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Tag Archive: Sanitary Equipment

  1. Process Cooling: The Salsa Cooling Challenge

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    A custom heat exchanger design allows a salsa manufacturer to effectively complete process cooling of the product and expeditiously clean-in-place between batches and shifts.

    California-based Southwest Thermal Technology was approached by one of its OEM customers to provide a shell-and-tube cooler to chill a client’s salsa prior to bottling. The request was more challenging than it sounds.

    The Challenge

    Because of the viscosity of the salsa — around 2,000 cP while warm and much thicker at 9,165 cP when cooled — turbulent flow was extremely difficult to achieve in the tubes of a shell-and-tube heat exchanger. The viscous salsa hindered efficient heat transfer. Typically, this situation is addressed by using a heat exchanger with more surface area while using a high volume of cooling water on the shell side of the heat exchanger. Such a design could achieve process cooling from 200 to 120°F (93 to 49°C).

    Southwest Thermal Technology wondered whether a more compact solution was possible. That’s when they reached out to Enerquip.

    After reviewing the problem, the engineers at Enerquip first considered a single, large heat exchanger that would perform well thermally. But the single large exchanger would be difficult to clean with the salsa maker’s clean-in-place (CIP) system. Typically, CIP works best when the cleaning solution can be circulated at 5 ft/sec or more. In a single, large exchanger, this would not be achievable.

    Of course, in food production environments, it is crucial to keep process equipment like shell-and-tube heat exchangers clean and sanitary. Regular CIP cleaning takes place between batches or shifts. This prevents cross-contamination of different products between batches and prevents unwanted bacterial growth that could contaminate food products.

    A New Approach

    The design team at Enerquip then developed a new approach. Process cooling of the salsa would occur by flowing through three smaller heat exchangers stacked in series. The salsa would pass from one heat exchanger to the next traveling through a sanitary jumper, which connected the outlet of the first exchanger to the inlet of the second exchanger, and likewise for the second-to-third exchanger connection. Meanwhile, the cooling water would flow counter-current from shell to shell, starting in the third exchanger, flowing through the second exchanger, and finally through the shell of the first unit.

    To realize this process cooling solution, three unique shell designs were created. They allowed the connecting flanges between each shell to be bolted together for the chilled water flow. Tube-side connections included an additional CIP connection on the first bonnet for the inlet and on the last bonnet for the outlet. CIP flow through the other bonnets used the jumper connections for the salsa to further reduce the piping costs and complexity.

    Enerquip Salsa Coolers – Stacked Set

    This design allowed for more efficient process cooling. In addition, the reduced exchanger size allowed the units to be cleaned effectively using the customer’s CIP system at 5 ft/sec flow through the tubes.

    Enerquip Salsa Cooler Enerquip Salsa Cooler

    Because of the acidity of the salsa, the salsa maker opted to use a higher stainless alloy for the tubes and other product-contact surfaces of the exchangers. While more expensive, super-austenitic stainless steel is more resistant to corrosion from acids and cleaning solutions.

    Another benefit of the three smaller, stacked exchangers over one larger exchanger was risk avoidance. If there was ever a tube failure in the single large exchanger, the customer would potentially be shut down completely during a repair, and the entire tube chest would need to be replaced. This would take months to achieve due to the lead-time on super-austenitic tubing. By using three smaller shell-and-tube heat exchangers in series, the salsa maker has equipment redundancy. Any of the units can be temporarily bypassed if there were a tube failure. Replacement of a smaller tube chest would be less than the cost of a single, larger one.

    Through this approach, the salsa maker was able to get more consistent process cooling and meet all the sanitary requirements for cleaning their equipment. As an added benefit, the company gained flexibility and redundancy while minimizing the risk of costly downtime.

    Article published in Process Cooling magazine: July 2019.

    Jim Peterson, Enerquip Sales Engineer

    Article Author: Jim Peterson, Enerquip Sales Engineer

    sales@enerquip.com

  2. Heat Exchanger Helps Aloe Processor Improve Quality

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    Enerquip Tank The aloe producer found that if they could cool the product below 40°F (4.4°C) before packaging it, there was a significant improvement in quality.

    In 2012, a producer of pure aloe for medicinal and nutritional products approached Enerquip, a manufacturer of shell-and-tube heat exchangers, with a unique cooling problem. In the tropical region where aloe is harvested, the ambient temperatures hover near 95° F (35°C) most of the time. This tropical climate was accelerating bacterial growth in the product, which was lowering its value and shelf life. Enerquip worked with the producer to develop a solution using a heat exchanger.

    Ideal conditions for the product were discovered after performing some testing. The aloe producer found that if they could cool the product below 40°F (4.4°C) before packaging it, there was a significant improvement in quality.

    However, the customer’s lack of utilities at the packaging site led to complications in the cooling process. They had electricity, but the cooling water system already in place did not supply water that was cold enough to provide the low temperatures necessary to impede bacterial growth. Also, the staff using the equipment was not technically inclined, so any solution needed to be easy to control and understand. Because the aloe processor only packed the product several times per season, the equipment needed to be easy to clean, move and store during the off-season.

    After reviewing the process and existing equipment, the thermal team at Enerquip realized that a heat exchanger was required for the application. Heat exchangers are built for efficient heat transfer from one medium to another. There are multiple types of heat exchangers that offer the ability to either separate the media or, for them, to be in direct contact.

