Reducing water consumption in food factories using ice pigging

GL Quarini, EA Ainslie, M Herbert, TS Evans, DGI Ash, AN Leiper

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)


Cleaning food manufacturing machinery as well as the removal and recovery of food products from processing equipment are some of the largest water consuming activities within food factories. The legislative requirements for hygiene, purity, and traceability within a food production environment, together with the environmental pressures to reduce harsh chemical use, put an ever increasing demand on water use. The food industry has developed sophisticated Clean In Place, CIP, technologies to automate some of the cleaning duties. However, these can be far from optimum in that they can be expensive in chemicals, energy and water consumption. In an attempt to recover expensive food material from processing equipment, complex pigging systems have sometimes been introduced, however they can only be adopted in very special circumstances where pipes are of uniform cross section and have no intrusions, valves, and sharp bends. This paper presents an innovative and promising new technology focused on reducing and eliminating some of the cleaning problems encountered in the food manufacturing industry, as well as going some way to providing solutions to the product recovery and product separation problems. The technology is based the use of thick pumpable ice slurries to form ‘flexible ice-pigs’ that are able to provide many of the benefits of conventional pigs as well as being able to negotiate complex topologies. The ice pigs provided enhanced wall shear, and hence the mechanical cleaning, on the walls of the equipment. Use of the technology reduces cleaning times, chemical sanitizer and water usage as well as providing product recovery and product separation capabilities. The technology is therefore very environmentally attractive, further, as it reduces CIP times, it immediately provides increased plant availability, which is financially very attractive.
Translated title of the contributionReducing water consumption in food factories using ice pigging
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnknown
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2010

Bibliographical note

Name and Venue of Event: IMechE Seminar Reducing Water Costs in the Food Industry, London
Medium/genre: Presentation, workshop plus paper
Conference Organiser: Institute of Mechanical Engineers


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