When it comes to food safety the details can make all the difference. One of the simplest operations, tank cleaning, is one of the most important for protecting food safety. Tanks must be thoroughly cleaned after each batch to prevent contamination.
Now more than ever, food producers are looking for better technologies for tank cleaning. Many have increased the number of SKUs they produce, requiring more frequent tank cleaning between batches. Tank cleaning needs to be more efficient so that it does not become a bottleneck.
At the same time, utility costs have risen, so producers are looking for ways to reduce the amount of water and energy they use. What is the secret to cleaning tanks in less time, with less water and energy, and with a better result in the end?
Angelo Mennecillo, manager of plant components & processing consumables at Tetra Pak‘s Centre of Expertise, said: “Producers who want to improve their tank cleaning need to look at two fundamentals: mechanical impact and surface coverage. Increasing both optimises tank cleaning”.
A higher initial investment delivers long-term savings
Tetra Pak offers three technologies that progressively increase mechanical impact and surface coverage. The first is the static spray ball, a stainless-steel hollow ball that sprays the tank interior in a predefined cleaning pattern. It cleans using a ‘cascading effect’ –the cleaning liquid hits the tank wall and cascades down.
The second is the rotary spray head. As the rotary spray head starts to rotate it produces more impact with a mechanical scrubbing action. Although the initial investment is higher, it reduces water consumption and cleaning time by 25% to 30% compared to the static spray ball.
Moreover, it delivers a more thorough cleaning because it covers 70% of the tank surface. Fans of water clean the rest of the tank wall.
The third option is the rotary jet head. Out of the three options it involves the highest investment, and potentially a new pump is needed to deliver the required pressure. Even so, it has a significant impact on utility costs: water consumption and cleaning time are both 50% to 60% less than with the static spray ball.
This premium option also offers complete surface wall impact, and manufacturers can install sensors that confirm that the jet head has cleaned the tank successfully. Angelo says: “The outlay for the rotary jet head is the highest, but with today’s increased utilities costs it is often the most economic option in the long run –and it delivers better cleaning.”
Reducing water and energy usage, and minimising cleaning effluent, also help producers meet their environmental targets.“Today’s food producers have ambitious targets for their environmental footprint, and better tank cleaning can make a contribution,” Angelo added.
A cheese producer achieves better cleaning with less time, water and energy
Angelo gives the example of a large hard cheese processor that replaced static spray balls with rotary spray heads in six raw milk storage silos in the UK. As a result, they reduced cleaning time by 35%and water usage by 30%. The energy, time and water savings quickly paid back the original investment.
They also found that cleaning effectiveness had improved. The new spray heads eliminated previous shadow areas, and standard test procedures demonstrated much higher levels of hygiene.
Angelo and his team help producers carry out a total cost of ownership (TCO) analysis, using their actual cost of water, energy, cleaning chemicals and effluent management.
To find out more, watch the video.
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