Pathogenic bacteria can survive on stainless steel at room temperature for prolonged periods of time, meaning that a failure to properly sanitize surfaces in food and beverage applications can lead to harmful cross-contamination. Contaminated food products or packaging can lead to a wide range of health and safety concerns for both consumers and production workers. These risks can be largely mitigated with the implementation of regular sanitation protocols, typically using either conventional cleaning or steam cleaning.

Conventional cleaning methods rely on water in combination with strong chemicals to kill pathogens. These cleaning agents must be allowed enough time at a proper temperature in order to effectively sanitize surfaces, which can cause delays in production. Care must also be taken to avoid contaminating surfaces with the chemicals themselves, which are typically oxidizers that are toxic to humans. These chemicals may include:

  • Hypochlorites
  • Chlorine dioxide
  • Iodophors
  • Peroxyacetic acid
  • Quaternary ammonium compounds

Steam cleaning, on the other hand, offers a preferable alternative to conventional cleaning options. “Dry” steam cleaning mitigates many of the drawbacks of conventional cleaning while still providing effective sanitation. This method involves spraying surfaces with superheated jets of water which evaporate instantaneously. These bursts of dry steam kill even resistant microorganisms while producing minimal wastewater or residue.

Conventional Cleaning

Conventional wet cleaning methods have been in place for a long time because they offer some benefits and ultimately get the job done. However, these methods also have some notable concerns for food and beverage operations. The traits of conventional cleaning methods include:

  • Affordable

Steam cleaning requires costs for machinery, which can be a hurdle for facilities looking to incorporate it into their routines. More conventional cleaning methods simply require cheap, easy to find chemicals and cleaning tools.

  • Proven

Beyond cost, conventional cleaning methods are still effective against many pathogens and contaminants—even more so when used in combination with other techniques. However, conventional cleaning may not be fully effective against all hazardous materials. For instance, many pathogens have evolved biofilms which protect them from chemical penetration.

  • Limited

Traditional methods inconsistently agitate surfaces, making it more difficult and time-consuming to remove stubborn contaminants. In addition, the cleaning agents themselves may be hazardous. Conventional cleaning methods increase the risk of chemical cross-contamination, which can be harmful to workers and consumers.

Steam Cleaning

As a newer, more innovative method of cleaning and sterilization, dry steam cleaning was developed with the shortcomings of more traditional cleaning methods in mind. The benefits of dry steam cleaning include:

Eagle Series Dry Steam Cleaners
  • Effective

Steam cleaning mechanically agitates the surface being cleaned, which increases its ability to dislodge substances and bacteria that are otherwise difficult to remove. What’s more, the process involves extremely high temperatures that can penetrate the protective biofilms of microorganisms, killing pathogens that are resistant to cleaning chemicals and breaking their bond with the surface.

  • Environmentally friendly

The dry steam cleaning technique minimizes the environmental impact of sanitization. Compared to conventional cleaning, steam cleaning requires extremely minimal water consumption, introduces zero chemicals into the production line, and produces next to no harmful wastewater to process. This makes the practice especially attractive to companies that want to highlight their commitment to sustainable practices.

  • Safety

Reducing water use lowers the chance of water damage when sanitization occurs around electrical components or sensitive machinery. It also reduces the risk of fall injuries and contamination from water borne bacteria.

  • Speed

Without chemicals that need to rest on the surface to kill bacteria and other pathogens, dry steam cleaning offers a much faster solution that results in significantly less downtime due to cleaning. This also facilitates more efficient use of laborers.

Although a highly safe and efficient option, steam cleaning is not without its limitations. Because of the equipment involved, steam cleaning necessarily introduces a requirement for additional maintenance and a larger initial investment.

Making the Decision

For more information about steam cleaning and how it compares to conventional methods in terms of environmental, cost, and safety benefits, you can refer to our eBook, “8 Reasons to Use Dry Steam Vapor for Food Safety & Sanitation.” Produced by the industry experts at Electro-Steam, this critical resource outlines the reasons that steam cleaning should be a part of your sanitation routine.

