Case Study - Beverage
October 5, 2015
The Safe and Efficient EAU SafeWater™
Onsite Generation of Environmentally Friendly
CIP Cleaners and Sanitizers
Clean in place (CIP) is an important part of many food and beverage processes. The need for thorough cleaning and safe production is paramount but efficiency is also important to ensure operational costs are minimized and plant run time maximized. In today's markets, there is an increasing need for more frequent product changeover to meet changing and varied consumer demands. This presents increased production challenges and the time to changeover between products becomes an important criterion for operational efficiency.
EAU Technologies Inc., is the leading provider of electrolyzed water for high-volume, business-to-business applications for food and beverage markets. The revolutionary technology produces excellent CIP and sanitation results with reduced energy, cost and time for the process.
An international beverage company faced the challenge of producing an increasing number of difficult to clean products (pungent flavors, solid material, and increased spoilage potential) at its bottling plants. This was combined with an increasing need to run smaller production runs, requiring more frequent product changeovers which had a significant negative impact on available production time. A keen social ethic to provide sustainable production along with drivers for flexible production and reduced costs led the business to review its CIP processes.
The increased use of more pungent product lines with different flavors and additives across the customer's sites made equipment more difficult to clean from an organoleptic and microbiological standpoint. Frequent product changes meant a solution was required that would improve the process efficacy, lead to better operational efficiency as well as reduce environmental impact – save energy and water, reduce potentially harmful waste streams and improve conditions and safety for plant personnel.
EAU's SafeWater™ cleaning and sanitizing fluids have been shown to maintain or improve cleaning and sanitizing effectiveness within the CIP process. The first step in this project was to go through a rigorous validation process, including microbiological and organoleptic testing, with the customer to prove it safe and effective. EAU and its distribution partner worked closely with the beverage company to ensure all of their requirements were being met through rigorous testing.
How SafeWater is produced
The SafeWater technology produces a cleaning and/or sanitizing agent through the electrolysis of a solution of sodium chloride or sodium carbonate. The system produces Hypochlorous acid (HOCl), which is a weak acid but powerful and natural sanitizer also produced by the human body to fight infection. HOCl sanitizes rapidly without the need for heating and, as it is produced from readily available natural materials, offers a highly sustainable sanitation and cleaning solution. The technology uniquely generates fluids at the required concentration with no mixing or dilution required. Without the need to add dilution water, SafeWater provides superior cleaning and sanitizing as every drop of the solution has been electrolyzed.
Superior cleaning and sanitizing without the need for heating offers reduced cleaning times and increased plant running times. For the beverage company, this is especially critical during seasonal production peaks where maximizing production times is critical to the business. SafeWater delivers drastically reduced bottle-to-bottle downtime for a traditional full CIP cycle. Typically, the time savings is over 50% and in many cases, this saves hours per CIP. For CIP for product changeovers, the typical time for SafeWater is 15 minutes or less – a significant saving compared with the previous technology which took around one hour. This supports the beverage company's 'just in time' production which requires smaller batch runs and more frequent product changeovers.
The plate generator system used to produce SafeWater is capable of continuous production in large volumes to meet the needs of the company's large facilities. The system is fully automated and operators only need to check the salt levels within the system on a weekly basis. Important SafeWater parameters including fluid concentration are continually monitored and alarms if they fall below acceptable values, shutting down the system to ensure that the SafeWater produced is within specifications without requiring monitoring by the plant personnel.
SafeWater compared with traditional solutions
Traditional CIP technology uses concentrated chemicals shipped to site which are often applied at elevated temperatures. Other electrolyzed water generators produce fixed ratios of cleaner to sanitizer whereas SafeWater is produced on site in volumes to match site demands at any particular time, eliminating waste production and reducing water consumption. Cleaning and sanitizing at ambient temperature, SafeWater reduces the energy consumed for the process and, using just salt and water to create the fluids, both the SafeWater cleaner and sanitizer are inherently safe and produce a safer, easy-to-handle waste water stream.
The clear benefits of using SafeWater
For this large beverage company there are significant benefits in using the SafeWater solution. HOCl has proven to offer superior cleaning and microbiological performance with annual savings of between $50k and $120k in chemical costs along with an associated $20-50k saving in costs for waste water treatment. The reduced changeover time between products equates to savings between $100k and $1M, depending on the plant production schedule and value assigned to increased plant production line availability.
The on demand production of cleaning/sanitizing fluid to match the plant's needs and the improvements in the cleaning process reduce water consumption related to the cleaning and sanitizing processes by an estimated 20-40% per year. The use of ambient solutions further reduces maintenance costs associated with the thermal stresses from hot CIP processes. SafeWater minimizes the impact on the environment with a reduced carbon footprint, reduced water usage and a safe, sustainable production methodology.
Improved working conditions
SafeWater has delivered significant improvements to plant working conditions. The automation of the SafeWater system provides a much simpler CIP process. The inherent safety of the SafeWater fluids, coupled with the ambient temperature application also significantly reduces risks to safety of personnel, who no longer need to be concerned about chemical vapors, risk of caustic burns or hot machinery surfaces during CIP cycles. The value of personnel safety is sometimes difficult to evaluate in monetary terms but is surely one of the most important benefits of the SafeWater system.
Working with EAU and their Distribution Partners
EAU in conjunction with their global network of distributors can provide a flexible scope of implementation to meet the customer's needs. The base SafeWater electrolysis system includes full system automation and instrumentation, pumps and sampling systems. The scope can be enhanced to include comprehensive project management, installation, commissioning, available maintenance contracts and aftermarket support capability. Across multiple locations, local support further ensures a close understanding of the customer needs and provides the peace of mind offered through established, knowledgeable support close at hand. Our goal is to assure a smooth project for the customer.
The EAU SafeWater system reduces plant water consumption by providing matched, on demand production of cleaning and/or sanitizing solutions to meet plant requirements. The use of an ambient solution lowers energy costs and, without the use of concentrated commercial chemicals, the costs for both the cleaning and sanitizing materials required for the process and the treatment of waste water are drastically reduced. Importantly, this also improves the working environment and reduces risks to operator safety. With the CIP process taking only around 25%-50% of the time compared with the use of concentrated commercial cleaners and sanitizers, the use of SafeWater has delivered significant savings in operational costs and increases in plant productivity at the beverage bottling plants.
The electrolyzed SafeWater fluids can generally be produced for less than a penny per gallon and return on investment is often less than two years. The technology offers an effective, sustainable, environmentally friendly CIP process. It is a better solution for the business, working environment and for the sustainability of our planet.