse/foam/sanitize) system offers improvements in time, cost and cleaning effectiveness for walls, floors, belt conveyors and other parts of the food processing facility. Its Tornado Nozzle Technology is a boosted pressure system that permits faster and more effective cleaning at lower pressure.

"You can clean at a lower pressure - 300 dpi versus 700-800 dpi - and can use effective flow and pressure to clean accurately and thoroughly and avoid the negatives of high pressure, such as damage to control panels," says  Wildes, noting that the nozzle allows operators to clean a wider area to cut cleaning time. The system reduces water and energy usage. It also reduces operator risks common to use of high pressure and hot water systems as well as the inadvertent spread of bacteria from high-pressure ricochet. "You don't want spray from a dirty area to return to a clean area," says Wildes.

The RFS system also creates foam that clumps longer, allowing the detergent to hold and concentrate on an intended cleaning area for more effective cleaning. "It's an integrated system. One tool to do all three - rinse, foam, sanitize," says Wildes, noting that the system had become a dominant method of cleaning in Europe before its U.S. introduction.

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