Safety when transporting strong spirits

Jon Lawson

Cengiz Citlak reports on a beverage hose whichmeets the stringent requirements of food and hygiene legislation and can also safely discharge static electricity

There are stringent safety requirements for manufacturing alcohol and spirits.

This is for a good reason, because regardless whether spirits are made from grain, potatoes or any kind of fruit – there is always the risk of creating an explosive atmosphere. Grain, for example, contains starchy dust.

More dust is also created when the dry grain is ground to make the mash. This can get stirred up into an explosive mixture of dust and air.

As well as this – regardless of the raw material – the distillates and alcohol/water mixtures produced by fermentation and distillation, as well as the fumes they give off, can sometimes produce an explosive mixture of vapour and air.

Avoiding ignition sources in explosion zones

In order to assess the risk of explosive mixtures of gas, vapor and air, what is known as the zone model was developed. Zones 0, 1 and 2 describe the likelihood of an explosive atmosphere and how long it will persist.

Within the three explosion hazard zones, measures must be taken to prevent potential sources of ignition.

Of the 13 types of ignition source listed in DIN EN 1127-1, the German employers’ insurance association for the food and beverages industry (BGN) and the research association for applied system and occupational safety (FSA) in Mannheim list six that must be taken into account for alcohol fumes in distilleries and spirits companies.

These are hot surfaces, flames and hot gases, mechanically produced sparks, electrical systems, lightning, and sparks produced by static electricity.

Safely discharging static electricity

As a flexible constructional transport connection, hoses are indispensable in distilleries and spirits companies.

However, hose lines can pick up an electrostatic charge from the media flowing through them, or when dragged across the ground, for example, thus turning the production area into a potentially explosive zone. This is because the charge can reach such high energy levels that sparks can develop, for example, during coupling of the hose line, and these sparks can ignite an explosive mixture.

To avoid this danger, it must be possible to discharge any electrical charge generated on the inner hose surface safely through the hose wall.

Beverage hose for use in explosion hazard zones

The Purple Snake Plus Conductive from ContiTech is a beverage hose for distilleries and spirits company which is the first ever hose that not only meets the stringent requirements of food and hygiene legislation but can also safely discharge static electricity. This makes the hose ideal for use in explosion hazard zones.

Thanks to the coiled black conductive strip in the white inner lining and the red hose cover, it can safely dissipate any static charges.

The hose is manufactured in accordance with EC regulations 1935/2004 and 2023/2006 on materials and articles in contact with food, as well as EC regulation 10/2011 on plastics in contact with food. Its white, homogeneous UPE inner lining is absolutely neutral in odour and taste, conforms to recommendation III of the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) and is certified as a beverage hose by the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The Purple Snake Plus Conductive is exceptionally resistant to temperatures up to +95°C and to conventional cleaning agents and disinfectants. The hose can also be easily cleaned conventionally or by CIP in accordance with the hygiene regulations. In combination with the Pagufix 3000 swaged coupling system, it forms a safe and absolutely clean hose line.

Cengiz Citlak is responsible for the food and beverage hoses product group in the Industrial Fluid Solutions business unit at ContiTech.

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