Cleaning and disinfection require significant amounts of water and detergent in the IAA. But there are alternatives….
Celine Agromedia | June 2, 2015
“This is the same method for 25 years,” recently explained Rysholt Tommy Andersen, CEO of Foamico, cleaning solutions company, on Food Navigator . We start by rinsing, “using about 30 liters of water per minute.” Is then applied a mixture of water and chemicals, and then, after allowing time for the products to act, rinsed again. Often then comes the disinfection phase. Sometimes, rinsed a third time.
This traditional method of cleaning and disinfection is still used by 85% to 90% of companies in the food. It nevertheless requires the quantities of chemicals and considerable water. LPNs are therefore looking increasingly for alternatives. And these develop.
A European project, Susclean , has also just been completed. His goal: to contribute to the development and implementation of new generations of equipment and environmentally friendly technologies for cleaning and disinfection of vegetables, so-called fourth generation, that is to say, put up in costs, after slicing, cleaning and disinfection before calibration. This project has reduced the use of water and chemicals (chlorine) from 20 to 50%.
But this is only one example among many. Indeed, there are many alternative and innovative cleaning techniques. Examples:
“These products are increasingly used, says Erwan Ticket. Their use is growing at about 30% per year. “The enzyme products are indeed often a good solution to address biofilms. These detergents can perform the same cleaning operation as an alkali detergent but under moderate conditions of pH and temperature. So they are less aggressive vis-à-vis the materials, users and the environment. The absence of soda and potash, the quality of surfactants allow high rinsability and therefore save time and water. In the details, enzymes are proteins, from biomass, whose main function is to catalyze a chemical reaction. The advantages of enzyme products are numerous: they are safe for industrial equipment. They cause indeed less corrosion and require less maintenance. They allow water gain and time if used during the prewash phase. Finally, they are effective even at low temperature and low concentration.
The principle of dry ice cleaning is simple: ice or dry ice particles are projected by a compressed air stream. The combination of severe cold and mechanical shock causes the detachment of the waste and / or the layer of the holder. Dry ice sublimates immediately after assuring cleaning. Remains a pure waste and easier to treat. Cryogenics and an effective cleaning action without chemical. It also has the advantage of allowing a cleaning in one step, unlike the conventional cleaning which requires multiple, and especially requires more rinses, and therefore a significant use of water. In fact, “this technique is often used as an action punch or ad hoc basis, once or twice a year,” says Erwan Billet, director Hydiac, advisory body industrial cleaning. This method indeed has a high cost. In case, the making or buying of dry ice. Moreover, cryogenics can prove valuable in industries such as fat protein, cheese, chocolate, but not for vegetables, for example.
Dry saturated steam
The principle of cleaning dry steam based on the steam spraying under high pressure. It is heated to well above the boiling temperature. Its thermal energy is thus increased, which prevents it from immediately condenses on contact with a cold surface. This superheated dry steam has Dissolving and degreasing properties. Indeed, steam at a temperature above 110 ° C becomes a potent active agent-voltage which causes the rupture of the physico-chemical bonds which hold the dirt and grease adhered on the surfaces to be cleaned. In addition, steam can sneak and reach every corner. Finally the amount of water needed is much less than during manual cleaning with cold or warm water. Treated surfaces are dried more quickly and show no trace or residue deposit. However, very dirty environments, or especially infected, may require the addition of a disinfectant or a suitable detaching. According Aeva, manufacturer of industrial electrothermics, this technique could reduce water use by up to 90%, saving detergents, and record a time savings of approximately 40%, due to the realization cleaning and disinfection at the same time. This cleaning method can be particularly advantageous for the sectors, where it is impossible to use water, especially in the manufacture of dry products, pastes, etc. His interest is less for the products to be coagulated proteins, meat products, chocolate … “It’s a technique that can be used on a regular or daily basis, says Erwan Ticket. It is also possible to integrate an automated solution, allowing a cleaning in production, provided that the lines have been provided for this purpose. “One of the only barriers to the adoption of this method is the initial investment it requires. It takes between 15 000 and 20 000 for the hardware.
The method of ultrasonic cleaning is based on cavitation. The workpieces immersed in the cleaning solution. The cleaning liquid is subjected to pressure generated by sound waves, resulting in the creation and implosion of microscopic bubbles. Compression and decompression phases follow one another and cause vibration of the workpiece. It is these vibrations that take off the dirt. For fast, powerful cleaning, you should use a low frequency. By cons, if you want a gentle cleansing, a high frequency is more appropriate. The bath temperature and duration of treatment (5 to 15 minutes) must be adjusted according to the desired result and the type of material to be washed. After the cycle, the parts are rinsed with running water and / or deionized water, before being dried. One advantage is that it is unnecessary to disassemble the piece before immersing in the ultrasonic bath. This cleaning can be done with all materials. The cost and implementation are quite complex but this method can be interesting in the dairy industry and the meat industry.
Some alternative techniques affect more disinfection rather than the detergent phase.
This process uses the technology of pulsed power to destroy micro-organisms by subjecting them to intense flashes of light. Electrical energy stored in a capacitor is transferred to a quartz envelope lamp containing xenon. The intense flash of light emitted by the lamp is focussed on the surface to be treated by a reflector. It emits a wavelength of light between 200 nm in the ultraviolet and 1 mm in the near infrared. This feature of the spectrum, the extremely short pulses (10-6 0.1 s) and the intensity of the energy released, make the pulsed light its sterilizing properties.
Alternative solutions that remain little used
Thus, alternatives to traditional cleaning and disinfecting processes are numerous. However, they are little used by businesses. “The main reason for this is the price of these alternatives, says Erwan Ticket. They generally cost 20% to 30% more expensive, which represents a major obstacle to investment, especially in times of crisis, where companies sometimes struggle to have a long-term vision. “Moreover, it is often difficult to fit a production line. And do it afterwards still more expensive, than thinking hygienic design upstream.
“We often call us in an emergency, when there is a contamination problem, regrets the president Hydiac. Companies do not always realize the importance of hygienic design. “Moreover,” it is sometimes difficult to establish a guideline for industry and transfer the results of work done in laboratories to companies, especially to SMEs and very small businesses, who are less informed about these issues, “adds Florence Postollec.
Yet hygienic design can be particularly profitable for manufacturers. “Returns on investment sometimes amounted to 50%,” says Erwan Ticket. Some sectors are more likely to adopt alternative methods and to turn to the hygienic design. This is the case dies dairy and ready meals, working a lot in closed circuits. Conversely, companies cutting or specialized in meat products, are often more reluctant.