Sanitary Design Connections - Summer 2018

Sanitary Design Connections - Summer 2018

Juan Paulo Hidalgo Ríos, Project Manager, Utilities & Processing, Danone Engineering Worldwide (DEW)

Jun 2018


In this brief article, the main challenges are described for the integration of processing and packaging equipment within the dairy industry. For these types of projects the exact boundaries are usually not very clear whilst exhaustive details are required to achieve the expected results.


In general we refer to processing for all the unitary operations from milk reception (fresh or condensed), up to the filling equipment. This includes batching, powdering, pasteurization, homogenization, fermentation and the mixing of ingredients.

The boundary between processing and filling is with the storage tanks of the processed product. At thisstage there are no further heating, cooling and/or texturing steps affecting the product.

Packaging is an area that involves a series of activities, starting from filling.

We can identify several types of filling equipment like preformed cup, thermoformed cup, injection blow molding, paper, can, etc. Depending of the type of product and ingredients, there might be a requirement for additional blending (static of dynamic).

After filling, several ‘end of line’ operations might be required, first the activities that will customize the product to be sold to the consumers as late differentiation, grouping, overwrapping; and second the activities that will prepare the product to go through supply chain as identification, coding and cooling for fresh products.


Objective of Integration is to enable Engineering, Technical, and Quality teams to comply with sanitary food industry standards as 3A Standards and also regulatory requirements through definition of a set of guidelines for the execution of sanitary equipment design.

Integrating processing and packaging requires that all process is well specified in terms on design and technical expectations. Global and local standards play an important role and need to be considered in every single equipment purchased in our factories.

Specifying every step between processing and packaging requires having clear standards that are consistent and robust, this is the case of 3A Standards.

These standards support all the sanitary design concepts that might be required to develop the specifications.

There are a lot of inputs that need to be well defined in order to succeed on the implementation phase of an Hygienic Installation:

A. Design of components
B. Finishing of Stainless Steel surfaces
C. Quality and origin of rubber gaskets.
D. Welding Practices
E. Machinery Installation: Feet

A. Design of Components
Components shall be design in a way that can be cleaned by manual of mechanical means without difficulties. Easy to inspect and maintain. Situations were death ends are not properly cleaned lead to an important source of contamination. Avoiding crevices and hollow areas that are not hermetically sealed is a must.

This requires a clear differentiation between product and non-product contact surfaces of the equipment.

B. Finishing of Stainless Steel surfaces
It is important to understand the product specifications in order to select the proper finishing of the surface that will be or not in contact with the product. We need to ensure that surface is cleanable, compatible with products and chemicals to be used and coherent with the environment where the equipment is going to be installed.

Surfaces require certain level of roughness, 32 μin. Ra (0.8 μm Ra) finish, and shall be free of areas where contamination could be created, this is why on 3A standards general requirements all these elements are clearly defined and could be used as reference for the suppliers.

C. Quality and origin of rubber gaskets
Rubber gaskets shall not represent at decision on cost or logistics, but on specifications. Temperature, Pressure, surfaces in contact with gaskets, dimensions and tolerances,

Defining the right properties and selecting the proper supplier is key on the performance evaluation of the rubber materials. A wrong selection on the material could lead easily to product contamination, mixing agents and toxic elements could be enough not inclusive, high temperature resistant is also important and this is one of the reasons why early wearing of gaskets it is a problem.

D. Welding practices
This process could be looked in two different ways, the method and the preparation.

For the method it is evident that well purged welds with proper gas mixture will lead to precise welding, however it is critical at the same level the selection of the material to be welded and the sizing selection of the elements:

Finally implementing welding inspection will provide the level of confidence of the work performed.

E. Machinery Installation: Feet
Most of the dairy factories that implement practices to ensure a food safety design concept care about their piping, processing components, electrical cabinets, drains, tanks and all stainless steel equipment around the factory. However there are still several areas that are not known or that are forgotten, for example the selection of the Machine level supports, where in most of the cases, exposed threads and low quality material are present and this is leading to bacteria growth.

These are just a few examples of the importance of supporting an equipment specification with the proper standards reference, 3-A Sanitary Standards.

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