Hygiene is the top priority in the food production sector
In the food production sector, hygiene is the top priority. The legal requirements of companies in the food processing industries, such as breweries and dairies, are very high and product safety plays a particularly important part here. Production systems must therefore be cleaned in regular cycles to ensure consistent product quality and compliance with the relevant hygiene standards.
With manual cleaning, plant operators face quite a few challenges: the production process has to be stopped and the areas to be cleaned, including tanks and pipes, must be exposed to reach them. Water and cleaning chemicals are rarely used to the extent required, which can quickly lead to residual contamination or waste. The water used is recycled only in part, if at all. Shutting down a production facility is always associated with huge costs, as is the imprecise use of water and cleaning agents.
Highest hygiene requirements in the production process
But since cleaning is essential, so-called CIP is used wherever the highest hygiene standards and product safety are important factors. This “cleaning in place” (CIP) is used in breweries, dairies and food production s to clean the entire production system including the tanks and pipes in cycles. The process of CIP usually runs in the same way: first, residues and sediments from the last production run are rinsed out with batch water, then lye is used to eliminate organic trace elements. Once mineral sediments have been removed using acid, the entire system is disinfected and rinsed with fresh water. The system is then ready for production again.
sera leads the way in the field of CIP. Many breweries and dairies in Germany and equipment suppliers in the international beverage industry put their trust in sera as a partner to clean their systems in accordance with specifications – and thus to save money and protect the environment. The chemicals required for cleaning are stored in IBCs, barrels or tanks in liquid form. The sera CVD compact dosing system doses the chemicals into fresh water in such a way that the cleaning agent or disinfectant required has the perfect concentration and can be added directly to the cleaning process. Before cleaning, sensors in the stacking containers measure the mixture of the lye, acid and disinfectant. If it is not the right concentration, the dosing system is used to add the correct amount of the base chemical – the concentration of the cleaning agent or disinfectant is increased.
Breweries mainly use caustic soda (50%) and nitric (up to 53%) or phosphoric (85%) acid for CIP. Lye, acid and disinfectant are all diluted to a 2% solution.
In the case of CIP for pipe systems, the fluid speed is particularly important: a turbulent stream with a speed between 1.5 and 2.1 m/s is required.
The safe solution for cost-effective use of alkaline cleaning agents
Caustic soda is not available in consistent quality and concentration in all countries of the world. Transport and storage of caustic soda is also associated with risks: before disposal in the sewer system, caustic soda must be neutralised with appropriate acids and diluted, as otherwise it is extremely caustic. The danger to people and the environment is correspondingly high if transport and storage are not carried out conscientiously. Especially in countries without reliable access to suitable caustic soda and in industries that have a fluctuating but large demand for the alkaline cleaning agent, the sera caustic soda preparation station enables safe, efficient preparation of caustic soda based on sodium hydroxide (NaOH) in solid form (pellets, flakes, pearls or powder) and water. The system consists of a stainless steel batching tank, an agitator and a special conveyor. The conveyor comprises a filling hopper and a stainless steel dry material feeder that carries the solids to the batching tank. As mixing NaOH and water creates an exothermic reaction (up to 95°C), the station is designed in such a way that the operating personnel are not in the immediate danger zone of the batching tank. If necessary, the station can be equipped with a suction device that prevents the formation and distribution of any hazardous dust as the material is transported.
Cost-effectiveness in the CIP process
The preparation of lye in its own preparation unit makes economic sense for breweries, in particular. Transport, delivery and storage of goods in sacks of undissolved solids is significantly less expensive than ready-made solutions. The extensive building work which is required to accommodate delivery of ready-made solutions in tankers containing hazardous substances is also unnecessary. Above all, however, well-known suppliers in the beverage industry value the flexibility that they have with their own preparation unit: solutions are prepared as required and their concentration can be adjusted by increasing or decreasing the amount of solid materials added.
Saving resources and protecting the environment
Producers can achieve further cost savings by reusing fresh water. This is used during intermediate and final rinsing. It is then returned as batch water into the CIP process and reused for the preliminary rinsing stages in the next cleaning cycle. These process stages significantly reduce water consumption in the production process and thus the virtual water consumption of the consumer. Chemicals are also used sparingly in the CIP process: they are always dosed in the required concentration and quantity, and waste is therefore avoided. That protects the environment and makes wastewater treatment easier.
Decentralised systems are replacing central plants
In the past, large, central systems were mainly used for CIP. Cleaning of every part of the system had to be designed and adjusted specifically. The associated effort was immense and has now led to the introduction and use of decentralised CIP systems that are dedicated to the system to be cleaned. Selectable cleaning programs ensure that the cleaning cycle can be adjusted flexibly to current requirements. Under certain circumstances, several local CIP systems can even be supplied from one store with cleaning agent and disinfectant. The procurement costs for decentralised CIP systems are significantly higher than for a large central system, but the costs can quickly be offset in ongoing operation, especially with big margins.
Planning CIP systems in the design
Even during the design of a production system in the food sector, it is important to include the CIP process in the plans. Fundamentally, it has to be decided whether CIP should be carried out with central or local systems and whether cleaning agents should be prepared on site or supplied ready to use. It is also essential that the entire production system can be cleaned by CIP. In other words, all the parts that have to be cleaned are food-safe. Aseptic and technical sterilisation specifications must be observed in this context. The geometry of the individual parts and of the entire structure must be designed in such a way that no dead spaces are created and that all surfaces can be covered at an appropriate flow speed during CIP. CIP-compatible diaphragm pumps from sera meet these specifications: seals and connections meet DIN standards, pump bodies and all other materials that come into contact with the medium are electropolished.
sera offers solutions for centralised and decentralised cleaning as well as CIP-capable components and thus creates added value for people and the environment - as was the case with the new building of the private brewery Bergrbäu in Uslar.
The private brewery Bergbräu has been brewing its beer at the Uslar site for 154 years. Production has been expanded in many small steps over the years. Due to the limited building structures and the two different locations in Rosenstraße and Brauerei Haffner Straße, losses in performance, time and energy became greater and greater and were no longer sustainable.
In 2019, planning began for the modernisation of the site in order to structure production in a contemporary way. The entire production process was to be brought together in one place and brought up to the latest technical standards.
New brewhouse and bigger capacities
The company Sudhausbau GmbH was commissioned to build the new brewhouse. The brewhouse is the part of a brewery where the wort is produced. In beer production, a distinction is made between a hot block and a cold block. This is followed by the filling facilities. The brewhouse belongs to the warm block, which usually also consists of the raw material pre-treatment facilities (malt/corn/rice/grain storage, as well as transport, silos, cleaning, milling, dust removal). A capacity of 40 HL per brew was planned for the 4-unit brewhouse, with three 240 and four 120 HL tanks for the infrastructure of the automatic cleaning system and two malt silos for a combined 54t of malting barley.
For the cleaning of the stainless steel pipes, Sudhausbau GmbH commissioned sera ProDos GmbH with the production and delivery of two CVD1s with pulsation dampeners for caustic in PP/EPDM and acid in PVC-U/FPM as well as suction lances for 200l barrels. These now ensure economical, safe and environmentally friendly cleaning in the brewing process of the Bergbräu private brewery.
Source Graphics & Picture: sera GmbH, Adobe Stock