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For food and beverage manufacturing facilities, the sanitation room is a crowded place. Most manufacturers have up to 10 sanitation professionals removing and scrubbing soiled components and installing cleaned components. It is no small effort to get the work done, and the labor shortage is putting a strain on these teams.
As an account manager at Crane Engineering, I have seen many companies struggle to fill these positions to minimize downtime and meet sanitation standards.
One food plant called me last year to inquire about a Sani-Matic cabinet washer. I visited their facility and saw 8 people working to sanitize equipment. Two individuals worked to disassemble and reassemble machines while the remaining 6 stood shoulder-to-shoulder in the washroom.
I watched as the sanitation team handled components multiple times, from machine to pre-rinse, to wash, to rinse, to sanitize, then back to the machine. The entire process was inefficient and the workers’ exposure to caustic chemicals and hot temperatures posed a safety risk. The engineer was right, a cabinet washer would provide a number of benefits and improvements to this process.
Cabinet washers can help food and beverage manufacturers solve some of the biggest issues with sanitation:
Employing a cabinet washer reduces the number of touches required to clean the equipment. The components are removed from the machine and placed on the rack. From there, the rack goes directly into the cabinet washer. Components are only touched twice versus 8-10 touches during manual cleaning.
According to Sani-Matic’s Peter Barrie, with the help of a cabinet washer, food manufacturers could reduce the labor required to clean equipment components by up to 75%, allowing manufacturers to deploy those resources elsewhere. Automated cleaning also reduces damage to expensive process parts.
Exposure to some cleaning chemicals causes irritation to the skin, rashes, or severe burns. Splashing chemicals can get into the eyes. Mists, vapors, or gasses from chemicals cause irritation to the nose, throat, lungs, or may burn the eyes.
Cabinet washers remove constant exposure risks by containing the chemicals in an enclosed cabinet. When the cycle is complete, the equipment is safe to touch and re-install.
Manual cleaning requires a lot of resources. It takes a lot of people and a lot of time to clean components manually day after day. Additionally, introducing the human element to the cleaning process means increased opportunities for errors and damaged components.
With a cabinet washer, each component is washed in a manner that is repeatable and validated. In fact, some equipment from manufactures like Sani-Matic, can record and store data locally or in a cloud making reporting to regulatory bodies much easier. This also meets FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act) making reporting a breeze.
Here is what’s on Sani-Matic’s website:
“SaniTrend Cloud meets FSMA requirement for reporting and meets PMO’s requirements for electronic records [Appendix H, Section V (Criteria for the Evaluation of Electronic Data Collection, Storage, and Reporting)].
For Bio-Pharm end users, the SaniTrend™ Cloud Pro edition software package is available as an upgraded option, which adds HMI audit trail capabilities to SaniTrend Cloud. The Pro edition is fully 21 CFR Part 11 Compliant.”
Manual cleanings are highly time-consuming. When each component is handled one by one through a multi-step cleaning process, downtimes and line changes take longer. By allowing automated parts washers to do the heavy lifting with cleaning, plants can run more product and turn lines around quicker.
Extensive water savings are realized with cleaning automation vs. manual cleaning. As many companies are focused on saving water and energy, spray wash cabinets can have a significant impact on sustainability goals.
Using spray wash cabinets allows manufacturers to reuse water and chemical during some steps of the cleaning process.
The best thing about these stainless steel spray wash cabinets is that they pay for themselves. The savings on labor, water, and chemical add up quickly and make it an easily justifiable purchase.
If you’re wondering if it makes sense for your facility, download our ROI calculator.
Before making the jump to a cabinet washer, there are a couple of items to think through.
Again, even with possible upgrades needed for hot water and power, these systems can still deliver incredible ROI.
Since the food manufacturer implemented the cabinet washer, they've been able to reduce the number of people washing components from 8 to two or three. A wash cycle is now 15 minutes in the cabinet instead of 40 minutes. The bottleneck in the process is no longer washing up. They've now requested a second washer for another location.
Want to learn more about a cabinet washer can make a difference in sanitation at your facility? Ask us about it! We gladly provide technical assistance to businesses in Wisconsin, upper Michigan, and Minnesota.
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