CHICAGO — Sustainability is a keyword in the industry today as companies seek to transform their production methods. At the American Society of Baking’s BakingTech 2019, held in Chicago from Feb. 24-26, Spraying Systems Co. introduced emerging technology in its session called “Efficiency, Food Safety and Sanitation Through Sustainability.”
This equipment can decrease the energy used to make a product, the ingredients used, the waste accumulated during production and many food safety issues, which all play a part in sustainability.
Cleaning/Sanitizing with ECA technology
To keep up with the food safety goals of the industry and to merge this with sustainability, Spraying Systems suggests the use of Electro-Chemical Activation (ECA) machines. Validated by food safety third parties, the method cleans product such as dough, flour, food grade oils and eggs, is affective for allergen changeover and can be used during production or on conveyors, ovens, mixers and more.
An electrolytic system for onsite generation of cleaning and sanitizing chemicals, ECA has a programmable logic controller and only requires three inputs: salt, water and electricity. Two refillable tanks — one a cleaner and the other a sanitizer — sit on the left and right of a water softener brine tank that controls the input water, which in turn controls the end solutions.
“The salt and water and electricity are all happening in the heart of the system,” said Anthony Wood, business development manager, Spraying Systems. “Inside that, there’s an electrolytic cell that’s being electrified and creating chemistry.”
Mr. Wood said a chloride salt reacts with a negatively and positively charged electro that split it apart into sodium hydroxide, the cleaner, and hydrochloric acid, the sanitizer, which are commonly used in facilities already.
“Through this electrolytic process we can produce that sodium hydroxide at very low concentrations, but it’s just as effective as much higher traditional sodium hydroxide, delivering a solution that’s safe for employees to handle and a less active ingredient going down a drain,” Mr. Wood said.
Not only does ECA allow for greater employee safety, but it also reduces the carbon footprint by eliminating shipments. The ready-to-use chemical is produced onsite, limiting the equipment and energy needed.
Hitting the target with PWM technology
When applying a topical fluid such as a pan film release agent, mold inhibitors, oil for dough balls, a glaze or egg wash with spray technology, Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) may be used for valve control. Josh DeVoll, director of market solutions, Spraying Systems, said it provides three specific ingredient benefits: consistent application, precise volumes and extreme flexibility.
“Having the amount of turndown to get different flow rates can be complicated for other technologies,” Mr. DeVoll said. “Turning on and off in between products can be difficult with an air actuated nozzle. Air atomizing is great for high viscosity products, but when we’re talking about lower viscosity products, it actually creates a lot of fogging and excess mist that can create other problems.”
Fogging and misting can be up to 50% of the total spray volume. Not only does it miss the product being sprayed, but it can also make its way to other equipment or areas in the plant, adding more time to the cleaning process. Over spraying is another challenge for spraying technologies, and sticky, sugary and salty fluids left on equipment can be damaging as well as harbor bacteria.
“PWM uses a crisp fan that is able to get more efficiency of product right where you want it,” Mr. DeVoll said.
With a common speed at about 10,000 cycles a minute, the fast spray targets only the products. Spraying Systems sees approximately 50% savings in fogging and misting when PWM is used and as much as 90% savings in airborne mist. A 50% decrease in maintenance is also common after switching to PWM.