    Shell-and-tube heat exchangers consist of a series of tubes inside a larger pipe. The tubes contain the product, which is the fluid being heated or cooled. The second fluid – a heating or cooling medium – fills the larger pipe around the outside of the tubes, with the heat transferring between the product and the medium through the tube walls.

    During the heat exchanger sizing and selection process, several factors are taken into account:

    • The product specifics
    • Temperature (in/out)
    • Flow Rate (product quantity in/out)
    • Cooling medium
    • Temperature and size limitations

    The ability to easily clean the equipment played a major role in this application. Aloe is a very viscous product, and due to the frequency of use, it became evident that a shell-and-tube heat exchanger would best fit this application. The exchanger was designed in a straight-tube, multi-pass configuration, which allowed the product to travel back and forth through the exchanger several times before heading to the packaging line. The straight tube exchanger option with removable bonnets allowed for easier mechanical cleaning than other designs.

    Due to ground water availability and temperature at the plant location, a chiller was added to complete the process for this application. The air-cooled chiller was installed and utilized to provide enough cold glycol and water to cool the aloe product in a single pass through the exchanger. Once filled with glycol and water, the chiller only needed plant electricity to run. The chiller supplier installed simple pushbutton procedures that were easy for the plant staff to follow. Independent shut-off valves and removable hoses between the chiller and exchanger also allowed for easy tear down and cleaning following production.

    The end results of this process provided the aloe producer with an efficient system and cleaner, colder and more valuable aloe products.

    Click hereto read more about the Aloe Vera processing.

    Contact the helpful heat exchanger expertsat Enerquip today!

  3. Pasteurization of Raw Milk to Prevent Contamination

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    Raw milk, or milk that has not gone through a pasteurization process, is sometimes touted for its supposed health benefits. Claims of greater nutrition through raw milk may be contributing to its rising popularity.

    As more consumers seek out raw milk, the number of dairies providing this beverage is increasing as the number of states that outlaw its sale decrease, according to Food Safety News. At the same time, instances of foodborne illness linked to raw milk consumption are going up.

    Real Risks of Consuming Raw Milk

    From 2007 through 2012, 26 states reported 81 outbreaks linked to raw milk, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    People who consume raw milk or cheese products are more than 800 times more likely to experience a foodborne illness and more than 45 times more likely to be hospitalized for one compared to people who opt for pasteurized products.

    Pasteurization of Raw Milk Makes it Safe for Consumers

    Foodborne illness can be extremely harmful or even deadly. They can be prevented when food products are treated correctly before distribution to consumers. For dairy, that process is pasteurization, which involves heating the milk to a temperature that kills off the Salmonella bacteria and other illness-causing organisms.

    Pasteurization of raw milk maintains the nutritional value of the milk, the CDC explained. Some enzymes and vitamins are reduced during the pasteurization process, but these often aren’t critical to human health or can be obtained elsewhere, such as vitamin C.

    Contamination can happen at any stage of milk production, even if farmers maintain clean operations and make an effort to test their milk supply for bacteria. Foodborne illness-causing bacteria can enter milk supply in many ways, including: udder infection, insects or rodents near the cows; cross-contamination caused by farm employees, such as that due to dirty clothing or equipment; or animal feces near the milk. Even in operations where farmers strive to prevent contamination, bacterial infection is always a possibility until after the pasteurization phase.

    Incorporating Pasteurization into your Dairy Operation

    An important step in incorporating a pasteurization process into your dairy operation is identifying the right equipment.

    Shell and tube heat exchangers are a popular addition to any pasteurization process, because they provide a high heat transfer rate and are relatively easy to clean. Many fabricators choose stainless steel for the material of construction because it’s not prone to fouling and isn’t difficult to clean, making it an excellent choice to process products meant for human consumption.

    It’s important that pasteurization equipment is designed with the end use in mind. 3-A Sanitary Standards, Inc. is usually considered the industry standard regarding hygienic standards for equipment design and use. Though 3-A has been expanded to provide direction for choosing hygienic equipment for the food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries, it began as a dairy standards organization in the 1920s.

    Enerquip’s Heat Exchanger Solutions

    When it’s time to add or replace your shell and tube heat exchanger for dairy pasteurization at your facility, reach out to Enerquip. Our sanitary heat exchangers can be fabricated with 100 percent 304 stainless steel and manufactured according to 3-A standard 12-07 to ensure your process is safe and compliant with applicable regulations.

    We have several off-the-shelf heat exchanger models in stock or ready to ship. Need a custom sanitary exchanger, our team of heat exchange experts can design a solution specifically for your operation.

    Request a quote today.

  4. Tips for preventing food recalls from your production facility

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    Sanitary

    How do you prevent food recalls? Shoppers trust that, when they put groceries into their carts and bring them home to eat, the food they’re buying is safe. As a food production company, it’s your responsibility to ensure the products you ship out from your facility are in good condition and safe for consumers.

    A few aspects of this are ensuring your process is designed to prevent and detect potential contamination, and that your equipment is adequate for the job and thoroughly cleaned.

    Prevent Food Recalls: Why is it Important?

