Author Archives: Electro-Steam

  1. Why Should You Steam Clean Wine Barrels?

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    Wine BarrelsCleaning and maintaining wine barrels is an essential part of the wine production process, as it helps preserve quality and enhances taste in wine products. The chemical compounds wineries often use to clean and maintain wine barrels can be harmful to wine processing workers and hazardous to the environment.

    One safe and efficient method you can use to sanitize wine barrels is steam cleaning. This increasingly popular technique offers a safe cleaning alternative while allowing facilities to meet strict sanitation requirements enforced throughout the industry.

    Effectively Eliminate Contaminants to Preserve Flavor

    Steam cleaning uses high temperatures to sanitize wine barrels in lieu of chemical treatment. Temperatures within the barrel reach approximately 212 F to mitigate the growth of fungi, bacteria, and other potential contaminants.

    This process can eliminate various types of pathogens that could compromise the fermentation and ripening process, such as:

    • Pediococcus
    • Brettanomyces
    • Acetobacter
    • Lactobacilli

    Additionally, barrel steamer equipment can remove tartrate that can stick to barrel walls.

    Steam cleaning wine barrels preserves the fragrance in wine and facilitates ripening and fermentation, both of which elevate the overall quality of the end product.

    Extend the Lifespan of Wine Barrels

    A barrique typically lasts for three years, but steam cleaning can extend this lifespan even further. Steam penetrates the porous wood to remove old wine residue, yeasts, and pathogens. The barrel walls can then naturally micro-oxygenate wine during refinement, optimizing the polymerization of anthocyanins and tannins in the wine.

    Save Water

    Steam cleaning also makes wine processing more sustainable. While conventional cleaning methods tend to use a lot of water during the cleaning process, steam cleaning uses a much smaller amount, cleaning the wine barrels within minutes.

    Contact Us for Steam Generators for Cleaning Wine Barrels

    If you want to safely clean and maintain your wine barrels or tanks, Electro-Steam offers some of the best steam generators available. Our steam generators produce dry saturated steam devoid of boiler additives, allowing for highly efficient and effective cleaning that doesn’t require the use of chemical solvents. Our equipment also prevents trace materials from negatively affecting the taste and fragrance of wine products.

    Several key features set Electro-Steam generators apart from other generators on the market, including:

    • Stainless steel materials for use in electric panels and cabinets
    • Capability to produce units within two to three weeks
    • A five-year warranty on steam generator chambers and a one-year warranty on other components
    • Top-quality construction using the best available parts
    • 98% efficiency without the need to pre-heat water

    We’ll help you locate the ideal steam generator for your facility. Our team of experienced and knowledgeable staff will guide you through the selection process and direct you toward a solution that maximizes cleanliness and efficiency. We can develop steam generators for wine barrel cleaning and other food sanitation systems.

    Contact us today to learn more about our products or with any questions, and we’ll connect you with one of our experts. You can also request a free demo of our steam cleaners for food and beverage processing applications.

  2. Benefits of Clean-in-Place Dry Steam Cleaning for Conveyor Belts

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    Benefits of Clean-in-Place Dry Steam Cleaning for Conveyor Belts

    Food processing and production environments are required to comply with sanitation and food safety standards at all times. These apply to the ingredients as well as all equipment used to prepare, process, and package them.

    Areas that require special attention include conveyor belts used to move food items from station to station within the facility, tubing that transports ingredients and finished products, and food preparation equipment. Because they are in contact with food products continuously, they readily pick up stains, debris, and contaminants. If they are not cleaned frequently and adequately, risks of cross-contamination or reduced product quality increase.

    Steam sanitation is a quick and cost-effective method of cleaning and sanitizing food-contact surfaces and equipment that’s highly effective. What’s more, systems that allow workers to bring steam cleaning equipment to the point of use rather than disassembling and moving equipment, known as clean-in-place systems (CIP), boost operational efficiency. Here, we’ll discuss how CIP dry steam cleaning works and its many advantages for conveyor belts and food production facilities.

    What Is Clean in Place (CIP)?

    CIP systems allow equipment to be cleaned thoroughly without disassembly or transportation to a different area for washing and sanitizing. It is frequently used with bulky equipment, large machinery that is heavy or permanently installed, or complex equipment that is difficult and time-consuming to take apart and reassemble. Clean-in-place equipment is usually a portable setup with a dry steam generator, cleaning tools such as spray wands for reaching tight spaces, a vacuum system for particles and liquids, and sometimes a specialized belt cleaning device.