If you’re already sold on the benefits and want more information about proven, reliable steam cleaning equipment, get in touch with us today. 

One of the major goals of food processors is the constant improvement of equipment hygiene to reduce the risk of potential product contamination. This means examining ways to control bacteria, spillage, dust and other potential contamination while maintaining a busy production schedule. A challenging problem considering that cleaning conveyor belts, both modular and flat solid types, can be labor-intensive task and in some cases uses many gallons of chemicals and alarming amounts of water.

A sanitized conveyor system helps food processors reach their number one goal, allowing the manufacturer to streamline production efficiencies. Let’s look at some of the ways to keep conveyor systems sanitized and contamination-free.

Best Conveyor Cleaning Methods for Efficiency and Safety

Several methods exist to help food processors maintain a properly cleaned conveyor belt system. Some of these include:

Use of Hand Cleaning

The majority of flat solid conveyor belts are hand washed by cleaning crews using strong chemicals. This process requires extended down times, intensive labor and is often highly wasteful. Workers and food products are put at risk from improper cleaning and handling chemicals. With proper training, plenty of time and the right chemicals, this method can be a suitable solution for some food processors. Ultimately hand cleaning lacks the consistency and reliability that an automated food processing production line needs to scale.

Use of Brushless Cleaners

One solution to avoid this is to leverage a brushless conveyor belt cleaner. These products can be mounted directly onto conveyor belts to clean and sanitize them with minimal downtime. The process utilizes dry steam vapor to break the bond between soil and surface on the conveyor belt, suspending the soil in dry vapor before it is vacuumed away from the conveyor surface. No chemicals are used and the water consumption is extremely low, being collected in a vacuum suitable for steam collection.

These systems can be attached to belts quickly and then easily removed after cleaning. The steam generator and vacuum are mounted on casters, enabling the setup to rotate between cleaning locations or even between facilities. Brushless cleaners leave conveyor belts clean, dry and potentially sanitized (ATP 0). From there, you are ready for your validation step and your next production run.

Choosing the Right Cleaning Belt Solution

The style and material of the belt — in addition to the thickness of the surface, the installation, and the load requirements — should all play a role in the purchasing decision for your specific use case.

Because sanitation is paramount to controlling harmful pathogens and bacteria, it’s also critical to select a conveyor cleaning system that meets to an acceptable validated standard of pathogenic bacteria – including listeria monocytogenes, e-coli, and salmonella. Such pathogens can quickly multiply and are difficult to detect, and even harder to clean.

The Eagle Series Automatic Brushless Belt Cleaner simplifies the process by utilizing an attachment that easily installs and removes within one minute, all with no moving parts on the cleaning head. 100% coverage of the belt removes the risk of human error in the cleaning and sanitizing process!

Studies show that heat is one of the most effective ways to sanitize equipment and manage bacteria. Food processing and production facilities are top candidates for using dry steam vapor cleaners as part of the sanitation process.

Conveyor Belt Cleaning Solutions from Electro-Steam

Since 1952, Electro-Steam has manufactured high-quality, reliable, and efficient steam generators for use in commercial and industrial food service. Our steam cleaning units can degrease and sanitize virtually any equipment in food processing facilities, including those in the baking, beverage, and packing industries, and come with custom tools designed and built for your unique requirements.

For more information about our steam cleaning products and how they can benefit your food service, food processing, or food production application, please contact us.

Facilities that deal with allergen-containing foods and substances must pay especially strict attention to maintaining clean facilities. Leaving even a small amount of allergens in food products can result in customer sickness or even death, so it’s essential to take every opportunity to ward against allergen buildup in your facility.

The FDA enacted the Food Allergen Labeling Consumer Protection Act of 2004, (FALCPA), in an effort to identify known food allergens and reduce food borne illnesses. The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was later enacted to prevent food borne illnesses rather than just react to them.  Food processors began refining and improving their Food Allergen Control Programs. In this guide, we discuss some of the best ways to implement these practices in your facility.