    Mistakes can happen. Food products are recalled on a regular basis. Often, recalls have to do with undeclared allergens. Other times, contamination can lead to a dangerous situation that prompts a recall. Some of the most common foodborne illness-causing organisms include:

    • E. coli.
    • Listeria monocytogenes.
    • Salmonella.

    These organisms can cause severe illness or even death, and may be found in food or dairy products that aren’t properly prepared. An estimated 1 in 6 Americans contract a foodborne illness annually, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

    It’s always important for companies to actively work to prevent food recalls, reduce the risk of food contamination, and report dangerous products as soon as they’re discovered.

    Food recalls are not only dangerous to consumers, but can also cost a business time, money and reputation. The average cost of a single product recall is $10 million, according to a study from The Grocery Manufacturers Association, Food Marketing Institute, Deloitte and GS1 US. That’s before lost sales and brand damage are taken into account.

    Prevent Food Recalls through Process Review

    If your process doesn’t support sanitary food production, you’ll always be at risk of a contamination. Since the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act came into effect, all companies who work with food products have completed a thorough process and equipment review and made any necessary changes where the operation put product at risk of contamination.

    Reviewing your process shouldn’t be a one-time task. It’s important to periodically review your systems and identify potential areas to improve. Conduct a vulnerability assessment, Global Food Safety Resource recommended. This can show you areas where your operations are most at risk.

    Regular inspections should be carried out, even during busy periods. During fast-paced production times, inspections may consist of simple visual reviews, which is fine in the short term. However, it’s important to follow these less detailed inspections with a more in-depth analysis later on.

    Investing in Sanitary Equipment

    The equipment you use plays a key role in product safety. There are two major factors that contribute to sanitary equipment: the features of the equipment itself (including materials and construction), and the continued maintenance and cleaning of them.

    Some basic sanitary equipment design principles include having smooth surfaces and rounded edges so product doesn’t get stuck in sharp corners, Food Quality and Safety noted. Equipment that’s easy to clean is also important.

    Stainless steel shell and tube heat exchangers meet these requirements. Straight tube designs have virtually no corners where product can get trapped and foul, and they’re simple to clean. U-tube models are a little bit trickier, but the rounded bend can be cleaned with the right process and equipment. Stainless steel in particular is a sanitary material because it’s resistant to contamination and fouling and is easy to clean.

    Cleaning in Place is a technique that allows for thorough cleaning without disassembling equipment or wasted water. CIP systems use shell and tube heat exchangers to run water, steam and/or cleaning chemicals through the equipment, recycling the liquid when it’s complete. CIP is both an effective and environmentally friendly way to keep equipment clean.

    Choosing a Sanitary Shell and Tube Heat Exchanger

    Just like it’s important to note the quality of standards of your food vendors, it’s equally critical to work with an equipment supplier that can be trusted to provide high-quality sanitary equipment. Your process is only as safe as your equipment allows.

    Cross-contamination is a common concern in food processing facilities, but it’s also possible for your equipment to be affected by cross-contamination if it comes into contact with materials that aren’t meant to be food grade, such as carbon steel. Enerquip takes cross-contamination concerns seriously, which is why their engineers don’t work with carbon steel. Additionally, your equipment can be constructed according to 3-A requirements and other sanitary regulations.

    Enerquip’s heat exchanger surfaces that will come in contact with products have surface finishes of 32Ra, though they can provide higher polished or electro-polished surfaces for hygienic applications.

    To learn more about Enerquip’s custom shell and tube heat exchanger design process, reach out to our helpful heat exchange experts. We’ll talk through your process and determine your unique needs to provide you the best unit for your company, to help you prevent food recalls and product contamination.

  5. Five Important Qualities to Look for in Pharmaceutical Process Equipment

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    Condensers are key components for pharmaceutical production. Increased regulations and oversight of pharmaceutical manufacturers over the past few decades have created a need for specifically designed for their intended purpose.

    Shell and tube heat exchangers used for pharmaceutical condensers should be easily cleaned, compatible with the appropriate heat transfer fluids, resistant to contamination and corrosion and reliable. Here’s what you need to know about choosing a heat exchanger that works for your pharmaceutical operation:

    1. Easily Cleaned

    Pharmaceutical products must be as pure as possible, and one step in achieving maximum purity is using clean equipment. Residue remaining from the previous batch or product type can taint the next round of product.

    Any amount of product left behind that could feasibly be removed through normal cleaning methods should not be present in equipment before production begins, according to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s Current Good Manufacturing Practices.

    Instruments that test for cleanliness today are highly accurate, able to detect even tiny amounts of residue. As such, it’s not always feasible to clean equipment to the point where absolutely no amount of previous product is detected. However, it’s always best to clean as thoroughly as possible.

    Choosing equipment that’s easily cleaned is a good step toward ensuring product batches are as pure as possible. Certain configurations of shell and tube heat exchangers are more easily cleaned than others. For example, straight tube exchangers are often easier to clean than U-tube style exchangers because there are no bends to maneuver around.

    Drainability can affect how easy it is to clean a shell and tube heat exchanger. If it’s hard to get the last ounces of liquid out of an exchanger, it’s harder to rid the equipment of all traces of the fluids. Exchangers that are designed to promote drainability, such as those offered by Enerquip, are best for this purpose. By being able to completely empty the equipment of all fluids (either by free-draining or with air-assist), the cleaning process is more effective, and the next batch won’t be affected by traces of previous product.

