Comments Off on The Importance of Cleaning Before Disinfecting
Disinfecting surfaces to kill traces of microbes and disease is a critical concern right now. A common misconception is that simply disinfecting a surface is enough to sanitize it. This is not the case, cleaning and disinfecting are both important parts of a thorough sanitizing process.
Why do both?
Surfaces must be properly cleaned prior to disinfecting. Removing traces of dirt, debris, and dust primes surfaces and equipment for disinfection. Soils can harbor germs and bacteria. Disinfection becomes less effective if surface soils are present.
What happens if I disinfect without cleaning?
If a surface is disinfected before it is cleaned, the remaining soils can still contribute to the growth of harmful microbes and lead to further contamination. The residual soils may also serve as a barrier, preventing the disinfectant from reaching the surface and doing its job. Lingering soils on the surface may affect the active chemicals in a disinfectant, impacting their efficiency. If the surface is thoroughly cleaned first, and validated for cleanliness, the disinfection step becomes much more effective.
What are the steps for proper cleaning and disinfecting?
3 Things to Consider When Selecting the Right Detergent for Your Ultrasonic Cleaner
1. What are the Soils?
Understanding which soils you need to remove will guide you in choosing the right detergent. Micro-90® is an alkaline cleaner that is designed to work well on a broad spectrum of soils. It is extremely effective for removing oil, grease, wax, tar, flux, particulates, and biological debris.
Most commercial critical cleaners are effective in removing dirt, but many are also corrosive, harmful if inhaled, and environmentally hazardous. Safer cleaning detergents will be free of phosphates, solvents, silicates, phenols, and substances of very high concern.
View this video to see the effectiveness of Micro-90 in ultrasonic cleaning.
Using Micro-90 in Ultrasonic Cleaning
Micro-90 is a multipurpose, alkaline concentrate that provides superior performance in ultrasonic cleaning. The ingredients in Micro-90 penetrate tough oils and greasy films, allowing the soil to become suspended in the solution without the risk of redepositing. These properties make Micro-90 just as effective as corrosive cleaners without the health or environmental risks. Micro-90 does not contain solvents, phosphates, or heavy metals. In fact, Micro-90 removes hard metals in water that would otherwise detract from the detergency of the solution.
The ingredients in Micro-90 were chosen for easy validation in an FDA process. Reports can be provided upon request. It is also NSF registered as a USDA-A1 Cleaner. Micro-90 can be used in concentrations as low as 0.5% up to 5%, and concentration can be easily determined by conductivity. Micro-90 has a high cloud point, making it easy to see when parts are clean. When properly rinsed, Micro-90 leaves no residue.
Comments Off on The ABC’s of Cleaning Validation: A Simple Primer
What is Cleaning Validation?
Cleaning validation is used to ensure that a cleaning procedure removes all trace soils, cutting fluids, fingerprints, particulates and cleaning agents from surfaces in regulated processes. Any residue must be removed to a predetermined level of cleanliness. Cleaning validation processes protect against the cross-contamination of ingredients from one batch to another, ensure that surfaces or devices are free of residue prior to any further sterilization process, and assist in ensuring product quality.
Cleaning validation is required for use in industries following Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) as outlined by the US FDA. Manufacturers in the pharmaceutical, medical device and food and beverage industries all use cleaning validation methods to ensure that their equipment is free of waste and that subsequent products manufactured on that equipment are not jeopardized by any remaining soils or soap residue.
FDA guidelines for cleaning validation require specific written procedures detailing how cleaning processes will be validated. These should include:
Who is responsible for performing and approving the validation
When revalidation is required
Analytical methods to be used
Documentation of the studies and results
A final conclusive report stating that all residues have been removed to the predetermined level
If any part of the cleaning process is changed, the cleaning validation process must also be updated.
Cleaning Validation Methods
Various analytical methods can be used to detect cleaner residues on equipment. Each method is unique to the specific cleaner used. Cleaner manufacturers should be able to provide detailed validation methods for their products.
