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Improving hygiene standards will reduce costly problems

Supplier: Endress+Hauser Australia

As consumer appetite for a greater variety of food increases, so does the demand on Australian food manufacturers. Well-worn manufacturing equipment therefore, is at risk of becoming inoperational or even failing altogether causing difficult problems for this ‘hygienic’ food industry.

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Trade publications regularly publish alarming lists of food recalls, reinforcing belief that Australian manufacturing practices are not of the highest standards.

Food manufacturers therefore, need to concentrate greater investment in their plant infrastructure if they are to avoid costly food recalls and being at the mercy of stringent industry directives.

Leading process instrumentation specialist Endress+Hauser Australia is well placed to address this need.

“In the food industry, it is imperative to select the correct process instrumentation design with the highest degree of hygienic protection for the particular application,” says E+H managing director, John Immelman. 

He highlights the ‘temperature shocks’ that can be caused to manufacturing equipment during cleaning cycles, as just one cause of increased wear. “The sudden fluctuations in temperature which occur between the production process and the cleaning process can induce massive stress on the pipework and instrumentation. And with the demand for faster batching, the CIP/SIP cleaning temperatures are increasing from 90C to 120C, thereby further exacerbating the temperature shock problem.”

In food and beverage plants, a typical victim of extreme temperature variations is the electromagnetic flow meter.  All magflow meters have a liner made out of PTFE (nylon) to isolate the conductive liquid from the outer housing. During the cleaning process, the PTFE softens and loses concentricity, and when cooled, retains the distorted shape, incurring high inaccuracies. The E+H solution is the Promag H which has an embedded metal mesh in the PTFE to ensure it maintains its shape.

Just launched for level measurement in tanks and vats to specifically handle these temperature shocks is E+H’s Deltapilot S. A hydrostatic pressure transmitter for level measure of liquids in ‘wet’ environments, it features the ‘condensation tight’ pressure sensor technology, CONTITE. The Deltapilot S offers the highest accuracy and repeatability even during rapid and significant temperature changes.

E+H has an extensive range of instrumentation specifically designed (special process connections, highly polished finishes and stainless steel housings) for hygienic applications, to cope with the increasing demands on equipment that measure the parameters crucial to the food industry such as level, flow, pressure, temperature, viscosity, pH and conductivity.

Immelman also points to new international requirements, such as the US standard, FDA 21CFR11, which determines how data must be recorded and stored in food batch processes. As a consequence of the threat of bio-terrorism, food manufacturers are prohibited from exporting food products to the US without 21CFR11 implementation.

“There is a global awareness now, that countries including Australia, must improve hygiene standards, if they are to compete on a global platform.E+H has an extensive range of instrumentation specifically designed (special process connections, highly polished finishes and stainless steel housings) for hygienic applications, to cope with the increasing demands on equipment that measure the parameters crucial to the food industry such as level, flow, pressure, temperature, viscosity, pH and conductivity.

“E+H is concerned that the food industry is not keeping pace with technology and that levels of hygienic manufacturing in Australia are not of the highest possible standards.”Immelman also points to new international requirements, such as the US standard, FDA 21CFR11, which determines how data must be recorded and stored in food batch processes. As a consequence of the threat of bio-terrorism, food manufacturers are prohibited from exporting food products to the US without 21CFR11 implementation.

Summing up, Immelman says: “Not having fully functional hygienic instrumentation in place could be problematic for the industry, however E+H can help solve this with its cost-saving ‘food specific’ instrumentation.”

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