    2. Silicone Heat Transfer Fluid Compatible

    Your equipment needs to be compatible with the substances that will pass through it – both on the tubeside and the shellside. The heat transfer fluid used plays a large role in how effective the heating or cooling process is, as well as how well the equipment will hold up in time.

    Fluids that aren’t effective for heat transfer will require a longer process time and more energy to run. Additionally, fluids that can be corrosive can cause equipment to wear out faster. Some fluids are flammable, creating potential risks in the work environment if products or equipment are mishandled.

    Silicone is becoming a more popular heat transfer fluid for a number of reasons. It is known for their thermal stability, an important quality of heat transfer fluid. Silicone fluids are ideal for temperatures above 350 degrees Fahrenheit, according to an article from The Dow Chemical Company originally published in Process Heating Magazine. While silicone is effective at high temperatures, it also has good pumpability at low temperatures, making it a versatile heat transfer fluid.

    They also are long-lasting and aren’t likely to cause chemical abrasion, even when exposed to high temperatures. For these reasons, more than 375,000 tons are expected to be generated by 2024, according to a press release from Global Market Insights.

    Silicone has a low risk of flammability, making it an attractive fluid for many manufacturers, Chemical Processing pointed out.

    3. Leak-Free

    No manufacturer or equipment operator wants to have leaks. But for pharmaceutical processing equipment, leaks are particularly troublesome. Leaks create the possibility of product contamination, as well as corrosion or other chemical reactions that may occur when process and utility fluids mix.

    One way to reduce the risk of leaks is with a fully welded tubesheet. Another method to minimize the risk of leaks – or at least the negative impacts of them – is to design an external leak path to prevent any possible leakage from interacting with the fluid on the opposite side of the exchanger.

    Shell and tube heat exchangers constructed with double tube sheets are designed to drain any leakage away from the exchanger to minimize the chances of cross-contamination. At the same time, the operator is alerted to the problem so he or she can address it promptly.

    4. Resistant to Contamination and Corrosion

    Equipment used to create any product should not pose any risk of contamination. However, avoiding contamination means different things for different industries, processes and products.

    To minimize the risk of contamination as much as possible, equipment used for pharmaceutical production should be pharma-grade. Enerquip’s high purity exchangers are ideal for this industry. Our knowledgeable heat exchanger experts have ample experience fabricating shell and tube heat exchangers for pharmaceutical purposes, and are even used by companies like Bristol-Myers Squibb, Pfizer and Unilever.

    Corrosion-resistant materials also help to lower the risk of product contamination. Corrosion can be caused by chemical or physical processes, and the residue that emerges through this process can be reactive or can put the purity of the product at risk. Stainless steel and stainless-steel alloys are highly resistant to corrosion, making them smart choices for pharmaceutical construction.

    5. Highly Dependable

    All manufacturers, regardless of industry, strive to reduce or eliminate downtime. Every minute of downtime has a real impact on the company’s bottom line.

    Choosing reliable equipment is one of the most effective ways to reduce downtime. The less frequently equipment requires maintenance or spare parts, the more often it’s contributing to your facility’s production.

    Enerquip prides itself on fabricating equipment that is long-lasting and can be counted on. To learn more about choosing the right pharmaceutical process equipment for your facility, reach out to the knowledgeable heat exchanger experts at Enerquip.

  6. Exchanger System Helps Food Packager Put the Soup On

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    A mechanical contractor for a Chicago-based liquid-foods packager had an interesting and challenging cooling application. An important client planned to award the foods packager a large contract for packaging soup if they could satisfy one stipulation: The company had to guarantee that the product would be cooled from 198°F (92°C) to precisely 77°F (25°C) before packaging.

    In addition to the tight temperature requirements, process flexibility was required. The contract was for various types of soups, so the packager had to be able to cool products having different thermal properties. At the same time, the packager needed to be able to clean the system easily between batches to avoid any carry-over from different soup types. The cooling point had to be met precisely. If the soups were too warm when packaged, spoilage potentially could occur. If they were too cool during packaging, the containers could sweat, and the labels would not properly adhere to the packages.

    In addition, the packager had to accomplish this within a physical area with space limitations. The entire cooling system had to fit within a 14-by-6’ footprint and fit under a 12’ ceiling. Additionally, in order to minimize utility costs, the packager wanted to take advantage of ambient water from their cooling tower to perform the bulk of the cooling. A glycol/water mix through a chiller would be used for final cooling. Another factor considered in the design was the requirement for a sanitary food-grade system that met the 3-A sanitary standards for polished surface finishes and cleanability.

    Dual-Stage Heat Exchanger Design Selected

    After exploring the options, the food packager selected a designer of shell-and-tube heat exchanger systems. Often when designing shell-and-tube heat exchangers, multiple configurations can perform the duty requested. The best design is selected based on surface area, utility service provided, regulatory preferences and customer priorities. Working together in a collaborative process, the heat exchanger designer and food packager pursued the best option balancing all of the conditions.

