Spec Engineering’s sanitary design experts were slated to present important considerations for sanitary design in the food processing industry at the Digital Powder & Bulk Solids Conference in April. While the digital conference was rescheduled to an in-person conference in August, the topic of sanitary design is more relevant than ever as the COVID-19 pandemic had a strong effect on the Food & Beverage industry. This high-level overview is just a start to the topics that will be covered in the presentation later this year.
It Starts with a Solid Plan
Creating sanitary spaces begins at the planning level by asking the right questions.
- How will the plant itself be cleaned?
- How will the equipment be sanitized both internally and externally?
- What allergens are present that need to be incorporated into a sanitation plan?
- Is every piece of equipment in a strategic location?
Gray dives deeper into these topics in part one and part two of their hygienic design series. A few key elements to consider when constructing a hygienic facility include physical separation, the flow of process and people, and employee practices. Rooms should be purposeful, taking into account where raw and final ingredients are stored, especially if allergens are in the mix. There should be careful consideration about how people and materials move throughout the plant, whether by foot or forklift. Control systems should be in place for employee practices such as specific clothing procedures and captive shoes.
The Type of Equipment Matters
While building logistics are critical to the facility, the type of equipment specified for the system is equally as important. A hygienic food process equipment trend now includes Clean-in-Place (CIP) systems that are automated to clean the inside of processing equipment without having to disassemble the equipment. Besides increasing efficiency by decreasing downtime, these systems allow for increased batch traceability and cleaning records. Also, systems can include provisions for water preservation that can be both a cost savings and environmentally conscious. Tanks can be incorporated for caustic wash, acid wash, and freshwater rinsing. Running an automated CIP system can optimize your cleaning schedule and decrease the wear and tear on your machine. Finally, CIP systems mitigate most operator contact with chemicals and remove most needs for confined space entry. With a focus on safer conditions for employees and safer products, quality will naturally be passed on to the customers.
Keeping Electrical Equipment Safe
Food grade panels are integrated into our custom systems that are rated for complete washdown. Hygienic enclosures protect electrical equipment in the most extreme washdown and sanitary conditions. FDA-compliant gaskets protect against cleaning agents and are safe for high-pressure washes. Sanitary door latches can also be added to save time during the cleaning process.
Whether you are in the initial stages of a new facility or want to upgrade your current processing line, sanitary design elements can be integrated into your system with either CIP skids or mobile CIP options. Choosing the right design partner will allow you to explore the options for your facility. Get in contact with the Spec team to start the discussion, and look for more details regarding our in-person presentation in August at the Powder & Bulk Solids Conference in Rosemont, IL.