Disinfection monitoring & control for food & drink

Accurately controlling a dose of sterilant to clean pipework in the food and beverage industry is vital to the taste, quality, safety and life of the food or drink being produced, along with the health and wellbeing of the consumer.

As with any disinfection system, maintaining reliable residual values is the key to effective pathogen control. To facilitate consistent chemical feed control, ATi aqueous Q46/84 hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and Q46/85 peracetic acid (PAA) monitors respond rapidly to changes in concentration, enabling operators to monitor and control chemical feed to maintain specific targets.

Historically, the cleaning time of the pipework was more time consuming due to the lack of reliable monitoring equipment. The longer the cleaning process, the more expense incurred due to using more chemicals and increasing ‘down time’. However, Cleaning-in-Place (CIP) is now a widely used method of cleaning process equipment in the food and drink industry, usually applied daily depending on the production technique and industry. This ensures a consistantly high product quality, efficient heat transfer in heat exchangers and reduces the risk of micro-organisms growth.

Sterilants such as hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and peracetic acid (PAA) are used to clean the equipment, using a strength of around 250 – 350 PPM and stored in large vessels. Once the solution is used, more is made and is topped up. This method of ‘topping up’ has proven difficult to maintain the correct level and keep its strength after multiple uses on site. Colorimetric titration has often been the only method used due to issues with continuous dosing to a set-point (PID control). The risk of not reaching the correct level of PAA or H2O2 could result in the ‘dumping’ of product and then a deep clean, meaning high cost and low output due to down time.

After years of successful monitoring and controlling of PAA and H2O2 at several leading food and drink manufacturers and dairy companies in the UK, ATi’s specialist Q Series range of monitors have proven to be innovative and effective tools that improve efficiency and cost effectiveness on site. After a recent six month trial of the Q46/85 at a leading food and drink company, the data showed that the sensor required no calibration or maintenance, which is typical of ATi Q Series range of sensors.

The Q46/85 uses electro-chemical sensing technology to control a continuous dose of peracetic acid during CIP. The sensor can be connected via analogue output or PID control to a dosing pump for continuous monitoring and control to a specific set-point. ATI’s Q46/84 hydrogen peroxide monitor is designed to continuously measure the concentration of H2O2 in aqueous systems. The design of the sensor used in both the Q46/84 (H2O2) and Q46/85 (PAA) applications has the same building attributes as the free chlorine and dissolved ozone sensors that are the benchmark within the UK water industry. The accuracy and reduced maintenance of these types of sensor, adaptable to a wide variety of applications, is one of the many reasons that ATi are framework suppliers to most UK water companies and multiple OEM’s worldwide.

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