    In order to provide a fairly simple solution, the first design presented was for a pair of 24” by 10’ long BEM-style straight tube exchangers in series. The soup product would flow through the tubes of the first exchanger while being cooled by cooling tower water in the shell. After the first exchanger, the soup would flow through the tubes of the second exchanger while being cooled by 45°F (7°C) glycol/water mix in the second shell. Both exchangers were inclined to allow the units to drain out when not in use between batches. The two heat exchangers were designed with davit swing-arm assemblies to help facilitate removal of the bonnets for periodic inspection and manual cleaning when needed.

    This dual exchanger approach, despite the advantage of simplicity, had several drawbacks. First, the cooling performed in the first exchanger was limited to the temperature that the cooling tower water was being heated to on the shell side. In other words, when the soup entering the exchanger at 198°F (92°C) met the cooling tower water entering the shell at 70°F (21°C), it heated up the cooling tower water to around 120°F (49°C). The soup could not be cooled below this level of 120°F (49°C), which is known as the temperature cross or temperature pinch. This would then put most of the burden on the glycol/water chiller to perform the bulk of the cooling, requiring a larger and more expensive chiller unit.

    The other issue that presented itself was the ability to completely clean the unit between batches of product. Although the exchanger could be cleaned by backflushing the tubes with water and cleaning solution, there was no way to accelerate the wash water to the preferred velocity (5 ft/sec) needed for adequate cleaning. This was limited by the size of the onsite cleaning clean-in-place (CIP) system (200 gal/min). With the sheer size of the exchangers and number of tubes, it would have taken a CIP system using 1,500 gal/min to reach the proper cleaning velocity. These factors led to a redesign to a more complex yet more effective solution.

    In order to allow for a smaller tube field that would provide the 5 ft/sec velocity for cleaning, the exchanger diameter was reduced from 24” to 6”. Because of the reduction in surface area per heat exchanger, it was necessary to add more exchangers to the set. The first, large unit being cooled by the cooling tower water was replaced by six smaller exchangers. For the final cooling utilizing the chiller, the larger exchanger was replaced by two of the smaller units.

    As the design simulations unfolded, other benefits started to show themselves. By restricting the flow of the product to a smaller number of tubes, the velocity of the product also increased. This improved the heat transfer when cooling the soup product. It also allowed the cooling tower water to be split into a fresh stream flowing into each of the six shells, avoiding the temperature cross experienced in the larger unit. During winter months, when their cooling water was colder than 70°F (21°C), it was possible to shut down the glycol/water chiller and perform all of the cooling with just cooling tower water, saving utility costs.

    The smaller diameter exchangers were easier to construct and polish to meet the 3-A sanitary requirements. They were efficient to clean using the onsite CIP system, and they were simpler to take apart to inspect due to the smaller, lighter bonnets on each exchanger.

    The eight exchangers were stacked on a custom rack with all of the interconnecting product jumpers, utility piping and the contractor’s manual valves. During design, it was decided to leave enough space to mount two more of the same size exchangers on the rack, allowing for future growth in batch size, or for tough-to-cool products requiring more surface area. The units were all pitched slightly to allow for full draining of the product and cleaning fluids from the tubes. Another advantage was that spare parts like gaskets and tri-clamps were less expensive and more readily available for the smaller exchangers than with the two original, large exchangers. An added bonus is that the parts are interchangeable between the eight exchangers in the set.

    The new system of stacked heat exchangers in series still fit within the packager’s space limitations, and it ended up costing about the same as the two larger custom units. This allowed the food package to stay within the budget and timeline for the project. The stacked set approach of smaller heat exchangers in series performed consistently. This allowed the packager to win the contract while enjoying the benefits of lower utility costs, increased regulatory compliance and automation of the maintenance process for the system.

  7. Preventing Cross Contamination in Your shell and tube heat exchangers

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    Cross contamination is a shared concern at all stages of the food industry. Chefs need to make sure their fresh veggies are kept away from their raw meat; storage facilities strive to keep common allergenic foods like nuts separate from other ingredients; and food production plants must ensure products sent through their process equipment isn’t affected by harmful bacteria, chemicals or other items.

    Shell and tube heat exchangers are popular in food production plants as a method to pasteurize fruit, vegetable or dairy products, or to achieve a desirable consistency, as in honey or maple syrup production. Cross contamination is also a risk factor in industries like pharmaceuticals and personal care.

    It’s important that these important pieces of equipment don’t contribute to any form of cross contamination. If this were to occur, it could reduce plant efficiency, lead to a ruined batch of product or necessitate a recall. There are many different ways to reduce the chances of cross contamination in your food or pharmaceutical production facility. Here are a few:

    Work with quality equipment fabricators

    The materials used in the construction of your shell and tube heat exchangers play an important role in the quality, sanitation, cleaning requirements and lifespan of your equipment. Many food industry companies turn to stainless steel for its fouling resistance.

    Choosing a stainless steel shell and tube heat exchanger is therefore a good step toward preventing cross contamination in your facility. However, you can take this one step further by finding out what sort of environment in which your shell and tube heat exchanger is fabricated.

    Cross contamination isn’t just limited to food items; you can also cross-contaminate metals. As such, it’s worthwhile to find out if your stainless steel shell and tube heat exchanger is being made in a facility that also utilizes carbon steel. If it is, there’s always a chance that this metal, which is more prone to fouling, can contaminate your equipment.

