As regulations surrounding processing equipment sanitation and cleanliness become more commonplace; plant managers, process engineers, and operators must pay closer attention to the cleanliness of product contact surfaces and the mitigation of cross-contamination.
Benjamin Franklin famously wrote, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of a cure”, which holds true in sanitary conveyance. Developing and implementing Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) to prevent or reduce hazards (bacteria, allergens, spoil) below industry benchmarks now plays a larger roll in the selection, integration, and operation of processing equipment.
How Do Cleanliness and Sanitation Improve with a Chain-Vey System?
When discussing the cleaning and sanitation of equipment, the two are often used interchangeably. While they are related, they are in fact two separate topics. For instance, cleaning addresses the removal of the residual product (macro) from equipment surfaces. Sanitation/Sanitizing refers to the use of a cleaning medium(s) [chemicals, foams, detergents] to eliminate/reduce organisms to an acceptable level. A surface cannot be sanitized until it has been properly cleaned.
Just as there are different requirements, there are also many ways to clean and sanitize equipment (Manually, Clean in Place, Clean Out of Place, Sprays, Foaming, etc.). While there is no shortage of standalone equipment facilitating these processes there is rarely a complete “off the shelf solution” (unless previously developed and validated) that will meet the specific needs of your plant as several factors/variables come into play.
MPE’s Chain-Vey Conveyor System
MPE takes an individually tailored approach to the creation, validation, and documentation of cleaning and sanitizing regimens. We work with clients to evaluate (6) factors [TETRIS] in order to determine which cleaning and sanitizing solutions best fit within their current processes. While applicable to the cleaning and sanitation of most equipment, this article will primarily address MPE’s Chain-Vey conveyor.
T – Types of Products & Processes
The types of products being conveyed and the respective processes used to make the product at the point it’s being conveyed are key factors in the development of cleaning and sanitation requirements. For example, in the food industry, there are four main categories of products which may require different cleaning and sanitizing procedures
- Complex Carbohydrates
- Fats & Oils
- Sugars & Minerals
*Allergens encompassed within above
E – Effort Required to Properly Clean Equipment
The effort required to remove the residual products from the conveyor using a combination of manual/mechanical/chemical means.
T – Time
The time which it takes to achieve an acceptable level of cleanliness.
R – Resources to Complete Cleaning [Utilities/Personnel]
This takes into account not only operator interface with the equipment (process/training) but also the consideration of utility requirements such as cold/warm water, compressed air and drains.
I – Introduction of Cleaning Agents [Types/Concentrations/Temperature/Flow Rate]
Determining the types, amounts, and means of introducing cleaning/sanitizing agents can be more complex then it appears. Ideal temperature, concentrations, and flow rates can all vary from product to product. Furthermore, in some situation’s water/liquids cannot be used while high levels of sanitation may still be required.
S – Surface to be Cleaned
The type of surface which needs to be cleaned. Made from all FDA approved materials, MPE’s Stainless Steel Chain-Vey construction is easy to clean and is resistant to the corrosive nature of cleaning and sanitizing agents.
As a fully enclosed system, MPE’s Chain-Vey is an ideal candidate for the use of CIP technology. Fully, or semi-autonomous CIP solutions not only reduce labor costs but facilitate more effective cleanings without the headache of manually intensive processes (i.e. taking apart and rebuilding bucket elevators).
MPE’s Chain-Vey is a self-cleaning design with several standard features that mitigate residual product accumulation continuously while the system is in normal operation.
- Metal Detectable Wiper Discs
- Adjustable Air Knives
Depending on the products being conveyed and/or processing requirements MPE also offers additional cleaning mechanisms which can be integrated to further increase the efficiency of cleanings thus reducing changeover times and labor cost associated with getting equipment back to a ready to use state.
- Carryover Eliminating U-Tracks
- Easy Access Removable Tray Bottoms
- Mechanical Agitating Puck Knockers
- Powered & Passive Brush Boxes
- Drop-in Sponge & Reaming Discs
When applications require more robust cleaning and sanitizing solutions (allergens, proteins, etc.) there is a wide range of proven solutions which can be evaluated and implement into a robust SOP such as:
- Fully-automated CIP Cart [4 Stage Rinse, Wash, Sanitize, Dry]
- Semi-automated CIP Skids [Rinse, Caustic Wash, Rinse]
- Standalone Foaming, Sprays/Mists, Dry Ice Blasting
If you already have an existing CIP system (skid/tank/etc.), MPE’s engineers will design a solution that facilitates a simple integration.
Reach out to MPE to discuss a custom-tailored CIP solution that meets your specific needs.