Application potential of special cleaning processes in the food industry

Workgroup: Hygienic production

Scientific Partners and Guidance:

  1. Fraunhofer Institut für Verfahrenstechnik und Verpackung IVV Dresden, Max Hesse

Financing: IVLV e. V.
Duration: 2020

In the food industry, the surfaces of the machines and systems must be cleaned regularly in order to meet the hygienic and functional requirements during production. Wet chemical foam and spray cleaning processes are usually used, but these can have serious disadvantages depending on the application. Aerosol formations e.g. can lead to cross-contamination with microorganisms. Water residues after cleaning can also lead to hygienic risks or hinder subsequent processes, since drying often cannot be guaranteed within short time. In this context, the adaptation of innovative approaches and technologies from industrial component cleaning (automotive) promises good potential to provide new impulses for cleaning in the food industry. The planned project therefore examines innovative cleaning processes with regard to their applicability in the food industry:

  1. Laser Cleaning:
    The cleaning effect results from the absorption of the radiation energy (applied by the laser) by the contamination layer and the resulting conversion into thermal energy -> thermal decomposition and sudden evaporation of the contamination.
  2. Atmospheric-Pressure Plasma Cleaning:
    The plasma (= very reactive particle mixture) reacts with the substances in the direct environment -> suitable for fine cleaning of thin, firmly adhering, organic layers in order to convert them into volatile, gaseous compounds.
  3. Dry Ice / CO2 Snow Cleaning:
    The cleaning effect of both processes is based on a combination of mechanical, thermal and chemical effects. Since the CO2 evaporates completely during cleaning, the process is residue-free and CO2-neutral.
  4. Dry Steam Cleaning:
    Due to the low surface tension, dry steam is able to penetrate under filmic contaminants and detach them. In addition to resource efficiency and ease of use, dry steam also has a disinfectant and allergen-reducing effect.

All of these processes have the advantage that they do not use chemical cleaning additives. The aim of the project is to examine the application potential of these special cleaning processes and to derive the R&D requirements for their widespread use in the food sector.