    Dry steam cleaners release high-temperature dry steam on, around, and into equipment. Dry steam has a low moisture content, so hand drying is not required. Temperatures are hot enough to melt grease, destroy biofilms, kill pathogens, and loosen crumbs or other stuck-on residues or carryback so they can be vacuumed up. Depending on the application, dry steam can also be fed into tubing lines and through filling nozzles or sprayers for glazes and coatings.

    Dry steam is ideal for reaching into crevices and intricate assemblies. Steam can easily reach small gaps, rough edges, and different components far inside assemblies, releasing residues, particles, dust, and fatty substances far more effectively than hands-on cleaning. A special vacuum system is used to remove particles and the small amount of water that condenses as the steam cools.

    Because dry steam has only a 5 to 6% moisture content, the amount of liquid generated by the cleaning process is minimal. This helps to avoid corrosion or other water damage and eliminates standing water that can support bacteria.

    Advantages of CIP Technology

    CIP dry steam sanitizing systems have several benefits for food processing and production operations including:

    Increased Speed and Productivity

    Steam sanitization with CIP systems is faster than manual processes. CIP cleaning eliminates the time and labor for disassembling and moving equipment, as well as the actual time and effort required to manually clean different components and reassemble them. High-temperature steam also requires shorter dwell times than other cleaning agents, quickly melts grease, and kills pathogens. This results in more consistent and thorough cleaning and less downtime.

    Greater Reliability

    Dry steam can reach all the surfaces of a conveyor belt and into even the smallest channels or tubing. Manual cleaning methods involving a range of tools and cleaning solutions may not be able to reach some areas reliably. This may leave the level of sanitation to the skill of the person doing the cleaning, which can vary. CIP dry steam cleaning makes it easier to comply with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and other requirements. High-temperature steam kills pathogens like Listeria monocytogenes, Escherichia coli (E. coli), and salmonella, and removes potential allergens, dust, and other particles.

    Improved Worker Safety

    CIP dry steam cleaning eliminates the need for disassembling, moving, and reassembling equipment, greatly reducing the risks of worker injury and improper reassembly or equipment damage. With its low moisture content, dry steam leaves minimal wet residue, further reducing slips, falls, and chemical exposure from water- or chemical-based manual cleaning processes.

    Superior Eco-Friendliness

    Sanitizing with CIP dry steam cleaning systems is environmentally friendly. It doesn’t require potentially hazardous cleaning agents or consumables like cloths or sponges that can be reintroduced to the water supply. CIP dry steam cleaning reduces water consumption by using up to 98% less water than wet cleaning methods.

    Contact Electro-Steam for CIP Dry Steam Cleaning

    The ability to steam in place saves time and results in consistently clean equipment for compliance with food safety regulations. Electro-Steam is a leading provider of custom steam systems for clean-in-place food industry applications as well as commercial kitchens, wineries, medical device manufacturing or preparation facilities, and more We also carry industrial process steam and clean steam generators, cleaning tools, and accessories like brushes, hoses, and more.

    Contact us today to learn more about dry steam CIP systems or schedule a free demo to see our equipment in action.

  3. How Do Steam Shrink Tunnels Work?

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    Electric Steam Generator

    Shrink tunnels use heat to shrink film sleeves around various containers for labeling purposes. Steam heat shrink tunnels are known for their efficiency and precise control. These tunnels harness the natural properties of steam to distribute heat evenly and quickly, which enables consistency and quality across products.

    Manufacturers utilize steam shrink tunnels to accommodate a wide range of product sizes and shapes. Explore our steam generators for more insights into steam power for shrink tunnels.

    How Steam Heat Shrink Tunnels Work

    A steam heat shrink tunnel uses steam as a medium to transfer heat to objects in an enclosed space. Steam passes through the tunnel and envelops the objects, maintaining high heat levels as it shrinks the sleeves. The steam tunnels include sophisticated manifolds and valves that control the intensity and direction of steam flow.

    Operators can optimize the process to match product specifications and desired production rates by adjusting the following design parameters:

    • Tunnel length
    • Opening size
    • Conveyor speed

    Temperature plays a central role in the shrinking process. Operating within a specific temperature range prevents deformation on empty bottles and preserves the chemical integrity and physical properties of the product inside.