Regulated industries rely, in most cases, on quantitative validation methods. Quantitative validation methods provide measurable and exact results, whereas qualitative validation methods involve more subjective methods, such as visual observations.
HPLC (High Performance Liquid Chromatography)
HPLC stands for high performance liquid chromatography. HPLC validation methods can pinpoint exact ingredients. This validation method uses pressure to force a solution through columns to separate, identify and quantify each of its components.
The columns are filled with a solid adsorbent substance. As the solution is forced through the column, each of its components reacts differently to this substance. This results in varying flow rates for each component in the solution. The sample solution is separated into its individual elements by the rate at which they flow out of the column.
Once the individual components of the sample solution are separated, various types of detectors can be used for identification. Some common detectors include:
CAD – charged aerosol detector
DAD – diode array detector
MS – mass spectrometry
HPLC validation methods separate liquids into their individual components. This information is then used to determine the level of residue of an individual component so that predetermined acceptable levels of cleanliness are met. HPLC is the most common type of quantitative cleaning validation method currently used.
TOC (Total Organic Carbon)
TOC stands for total organic compound. TOC validation methods detect carbon content in a tested sample. The results are not ingredient specific. The amount of carbon in the sample can come from any one of a number of varying sources including contamination, a dirty tank, testing equipment, ingredient residue or cleaner residue. The objective is that the overall results of TOC testing meet the predetermined acceptable levels. Results that exceed the predetermined levels are not acceptable.
UV VIS stands for ultraviolet visible spectroscopy. This detection method relies upon the absorption of light to quantitate chemicals at specific wavelengths. Sometimes, a chemical agent is added to the rinse water sample to make key ingredients visible. Chemicals absorb light differently at different wavelengths.
Methylene blue, for example, is routinely used to react to sulfonate surfactants and detect detergent residue. The intensity of the color is an indication of how much sulfonate remains in the sample.
In the illustration above, the fluid at the top of the tubes shows the water in the solution. The fluid on the bottom indicates the amount of chloroform in the test sample. As the concentration of Micro-90 increases, more sulfonate is being pulled out of the top water level by methylene blue and the methylene blue-sulfonate complex enters the bottom chloroform layer resulting in an increasing blue intensity.
UV VIS is an older technology and is not as used as often as HPLC.
The Role Of The Cleaner Manufacturer
Cleaning validation is a critical part of the manufacturing process in regulated industries. Validation methods must be developed, planned and included in the production method. Since cleaning validation methods are unique to the cleaner used, it makes sense to expect the manufacturer to provide support. By relying on the cleaner manufacturer for detailed validation methods, manufacturers in regulated industries can focus their resources on manufacturing and product development, saving a great deal of time and money.
Comments Off on Save Time And Money With Preventative Maintenance
It’s summer! It’s time to relax and enjoy the warmer weather. Kids are out of school, daylight hours are long, families flock to beaches and it seems like just about everyone takes a vacation.
While summer means various things to different people, for many manufacturers summer means factory shutdowns, plant retooling and scheduled maintenance operations.
What is Preventative Maintenance?
We’ve all been there. Any of these scenarios ring a bell? A long road trip and your car won’t start. You’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner and your oven isn’t working. Or, it’s the worst heat wave of the summer and your air conditioning unit dies. Regardless of the scenario, we can all agree that malfunctioning equipment is extremely aggravating. If only there were a way to prevent these things from happening!
While we can’t prevent all unplanned breakdowns, there are actions we can take to minimize their occurrence. That’s where preventative maintenance steps in. Preventative maintenance refers to regularly scheduled maintenance operations designed to keep equipment functioning optimally throughout the year to help prevent unplanned breakdowns.
Similarly to taking your car to the shop for regular oil changes or servicing your air conditioning unit annually prior to the summer heat, manufacturing plants can take steps to regularly inspect and service their equipment to help prevent costly and untimely breakdowns.
Why Should You Perform Preventative Maintenance?