    At Enerquip, we value the integrity of stainless steel, which is why we don’t work with carbon steel. When you receive one of our heat exchangers, you can feel confident that it hasn’t been affected by this metal.

    Strategically choose your tubes

    When cross contamination does occur in a shell and tube heat exchanger, it may be caused by the shell-side fluid mixing with the tube-side fluid. To prevent this from happening, added barriers or an adjusted tube design can help.

    Enerquip’s high purity shell and tube heat exchangers are fitted with double tubesheets, which reduces the risk of cross contamination of this type. These custom and standard pharma-grade exchangers are particularly useful for pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, animal health and personal care industries.

    Double tube sheet configurations typically have a form of leak detection installed in the exchanger. If a leak were to occur in these models, the fluid should drain away from the exchanger and into a safety container rather than mixing with the other fluid, and alerts the operator that there is an issue to repair.

    Understand pressure differentials

    The engineers who create shell and tube heat exchangers must understand many complex formulas to know how the equipment will behave once it’s put to use. The pressure differential, or the difference between the pressures inside the exchanger, is an important one that relates to the likelihood of cross contamination. Typically, the pressure on the shellside would be less than inside the tubes. That way, if a leak springs, the product will flow into the heat transfer medium, rather than the medium mixing into the product and entering the tubes. This helps to keep the negative effects of a cross contamination incident as low as possible.

    Regular inspections and cleaning

    If there’s a chance of cross contamination in your equipment, it’s best to know sooner than later. Periodic visual inspections is the first step in identifying weak points and emerging problems that could lead to contamination, Business Standard pointed out. In your inspections, you might see early signs of leaks in your tubesheet or gaskets. If you catch this early, you may be able to replace or repair the damage before it leads to mixing fluids.

    You may also see early signs of fouling. If fouling is allowed to continue for too long, it can lead to spoiled product. If you do, you’ll want to clean the exchanger and determine whether you can make any changes to your process to prevent fouling. This might mean exploring new options for heat transfer fluids, cleaning more frequently or changing your sanitation methods.

    Whether you’ve experienced cross contamination at your facility or simply want to ensure you’re doing everything you can to prevent it, strategically choosing your shell and tube heat exchanger and making sure it’s kept in good condition can go a long way to help your efforts. To learn about Enerquip’s stainless steel shell and tube heat exchangers, reach out to our knowledgeable engineers.

  8. Food Processing and Holiday Favorites

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    Do you know how food processing comes into play with your holiday favorites? The holiday season is marked by traditions, like family gatherings, gift-giving and, of course, seasonal foods people look forward to all year round. Treats like pumpkin pie, eggnog and cranberry sauce bring back memories of holiday feasts and large gatherings for many people. But do you know what it takes to place these traditional dishes on your table?

    Food processing and holiday favorites… here’s how these favorite wintertime dishes are processed:

    Eggnog

    Milk products sold in the U.S. must be pasteurized before being packaged and stocked on store shelves. Pasteurization is the process of heating the product to a temperature and for a length of time known to kill harmful organisms like E. coli, salmonella or Coxiella burnetii, which can cause Q fever in humans, according to Milk Facts.

    Eggnog is made by combining eggs with milk or cream. Both the eggs and the milk have the potential to contain dangerous bacteria. To offset the risk, the mixture needs to be heated to either 155 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes for large-batch vat processing, or 175 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 seconds for continuous high-temperature, short-time processing. Eggnog must be pasteurized to ensure it’s free of harmful bacteria.

    Canned pumpkin

    Did you know your pumpkin pie might be more like squash pie? According to the Food & Drug Administration, it’s perfectly acceptable for Cucurbita pepo as well as varieties of Cucurbita maxima to bemixed together in the can of delicious creamy pumpkin puree you poured into your pie shell this winter. The former is commonly called a field pumpkin and isn’t as bright as the jack-o’-lantern you carved for Halloween, while the latter is firm-shelled, golden-fleshed, sweet squash.

    Regardless of what’s technically in the can, there are two truths almost everyone can agree on: pumpkin pie is delicious, and it’s important that the ingredients are prepared safely to prevent foodborne illnesses. An important aspect in implementing controls in processing to prevent bacterial growth is knowing the product’s pH. Different pH levels contribute to varying levels of bacterial growth; lower acidity, found in Low-Acid Canned Foods, generally means the product isn’t required to go through a hazard analysisor be subject to risk-based preventative controls, according to the FDA. Foods that have a final acidity of more than 4.6are considered LACF; since pumpkin averages a pH of 4.9-5.5, it’s considered a LACF.

    A critical distinction between LACFs and high-acidity foods is thepotential for Clostridium botulinum the bacterium that can cause botulism to grow, according to William McGlynn, a food scientist at Oklahoma State University’s Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center. pH levels of less than 4.6 don’t allow for this dangerous spore to grow, which means that LACF’s must undergo intensive heat treatments to kill any spores. Pressure cooking inside the can is one effective way to rid the puree from harmful bacteria.

    As Forbes contributor Nadia Arumugam explained, the journey from field to can is a long onethat involves heavy-duty machinery to wash, sanitize, remove the stem, seeds and pulp, chop, steam, condense and finally mash the squash. Each of these steps is critical in creating that consistent texture you imagine when you think of pumpkin pie.