    Applications of Steam Heat Shrink Tunnels

    Steam heat shrinking is ideal for applications involving full-sleeve labels on contoured containers. Precise temperature controls keep graphics sharp and colors vibrant, without the distortion or wrinkling often caused by higher heat methods.

    Key applications of steam heat shrink tunnels include:

    • Beverage Industry: Ideal for applying labels to bottles and cans, ensuring they withstand moisture and temperature variations without peeling or fading
    • Pharmaceuticals: Ensures tight, tamper-evident seals on bottles and containers, maintaining product safety and compliance with regulatory standards
    • Cosmetics and Personal Care: Applies smooth, wrinkle-free labels to uniquely shaped bottles, enhancing product appeal on competitive retail shelves
    • Food Packaging: Offers a reliable method for sealing products in heat-sensitive films that conform tightly to the shape of food items, preserving freshness and extending shelf life

    Steam tunnels are particularly beneficial for high-pressure packaging or flammable products, providing a safe and efficient option for sensitive applications.

    Benefits of Steam Heat Shrink Tunnels

    The primary advantage of using steam tunnels is their superior heat distribution. Unlike dry heat methods, the moisture from the steam can quickly penetrate and surround shrink films for a more efficient process. Steam also results in a more even application, maintaining quality and enhancing the visual appeal of products on shelves.

    Steam heat shrink tunnels offer precision and greater scalability, making them a valuable asset for any business labeling packaged goods. Such consistency is key to maintaining brand standards and consumer trust.

    Contact Electro-Steam for Steam Generators for Shrink Tunnels

    Steam shrink tunnels offer a robust solution for a breadth of packaging needs, combining safety, efficiency, and quality in one effective process.

    Whether you’re looking to enhance the visual appeal of your products or need a reliable system for high-pressure applications, steam shrink tunnels are designed to meet these demands. Their versatility and precision ensure optimal outcomes for every use, from simple packaging tasks to complex, sensitive operations.

    Explore how our steam generators can support your packaging operations by reaching out for a free demo on food processing or contact us for more information.

  4. How Does Steam Destroy Microorganisms?

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    How Does Steam Destroy Microorganisms?

    Steam cleaning is an ideal method for sterilizing surfaces. Sterilization involves increasing the temperature of the water until it becomes a gas (vapor), which raises the temperature of a given surface. The high temperatures quickly kill any microorganisms living on the surface.

    Various facilities rely on steam generation for sterilization, including hospitals and various other critical care facilities.. Electro-Steam offers a line of steam generators for sterilization in food production, food processing, and even winemaking and bottling. We have been a trusted manufacturer of steam generation equipment since 1952.

    How Steam Eliminates Microorganisms

    Steam sterilization uses thermal energy from steam to kill microorganisms. During the sterilization process, high-pressure saturated steam comes in contact with lower-temperature surfaces and releases heat from condensation. Microorganisms in a steam sterilizer are killed by exposure, leaving surfaces sterile for production.

    Steam sterilization works well for several reasons. Moist air is exponentially more effective at conveying heat energy than dry, hot air. For instance, cooking potatoes in a steam pressure cooker reduces cooking time from several hours to several minutes.

    Steam also softens the outer layers that protect microorganisms, coagulating the sensitive inner portions of the microbe in a process similar to cooking an egg white. However, greasy or oily environments can protect microorganisms from the effects of steam. Thoroughly cleaning the treatment area in advance is critical for proper sterilization.

    The following variables can be adjusted to ensure the lethality and overall effectiveness of steam:

    • The degree of heat exposure
    • The duration of exposure
    • The volume of moisture

    Assess the packaging material and surfaces that you intend to treat. Certain items will not maintain their integrity when exposed to steam. Additionally, moisture can damage sensitive products such as electronics and soft plastics.

    How Is Steam Sterilization Performed?

    Autoclaves (pressurized vessels) are the most popular moist heat sterilization devices. Autoclaves use pure moist heat to generate clean steam by removing air from the chamber and replacing it with pure, saturated steam.

