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The objective was to prove that Ice Pigging could offer an increase in product recovery, a reduction in effluent production and a reduction in cleaning time.
The tests were carried out on Yeo Valley’s ‘Surprise’ production line at their site in Newton Abbot. ‘Surprise’ is a product which has a custard-like consistency. The current cleaning method employed by Yeo Valley is that of a water based flushing method followed by a caustic sanitation process. The water is heated to around 80ׄ°C then flushed through the pipes before heading to the drain, taking much of the remaining product from inside the pipe with it. The water has a tendency to ‘drag’ through the pipes whilst slowly stripping away product meaning that a number of runs tend to take place using considerable volumes of water. Once the water flushing is considered complete, a Clean In Place (CIP) sanitation is undertaken resulting in high quantities of effluent that require disposing of.
During the Ice Pigging process a sugar solution was used as a freezing point depressant. The ice was injected at the inlet point and dirty ice was noted after around 100 litres had passed through the system with clean ice being observed after a further 50 litres. The Ice pig had a clearly defined interface between the pig and the product and as much as 75% of product that had remained in the line was able to be recovered and sold on to the customer. There was also a significant decrease in the amount of mixed product and ice slurry meaning a drop in the amount of effluent for disposal.
Ultimately, Ice Pigging over the current water flushing method offered the following:
• An increase in product recovery.
• A reduction in water usage during the cleaning process meaning less effluent production.
• Reduced downtime due to shorter duration of the Ice Pigging process.
• A reduction in water treatment requirements due to a reduction of Chemical Oxygen Demand in the effluent.
• Reduced use of Clean In Place chemical.
Following on from the trials, Andrew Rimell, General Manager of the Newton Abbot site, Yeo Valley had this to say:
“As an engineer myself I was very interested and involved in the project and could see the benefits of Ice Pigging straight away compared to traditional pigging systems. Ice Pigging technology has great potential for the dairy and food industry.”
If you’d like to find out more about these trials or the possibility of Ice Pigging for other food processing pipelines don’t hesitate to contact us.