The Four S’s for Controlling Food Allergens in Food Processing Equipment

Effective allergen removal strategies rely on the four S’s:

  • Separation
  • Segregation
  • Scheduling
  • Sanitation

Separation

Many facilities separate contaminated areas from clean zones. This technique is even more important to the allergen-control process than it is to manufacturing products, as it allows workers to employ rigorous cleaning procedures without risking the spread of allergens to other areas.

Sectioning off your facility especially helps when your processes carry the risk of splattering or projecting substances across far distances. Partitions within your facility can catch such residue and channel it to appropriate receptacles for safe disposal.

Segregation

Food processors must segregate ingredients from each other to reduce the risk of cross-contamination. This means that they carry out as many processes as possible on allergen-containing and “safe” ingredients in separate areas of the facility.

Some food processing plants employ physical barriers to help mitigate the problems associated with the airborne spread or spilling of allergens. This practice is especially prevalent in receiving areas, and many facilities elect to load and unload allergen-containing foods in separate areas from allergen-free materials. Other facilities have employees mark pallets of allergen-containing foods with indicators to keep everyone on the same page.

Scheduling

Many food processing plants adjust their schedules to accommodate working with allergen-containing and allergen-free foods and processes. For example, scheduling all your processes that involve allergen-containing products for a specific period of the day or week means that you can clean the relevant equipment to an acceptable standard before switching to another type of food. This enables you to dedicate more production time to both allergen-containing and allergen-free processes and spend less time cleaning in the long run.

Sanitation

The thread holding all these other techniques together is, of course, sanitation. Investing in the latest sanitation equipment and procedures will ensure that your facility maintains its health and safety ratings and provides high-quality products to customers. There are a few handy tricks for implementing good sanitation practices.

Traditionally, facilities employed a mix of chemical and water processes to clean equipment. However, chemical sanitation methods don’t always adequately sanitize food, as microorganisms have developed survival mechanisms to tolerate various stresses during food processing, and chemicals used for pathogen control don’t often have the same effects against allergens (and vice versa).

Furthermore, cleaning to remove potentially harmful allergens during product “change-overs” can be problematic when introducing water and chemicals into the production areas and preparing the equipment to a validated standard in a timely manner. Water left on the floors and aisleways can pose significant safety hazards.

This is why more manufacturers in the food industry are turning to dry steam cleaning. When paired with other sanitation techniques, steam is highly effective at cleaning allergen residues and harmful pathogens on surfaces and equipment, thereby helping clean surfaces to acceptable levels.

Allergen Control Points in the Manufacturing Process

Pay close attention to the areas in your facility that pose the highest risk of accumulating or spreading allergens. Some of the most common control points include:

  • Ingredient storage: Products containing allergens must be isolated from allergen-free products in your facility 
  • Production scheduling: Production schedules should be formatted to isolate products that contain allergens
  • Food contact surfaces:Surfaces contaminated with allergens must be effectively cleaned to validated standards
  • Non–food contact surfaces: Even surfaces that don’t regularly come into contact with allergens must be safeguarded against employee contact and airborne particles
  • Sampling and testing: Many facilities use test kits to detect the presence of allergens in food products and on surfaces and equipment
  • Appropriately labeled packaging: It’s essential to clearly label allergen-containing foods to prevent customer food borne illness and death

Efficient Allergen Removal with Electro-Steam

Electro-Steam manufacturers highly efficient electric-fired miniature boilers and steam cleaners that have kept facilities around the world free of contaminants since 1952. We build each of our generators to ASME code and offer custom solutions for a wide range of industry challenges.

If you would like to learn more about how to best incorporate our systems to your facility, contact us today. 

Many companies and facilities around the world use industrial electric steam generators for a variety of processes and applications. Practical uses for small and safe point-of-use steam equipment are nearly endless.

Some of these include food processing plants where they are used to clean and sanitize conveyor belts and other equipment. Some are used in pharmaceutical companies for humidifying clean rooms. Others are used in hospitals and surgery centers for providing steam for autoclaves, sterilizers and bio reactors.