    The full steam sterilization process occurs in three basic steps:

    • Preconditioning the chamber and load. Air is removed from the chamber and replaced by saturated steam.
    • Running the sterilization cycle. Chamber pressure increases, raising the water’s boiling point to 121 C. Steam heats the chamber walls as it accumulates, raising the temperature of the solution and destroying microbial proteins.
    • Removing steam from the chamber. Once steam has been removed, pressure is normalized.

    Applications of Steam Sterilization

    Moist heat steam sterilization (such as autoclaving) is preferred for sterilizing utensils, instruments, wrapped goods, and hollow items in medical settings. Other applications that depend on moist heat steam sterilization include:

    Contact Electro-Steam Generators for Steam Generators

    Electro-Steam is an OEM manufacturer of steam-generating equipment for a range of applications. Our quality, efficiency, and warranty make Electro-Steam products suitable for pharmaceutical applications, medical settings, food processing and packaging, and more.

    Contact us or request a quote to speak with a team member about your steam generation needs today.

  5. Clean Steam System Design Fundamentals

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    Clean Steam System Design Fundamentals

    Clean steam is saturated steam made from purified water that is used to sanitize equipment in cleanrooms, pharmaceutical manufacturing and processing facilities, and medical settings. It allows for non-contact cleaning of equipment, including corners and tight or enclosed spaces.

    In addition to generating clean steam, the system must be designed to prevent internal corrosion both within the steam system and in the equipment being sanitized. Microbes and other contaminants also need to be prevented from entering the steam system and reaching equipment or products. Controlling contaminants prevents products from becoming tainted and increases the service life of equipment.

    Here, we’ll look at how preventing contamination in a clean steam generation system keeps equipment sterile and maintains product quality and purity.

    How a Clean Steam Generator Works to Prevent Corrosion

    Avoiding corrosion is essential to the upkeep and operation of clean steam generation and processing equipment. Keeping particles of rust and other corrosion by-products out of equipment and manufactured products is critical to product quality and safety as well.

    Standard utility steam used for industrial processes that don’t require sterile steam is generated with water heated in a boiler. The components in the system can be made with various metals, most of which can rust. As a result, the water is generally treated with anti-corrosion chemicals to prevent rust and other forms of corrosion in the steam generator system and in the equipment it feeds.

    Unlike the water used for utility steam, there are no corrosion inhibitors in clean steam feedwater. In most cases, potable purified water or water filtered by reverse osmosis (RO) is used to create clean steam. For this reason, it is important to use materials that resist corrosion such as 316L stainless steel, titanium, and PTFE or EPDM polymer materials.

    Even when 316L stainless steel is used, rouging corrosion can occur, in which the steel’s surface becomes covered with a red-brown film. While not problematic itself, this film can develop a powdery coating, which can detach and contaminate the steam. Periodic derouging removes the build-up.

    Preventing Entry of Contaminants

    Clean steam must always be free of contaminants at the point of use. These can include chemicals, rust or other particles from the corrosion process, bacteria, molds, and dirt or debris. Care must be taken to avoid common causes of contamination, including:

    • Leaks in steam traps, hoses, or feedwater tanks
    • Outside air that gets pulled into the system
    • Standing condensation that permits bacterial growth
    • Corrosion in tanks, heat exchangers, or other equipment
    • Bacteria that grow through RO membranes and other surfaces can get into the system over time

    Preventing Microbial Growth

    Steam can kill bacteria and spores at typical operating pressures, and therefore components of a clean steam generation system that experience continuous exposure to steam will remain free from these contaminants. However, if condensate collects in the system and cools, the standing water can create an environment that permits bacterial growth.

    Byproducts from the destruction and breakdown of bacteria, including endotoxins, remain in the system and cannot be destroyed by the steam. Endotoxins are often lipopolysaccharides from the cell walls of Gram-negative bacteria or pyrogens. They are a major concern in the manufacture and processing of injectable pharmaceutical products.

    Standing condensation can be prevented by angling pipes and traps to collect any water that collects. Traps, piping, and tubing should also be checked for leaks or damage regularly.

    Contact Electro-Steam for Clean Steam Generators

    At Electro-Steam, we provide high-quality, electric-fired clean steam systems for pharmaceutical, medical, and cleanroom use. Our offerings include steam generators and steam sanitization systems and accessories for industrial process steam and food processing applications. Our experienced and knowledgeable team can also design a customized system to meet your requirements.

    Contact us to learn more about how clean steam generators work or to request a quote for your application.