In an effort to help pharmaceutical and food and beverage manufacturers adhere to increasingly stringent hygiene standards, Alfa Laval has developed PlusClean, the wall mounted cleaning nozzle.
A 2020 survey of UK manufacturers conducted by Harris Interactive indicated that 79% of respondents now feel more aware of hygiene practices following the pandemic. However, amid the rise of new COVID-19 variants, manufacturers working in the pharmaceutical and food and beverage sectors are under even greater pressure to reduce cross-contamination between industrial processes.
Despite recognition of this fact, only 31% of those surveyed believed that hygiene practices in this setting are currently adequate. This may be owing to a necessity for productivity amid peaking demand taking precedence over the thoroughness of sterilisation processes. However, Alfa Laval believe that with the uptake of new technology, the two do not have to be mutually exclusive.
Ian Forrester, Business Unit Manager for Separation and Food Systems at Alfa Laval, said: “The effects of the pandemic have re-iterated the importance of effective hygiene, particularly for those working in the manufacture of food and drink or medical products. For this reason, many business owners are beginning to re-evaluate current cleaning methods, with a view to integrating more comprehensive sterilisation techniques going forwards.
“While this is certainly a positive development, it is critical that thoroughness does not come at the sake of productivity and margin, as undertaking a comprehensive clean can often prove a time-consuming and expensive activity. In response to this challenge, we have developed our PlusClean nozzle to ensure that manufacturers can achieve 100% coverage during cleaning without disrupting workflow.”
Achieving comprehensive sterilisation of process tanks has long proven a difficulty for manufacturers, with agitators and coils creating ‘shadow areas’ that are able to house contaminants from even the most advanced cleaning equipment. Alfa Laval’s PlusClean nozzle can be installed flush with the tank wall or bottom, targeting hard-to-reach areas with a pressured fan of cleaning media during cleaning-in-place (CIP).
As a result, manufacturers can guarantee total coverage during the sterilisation process, reducing the risk of cross-contamination between batches. This method also achieves up to an 80% reduction in water consumption versus industry standard tank cleaning techniques, resulting in a long-term savings for the operator.
For more demanding applications in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, PlusClean UltraPure is also available, with the Q-doc documentation package providing traceability across the entire supply chain.
Ian concluded: “Manufacturers have long been tasked with improving operational efficiency while maintaining a healthy margin. However, amid the rise of new COVID-19 variants, the importance of adhering to tightening hygiene standards is greater than ever. We believe that through integrating comprehensive, accessible solutions such as PlusClean, we can help operators achieve an industry that is both greener and more hygienic.”