With material and labor costs on the rise, dairy and food processing plants are constantly exploring methods to decrease cleaning downtime as one way to increase production volume and productivity. Cleaning downtime is a particular problem for plants that utilize pasteurizers and other heated surface process equipment. Depending on the equipment and process, cooked on soils can mean lengthy cleaning programs that even involve hand scrubbing, significantly reducing daily production volume.

But many plants are substantially increasing the efficiency of their cleaning programs with a peroxyacid-based liquid pretreatment from Ecolab. Exelerate® HS was specifically formulated to penetrate proteinaceous soils, fats and carbohydrates to help improve cleaning time. The liquid product provides simple and accurate dosing. And the concentrated formula enables low-use, low-cost application. By incorporating a solution of Exelerate HS into a cleaning program as a pretreatment, tough cooked-on soils in HTST and other heated applications are more easily released from vessels and pipe walls. Many dairy and food processing plants are finding that this pretreatment allows reduced wash times, resulting in greater production capacity and improved operational efficiency. In addition to saving cleaning time, plants are finding Exelerate HS is helping to realize water and energy savings.

Take the case of one major juice manufacturer that was unable to clean its HTST and 8-inch-diameter hold tubes using traditional clean-in-place (CIP) methods. They added Exelerate HS to their current cleaning program to help remove juice and tartrate soils. As a result, they were able to eliminate a reverse circulation technique and powdered caustic additive from their cleaning program, resulting in substantially reduced cleaning time.

In another example, a major manufacturer of processed eggs was unable to completely remove egg soil from their HTST plates. After CIP, the press had to be opened on a daily basis for manual cleaning that took up to 60 minutes. Elimination of the manual cleaning would allow the plant to begin production for the day more quickly and increase operational efficiency. Exelerate HS was added to their caustic cleaning program to help remove the egg soil from the plates. As a result, on most days cleaning time was reduced by up to 60 minutes thanks to the significant reduction or elimination of manual cleaning. Incorporating Exelerate HS into their cleaning program will give the food manufacturer an opportunity to produce for up to an additional one hour per day per HTST press, providing an increased annual sales potential of $1.2 million by conservative estimates.

More Case Studies in Cost-Saving Cleaning
Another manufacturer of refrigerated foods had significant challenges removing thermally degraded butter from their melting vat. Removal of butter from the vat was requiring 30 minutes of manual scrubbing. Ideally, the manufacturer wanted to reduce the overall cleaning time and eliminate the manual scrubbing entirely. Exelerate HS was added to their caustic cleaning program and the butter vat walls were completely cleaned with no soil residue. As a result, manual cleaning was eliminated and the plant was able to reduce the cleaning time by one hour (30-minute reduction in the alkaline step plus elimination of the 30 minutes of manual cleaning) per vat. The manufacturer is now using Exelerate HS as a cleaning pretreatment in several of their kettles and vats for a variety of food soils, and plan to expand the use of Exelerate HS across all of their plants nationwide. As an added benefit, elimination of the manual cleaning process has also helped improve worker safety in the plants.

For a manufacturer of macaroni-and-cheese, the problem was burned-on soils from their cook kettles, which required a significant amount of hand-cleaning before and after the caustic boil-out. They wanted to reduce cleaning time and reduce the high temperatures associated with the boil-out procedure for safety reasons. Adding Exelerate HS to their cleaning program completely removed all of the burned on soils in the wash step and allowed them to reduce the caustic wash temperature to 190ºF. As a result, the plant was able to completely eliminate manual cleaning, thereby reducing the cleaning time by one hour and helping to enhance worker safety. Implementing Exelerate HS in their cleaning program has enabled the manufacturer to realize an additional 30 minutes of production per day, per kettle. With one additional production hour per day translating into $1.4 million in additional annual sales, it’s no wonder the manufacturer plans to implement Exelerate HS in all of their plants nationwide.

Finally, a major baby food manufacturer also had significant challenges removing burned on soils from their cook kettles. Excessive manual foam and brush cleaning was required after alkaline boil-out to completely remove the soils. The plant was already capacity constrained and desperately needed additional production time. Adding Exelerate HS to their cleaning program not only allowed them to completely remove all the burned on soils in the wash, they were also able to eliminate their acid wash step, thereby reducing the kettle cleaning time from 120 minutes to 60 minutes per kettle.