Choosing equipment that allows you to access critical areas for inspection is essential to limiting water use during production, but some processes are better suited to a wet wash, says equipment supplier Sollich.
Confectioners typically avoid using water to clean machines in fear of bacteria build-up, but Sollich says that enrobing machines and belts leading to cooling tunnels can use a wet wash under certain conditions.
Peter Koch, area sales manager for Sollich said: "We developed together with our clients that we only use water where necessary and we came to the final result: If you give good access to every area that is in direct or indirect contact with the product, you don’t need to wash the entire unit."
He said that using water for every changeover increased the possibility to create bacteria growth.
“It’s much better to have the inspection capabilities enhanced in a way that you have access to every area that you want, instead of washing the entire equipment.”
Koch said that wiping down all equipment for dry production such as cooling tunnels should be done without water.
“A swab test will confirm that all surfaces are clean and then you can restart the production,” he said.
Automatic enrober washing
Enrobing machines tend use a wet changeover but it largely depends if the product is filled with non-compatible masses or ingredients.
Sollich’s Enromat M5 - CIP is an enrobing machine which is automatically washed down and dried using computer-controls. It works much like a dish washer. Hot water is circulated under pressure through spray nozzles in several washing circuits and then then equipment is dried with hot air.
Belt washing: Using water the right way
Sollich has also developed a belt unit that can be washed continuously in production or during changeovers.
“This is one example where wet-washing is an enhancement for the ongoing production. People say washing during production with chocolate is not beneficial - if you do it right it's the best solution for certain products,” said Koch.
He said this meant ensuring no water was evaporating outside of the belt washer and collecting in the cooling tunnel. This can be achieved by keeping the belt washer encapsulated and using water heated to 60 to 65°C to ensure quick evaporation.