    Cranberry sauce

    While pumpkin has a low acidity, cranberries fall on the higher end of the scale, with cranberry sauce having an average pH of 2.4 and cranberry juice a pH of 2.3-2.5, according to the Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center. While this may mean Clostridium botulinum has a very low chance of surviving in these environments, other toxins like salmonella can thrive in this level of acidity, and pasteurization is necessary to make sure they’re safe to consume.

    According to the FDA, fruit juices need to either be pasteurized or labeled with a warning messagestating that the product has not gone through a pasteurization processand could be a health risk to consumers, particularly those who have weak immune systems. As is dairy processing, heat pasteurization is a common practice among juices and fruit juice products.

    High-quality equipment matters

    When pasteurizing milk, fruit or vegetable products, it’s not just factors like temperature and process duration that makes a difference, but also the equipment in use. Some materials are naturally less prone to contamination than others.

    Stainless steel is one material that is well-suited for food processing because of its resistance to fouling, corrosion and pitting. Alloys that contain copper, which naturally has antimicrobial properties, can also be good choices for food processing equipment, according to Antimicrobial Copper. As such, stainless steel and copper alloys are commonly used in food processing operations.

    If your food processing plant is in need of new stainless steel shell and tube heat exchangers for your pasteurization process, reach out to the expertsat Enerquip.

  9. Investing in a CIP system: Here’s what you need to know

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    There are some basic priorities every food manufacturer shares: Make a quality product, minimize downtime and maintain sanitary conditions in the facility.

    Careful planning, strategy and expertise are necessary to accomplish these tasks. They also require an effective cleaning strategy that reaches all the little crevices throughout the food manufacturing process and properly sanitizes all surfaces.

    One much-favored equipment cleaning strategy throughout the food, beverage and dairy industries is the clean-in-place method. CIP systems are very effective in keeping equipment free of fouling and are regarded highly by 3-A Sanitary Standards

    Components of a CIP system

    There are many different configurationsand styles for CIP systems, though there are some features the majority of them have in common, Food Quality and Safety explained. These may include:

    • Pumps to add the chemical sanitizers.
    • Pumps and valves to bring in the supply of water.
    • A supply-side heat exchanger
    • A method of recording data (temperature, start/end times, amount of water and sanitizer used). The method can either be electronic or manual.

    All CIP also have a system of one or more tanks: Some have one tank, which allows for a combined rinse and wash cycle. Others have two tanks to separate the rinse and wash processes. Some CIP systems add a third tank to be used for a recovery process, and others have a fourth tank for alkaline, acid or sanitizer storage.

    “A missed spot may harbor contaminants and become a serious problem in the long-term.”

    Some CIP systems are one-pass systems that require careful chemical dosing; others are multi-pass systems which necessitate an additional tank to hold alkaline, acid or sanitizer – often the reason a fourth tank is included in the CIP system.

    Manufacturers designing CIP systems also have a variety of options for how to distribute the water and cleanersthroughout the equipment, FoodProcessing explained. They can use spray balls, which are more tailored to processes that don’t require very high water pressure. For those that do need highly pressurized water, rotary spray heads are used more often.

    In either case, it’s essential that the entire surface area is reached by the spray method to ensure a total and complete clean. A missed spot resulting from poor design or insufficient components may harbor contaminants and become a serious problem in the long term.

    Flow in a CIP system

    It’s important to consider what flow rate is really needed when designing a CIP system. One might immediately think that the higher the flow rate, the lower the risk for inadequately clean equipment, therefore coming to the conclusion that higher is always better. However, erring on the side of higher pressure can also mean higher energy, water and cleaning costs. It’s best to have it just high enough of a flow to be effective, but to not overdo it.

    If a problem with a CIP system emerges, managers may assume the solution is to increase the flow. However, Food Safety Magazine pointed out that there are alternative solutions that can improve cleaning processeswithout a major impact on costs.

    The most challenging parts of equipment to clean are dead-ends, crevices and corners, such as the bends in a u-tube shell and tube heat exchanger. In these instances, increased flow is often ineffective, as well as costly. Some different approaches to cleaning challenging parts of the equipment include:

    • Pulsating and varying the direction of the flow.
    • Ice-pigging, or pushing an ice slushy through the piping from the CIP.
    • Effervescence in the water, which creates localized wall-shear stresses.
    • Jet cleaning, or directing a high force to a specific area.

    Additionally, draining the processing line before engaging the CIP system may also help. This way, when the CIP is turned on and the water fills the lines, it’ll create a moment of harder force than if the water was already in the line.

    Documentation of CIP systems

    It’s a legal requirement that food manufacturers document their cleaning process Commercial Food Processing pointed out. Luckily, many CIP systems have automated documentation capabilities. However, just because it happens automatically doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be regularly and frequently monitored, or that manufacturers shouldn’t make adjustments or additions to the documentation process.

    “Food manufacturers document their cleaning process.”

    In the past, paper-based chart recorders would document data like temperature using pen drivers and ink supplies. Today, food manufacturers are moving away from this in favor of methods that are more reliable and less costly and time-consuming to maintain.

    Historians are data recorders that use specialized software to document a wide range of process points including flow and temperature.