Even more, some are used in the beverage industry for sanitizing bottling lines, cleaning barrels and kegs in wineries and breweries.

Industrial steam generators are also used by fabricators and finishing companies for pre-cleaning and iron-phosphating metal for smoother surfaces before paint or other coatings are applied. Our generators are the ideal solution for these and many more applications as they provide point-of-use, on-demand steam easily and effectively.

ASME Requirements for Boilers and Steam Generators

Safety is always a primary concern when using pressurized steam generation systems – for the owners, their employees and operators of the equipment.  So, it is important that critical components used in building pressure vessels and boilers comply with applicable ASME Codes as outlined in ASME Code Section I. 

Share this Image On Your Site

Steam generation systems usually contain  pumps, valves, assorted plumbing and other components used in their construction and installation.  As part of the overall system these components can create, and must withstand, both high temperatures and pressures. Safety guidelines have been established for construction, installation and use of such systems. It is vitally important that they be followed. 

Pressure vessels and boilers used in North America must comply with certain state and local regulations.  Below is a compilation of such requirements- use this as a checklist to help guide your decision before purchasing a steam generator/boiler.  Is your prospective equipment:

  • ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code Section I compliant
  • Registered with the National Board
  • Piping system compliance with ASME B31.1
  • Supplied with Manufacturer’s Data Report (P2-A or P2-B)
  • Manufacturer’s Report for ASME CSD-1 made available for each piece of equipment

Section I of the ASME Boiler & Pressure Vessel Code governs the design, fabrication, and inspection of pressure vessels, and boilers. As advancements in material and design, as well as improvements in technology are constantly being made, We invest heavily to ensure that our equipment stays complaint as changes in the code arise.

How to Purchase Safe & Compliant Steam Generators

Ensure your boiler or steam generator complies with the ASME Boiler & Pressure Vessel Code. Electro-Steam’s equipment meets all applicable ASME requirements, and each pressure vessel is registered with the National Board. Each boiler/steam generator purchased from ElectroSteam is supplied with a copy of the Manufacturer’s Data Report, as well as a copy of the CSD-1 upon request. All piping systems comply with ASME B31.1 as required by ASME and an increasing number of state and local regulations.

Electro-steam’s products provide safe, efficient methods for cleaning a variety of surfaces and supplying heat and steam for various process equipment over many industries. We know that understanding ASME Code compliance can be difficult.

By drawing on our more than 65 years’ worth of experience in the steam equipment business – we are here to help.  If you’re in the market for a safe, reliable and compliant steam generator or boiler from a trustworthy and established industry leader,  please contact us today.

Contact our team

Dear Valued Customer,

Since early 2018, ElectroSteam has and continues to experience inflationary conditions on sourced parts and materials as a direct result of tariffs levied in the US – China trade war.  The latest tariff was announced by US administration last September. This was the third 10% tariff levied on imports from China. 

As always ElectroSteam will continuously take measures to reduce expenses and mitigate the effects of increased costs of parts and materials.  As such we are currently evaluating our supply chain end-to-end to find alternative sourcing options and to assess any opportunity to lessen the impact of these tariffs.

What this means for 2019:

ElectroSteam will continue to provide the highest quality steam equipment and develop unique products to meet our customer’s ever shifting needs.  To facilitate the continuance of developing new equipment, maintaining quality assurance and to offset increased costs of parts and raw materials we are unfortunately forced to raise our prices.  Effective January 15, 2019 our customers will see a price increase of an average range from 3% to 5% based on the parts and materials used to build each particular unit.  

Any quotations issued at 2018 prices will be honored if orders are placed before the quote’s expiration date.  Any quotations issued after the 1st of January will contain 2019 pricing.

Thank you for your business, loyalty and understanding!

We are looking forward to serving you in 2019.   

Happy New Year and Best Regards,

Brad Weigle
General Manager, ElectroSteam Generator Corporation.