Container hygiene requires close monitoring The online hygiene management of crates and boxes ensures product safety and enables efficiency checks

Дата канвертавання26.04.2016
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Container hygiene requires close monitoring
The online hygiene management of crates and boxes ensures product safety and enables efficiency checks.

Massoud Nahidino, Marketing, Ecolab Engineering

Raimund Laaff, Produkt Manager Food & Beverage, Ecolab Deutschland GmbH
A comprehensive hygiene concept constitutes a safe quality management system in any factory that produces foodstuffs. This is also the case for so-called peripheral procedures, such as the cleaning of crates and boxes, where there can be a considerable risk of cross-contamination. With regard to the washing of crates in foodstuff factories, particular progress has been made in recent years in cleaning plastic boxes. Increasingly large pools of boxes and more stringent hygiene requirements have given rise to large washers with high throughputs. The management and routine operation of this complex equipment require an appropriate network for monitoring its technical, hygiene-related, and efficiency status, and for documenting that status.
These high requirements translate to self-monitoring, automated procedures that can also be integrated into existing systems as online hygiene management tools. This enables potential errors and changes in hygiene parameters to be detected in a timely fashion, documented, and transmitted online. The online visualization of critical hygiene parameters allows for safe, optimum checks and enables a reproducible washing process.
Ecolab has developed an online hygiene management system called Aquanta for container and box washers. This program is used in process design (Aquanta diagnostics) and for recording operating and consumption data.

Process design (Aquanta Diagnostics)
Without a doubt, systematic analysis by means of the recording of operating parameters on the washing equipment has a role to play in the implementation of a sound cleaning procedure. Here, the selection of the detergent has often not been particularly sophisticated in the past. However, it has now been possible to establish a positive relationship between a low amount of residual moisture and good microbiological findings, a fact which has fuelled the increasing number of drying zones in multi-stage washers. The efficiency of this drying process is significantly influenced by the quality of the prior cleaning process. The extent to which the plastic surfaces are degreased and cleaned dictates the extent to which the residual water is removed in the subsequent shaker and/or drainage zones.

Fig. 1: Relative residual moisture for plastic boxes in % (100 = 24.5 mg absolute value) when using different cleaning agents

Detergents with surfactants (surface-active agents) are clearly superior – even in acidic and alkaline compositions – to non-surfactant preparations, not only with regard to their ability to penetrate and absorb dirt but also with regard to drying efficiency (see fig. 1 and table 1).


Product type

For cleaning...

Special features

P3-horolith CIP and RD


Mineral and grease/albumen coatings

Good drying properties

No need for decalcification

P3-aquanta XTR


Grease residue

With rinse effect

P3-mip LF


Stubborn grease/albumen coatings

Good drying properties

Hard-water stable

With foam control

Table 1: Performance features of surfactant detergents in washing equipment

(Ecolab GmbH & Co. OHG, Düsseldorf)

The monitoring of the spray nozzles demands special attention. Slight damage to the nozzles or a change in their position can impede the cleaning mechanism. Special test methods permit the visualization and evaluation of the spray geometry. This means that the mechanical cleaning effect can be optimized in a targeted manner.

Acquisition of operating/consumption data (Aquanta Control)

Aquanta Control was developed as a programmable operating data acquisition and control unit for metering detergent (and, if necessary, rinse aids) especially for use in container and crate washing equipment. The new Aquanta Control meets current market requirements as well as having additional forward-looking functions. You can use it to set all required hygiene parameters such as the temperature and concentration of detergent and monitor them using defined upper/lower limits. The machine and operating statuses are visualized using the AquantaVisual* PC program on a monitor in, for example, a central control room, in real time (fig. 2).

Fig. 2: Aquanta Visual control view with operating statuses and measured values

Fig. 3: Aquanta Control overview: With metering system and measured value acquisition as well as signal and data transfers

FUZZY LOGIC (a self-learning control system) ensures the optimum adherence of the system to the preset detergent concentration. The detergent is metered in accordance with the measured values using the inductive, maintenance-free conductivity measurement system in the detergent bath. The required conductance temperature compensation takes place using the integrated temperature measurement system in the conductivity sensor. The comprehensive temperature monitoring function is supported by measurement made in the washing bath, spray system, and drying zone.

The AquantaGet* PC program records and documents the following:

  • All cases where a value exceeds or fails to reach the preset hygiene-related parameters such as detergent concentration and temperature (and the subsequent triggering of an alarm)

  • Consumption values for water and detergent

  • The number of crates cleaned

The water consumption is also recorded in full on separate inlets. The Aquanta Control extension module makes it suitable for use with multi-track washing equipment.

The number of cleaned crates is used to calculate efficiency in relation to other cost parameters. Information on cleaning costs in the selected time period for the analysis and on the work load is recorded quantitatively.

Ecolab has developed a system called Aquanta as a safety net for operating and managing crate washing machine in the foodstuff and meat industry. It provides measures and technology that can be used to monitor and document the hygiene status of the items being washed in today’s increasingly powerful washing equipment by means of efficient rinsing functions and the regular checking of the spray geometry and through the recording of operating data such as the bath temperatures, detergent concentration, and crate throughput with the AquantaGet* PC program. At the same time, it depicts consumption data for water, energy, and detergent schema and displays actual throughput figures. The user-friendly AquantaVisual* online visualization software can be used at all time to facilitate the real-time utilization of operating and cost data on the hygiene safety of the crate washing machine.
* Compatible with Windows XP®

Crate hygiene worth having
New module for the hygiene management of crates and boxes
Neutral P3-aquanta XTR detergent:

  • High cleaning performance on plastic surfaces

  • Excellent rinse properties

  • Can be controlled via conductivity measurement system

Enhanced Aquanta Control:

  • Operating data acquisition, analysis, and documentation

  • Online visualization of the operating status using ready-developed AquantaVisual* PC program

  • Calculation of cost characteristics

  • * Compatible with Windows XP®

Aquanta Control incorporates all services required for the optimum management of hygiene in crate washing equipment on the basis of high-performance P3-aquanta products.

High standard of production and the highest possible level of safety for CIP disinfection
A way to increase your safety – products in the P3-oxysan® range have an extremely high ability to kill off bacteria, yeasts, and mould. The lowest possible usage concentrations and quick action of P3-oxysan® ZS and P3-oxysan® CM make them highly cost-effective, efficient disinfectants. The Connexx product removal system and Ecolab metering technology ensure particularly easy handling and safe metering. P3-oxysan® CM is a new type of cold disinfectant that is controlled via conductivity. P3-oxysan® products meet all necessary requirements:

Ecolab consultants are available to answer any questions at all times.

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