    Event archiving is also a necessary aspect of having and properly maintaining a CIP system. Event archives include cycle start and end times, wash times and quantities of materials used in the cleaning. In the past, this was done by hand, though manual recording is no longer industry standard, nor does it meet regulatory compliance. Software innovations have been brought to market to address this need as well.

    In addition to the typical information recorded by event archivers of the past, software-based event recorders also include data like whether a process was interrupted (and why); whether an operator took additional steps before, during or after the cleaning process; whether a step was repeated or skipped; and whether the operator paused or aborted the cycle before it was completed. The software can compile all the relevant data into reports that can be printed, as well as import it to databases so it can be accessed more conveniently and compared to past reports.

    Most importantly, using software-based historians and event recorders makes regulatory compliance easier for manufacturers, and can more accurately identify emerging or existing problems in the CIP system.

    If you’re in the market to upgrade your CIP system, consider how a stainless steel shell and tube heat exchanger can help. The knowledgeable engineers at Enerquip know the importance of fabricating exchangers that meet stringent regulations such as 3-A and ASME-BPE.

  10. New FSMA Guidelines for cGMP’s

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    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 48 million people in the U.S. (1 in 6) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die each year from foodborne diseases. This is a significant public health burden that is largely preventable.

    In 2015, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was enacted to help prevent foodborne illness rather than simply responding to it. FDA has seven major rules in regards to FSMA for both human and animal food. The FSMA rules are designed to make clear specific actions to prevent contamination.

    CGMPs for animal food

    CGMPs for animal food production cover elements like personnel, sanitation, work environment, water quality, equipment and more. Jenny Murphy, a consumer safety officer at FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, explained that CGMPs are typically actions manufacturers should already be making throughout the normal course of their business.

    “I would say the CGMPs establish a base to make sure you don’t contaminate the animal food and the preventive controls take it a step further by making you really concentrate on things that, if they’re found in animal food, could be a public health concern,” Murphy said, according to the Food & Drug Administration.

    For example, according to CGMPs, equipment used for food manufacture should be:

    • Adequately cleanable.
    • Made from nontoxic materials.
    • Properly maintained.
    • Protected against contamination.

    Preventative controls for animal food

    While CGMPs cover the basics of maintaining a sanitary work environment and can be applied to any facility, preventative controls are more individualized to unique plants and are designed to address more specific situations.

    “Preventative controls are more individualized to unique plants.”

    “Once you have CGMPs in place, you can see where you need extra layers of protection,” Murphy explained. “Preventive controls require a food safety plan that includes an analysis of potential biological, chemical or physical hazards and the steps needed to reduce or minimize that risk.”

    Joann Givens, the director of FDA’s Food and Feed Program in the Office of Regulatory Affairs and a co-chair of the FSMA Operations Team Steering Committee, explained that it’s OK – even advisable – to have some redundant processes in place. This way, when one procedure falls short, another can pick up the slack. It ensures all your bases are covered.

    Givens explained that preventative controls are important because, if a violation does occur, some of the first questions a facility manager might be asked include:

    • Could you have predicted this issue?
    • What did you do to prevent it?
    • Once it became a problem, what did you do?
    • Did you educate your employees about the issue or how to address it?

    Every animal food manufacturing plant will have different risks, and therefore each may have different preventative control requirements. Facilities should have preventative controls in place for:

    • Processes, like heating or refrigerating.
    • Sanitation, like the minimization of pathogens or biological hazards.
    • Supply chain.
    • Recalls, when they’re needed.
    • Any other aspects of the facility where a preventative control might make sense, such as hygiene training or reviews of CGMPs.

    Making sure your equipment is compliant

    Your process equipment is a large investment, which means you’ll want to make sure it’s compliant from the get-go.

    Stainless steel shell and tube heat exchangers are a common component to animal food manufacturing facilities because they meet many CGMP expectations. For example, stainless steel is a highly sanitary surface, which meets the requirement that materials that come in contact with the product should be nontoxic.

    Certain configurations also allow for easy cleaning. Tube bundles on u-tube exchangers are often easier to remove, giving easy access to the crevices of the exchanger when cleaning. On the other hand, straight-tube designs don’t have difficult curves to work around when cleaning.

    It’s also important to think about the wear and tear equipment sustains over time. Shell and tube heat exchanger processes that involve high-pressure differentials can create more stress on the tubes and tubesheet, making a leak or other form of damage more likely. When a tube springs a leak, the batch of product inside the equipment could become contaminated. This is especially true if the feedwater used is of lower quality than required for animal food production. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration pointed out that this is often the case, which means facility managers must always be aware of the state of their equipment.

    The first step in preventing leaks in exchangers – and thus fulfilling CGMPs relating to avoiding contamination – is to regularly inspect the equipment and identify when a problem emerges. Seeing the signs of wear and potential leakage should be enough to pursue repair or replacement of the weathered part or the piece of machinery as a whole.

    Understanding the many requirements included in the FSMA isn’t always easy, but it’s important that animal food manufacturers determine where their current weaknesses are and address them sooner rather than later. Murphy explained that the FDA won’t begin conducting inspections to make sure everything is up to code until 2018, but that doesn’t mean there’s time to waste.

    For animal food companies looking to upgrade their equipment in compliance with current CGMPs, the engineers at Enerquip can help.