Simply put, preventative maintenance saves you time and money. Equipment breakdowns are costly and inconvenient. Depending on its function, one piece of malfunctioning equipment can bring an entire plant to a grinding halt leading to lost production and expensive repairs.
Isn’t taking a piece of equipment out of commission to perform preventative maintenance equally as time consuming and expensive? Absolutely not! Sure, maintenance tasks take time and cost money, but planning for them minimizes the bite.
Would you prefer to take your equipment out of commission during a slow period or on your busiest day of the year? Imagine the oven at your local pizzeria breaking down on Super Bowl Sunday. There’s no way to recoup those lost sales!
Parts and labor almost always cost less when it isn’t an emergency repair situation. Having spare parts shipped overnight is not cheap! And, finding service personnel who can drop everything and come right away isn’t always a reality.
Many manufacturing plants shut down for a short time during the summer for retooling in preparation for new production runs. Planning preventative maintenance to coincide with scheduled plant shut downs is a win-win.
7 Benefits of Preventative Maintenance
Increase equipment life
Improve functionality and reliability of equipment
Decrease unplanned breakdowns
Less costly repairs
More productive operations
Maintain product quality
Reduce risk of worker injury
The expression “the best offense is a good defense” perfectly sums up the principle of preventative maintenance. Advance planning keeps costs down and helps keep your equipment running smoothly and efficiently.
Setting Up A Preventative Maintenance Plan
Obviously, every manufacturing plant is unique and each one may have distinct maintenance needs. But, universal considerations that come into play when setting up a preventative maintenance plan include frequency, responsibility, identification of specific tasks and monitoring of the process.
How often should equipment be inspected and repaired? This will depend upon your industry and the type of equipment. Scheduled maintenance is often based upon time intervals, equipment usage, or specific trigger events.
Time triggers are based upon specific calendar intervals. Do you inspect and service the pumps in your plant every three months? Or, do you check the antifreeze in your vehicle prior to the onset of cold weather? Similar to your annual physical with your physician, time triggers are maintenance activities based upon the passage of specific periods of time.
Usage triggers are based upon how and when the equipment is used. Examples of usage triggers are changing the oil in your car every 5,000 – 10, 000 miles, or cleaning the processing lines and tanks in your manufacturing plant after each production run.
Event triggers are marked by equipment performance. In wastewater treatment facilities, filter membranes are often cleaned when their flux rate drops by 10 percent. Other examples of event triggers are sharpening a knife when it becomes dull or filling your car tires with air when the pressure drops below a specified level.
Who is responsible for performing scheduled maintenance services? Are the drivers and technicians that use the equipment expected to perform preventative maintenance activities? Or does your facility have a specified maintenance team that inspects and repairs equipment on a regular basis? It’s important for the entire team to know who to go to for regular upkeep of their equipment.
Identify specific maintenance tasks
What maintenance operations should be conducted on a regular basis? Not only will this vary based upon your equipment and your industry, but it may also differ from one plant to another. A checklist of each and every preventative maintenance task should be developed and followed. Common maintenance tasks may include inspecting and testing functionality, cleaning equipment and replacing parts.
All maintenance activities should be recorded and tracked. This helps in planning future maintenance schedules, estimating and keeping track of costs, and monitoring equipment safety and functionality. Most companies use software designed for this purpose, but manual records can also be used.
When things are running smoothly it’s easy to overlook common maintenance chores and rationalize that it’s not worth the time to regularly inspect and repair parts. But nothing could be further from the truth. Proper maintenance helps ensure that your equipment is working correctly and your facility is functioning efficiently. Investing the time and money to set up and follow a regular maintenance plan will provide long-term savings by keeping your business functioning smoothly and efficiently.
Need help getting started setting up a preventative maintenance plan for your facility? IPC’s temporary assembly lubricants and specialty cleaners are routinely used in preventative maintenance programs. Read more industry specific guidelines here:
Comments Off on How do I Choose the Best Detergent for My Cleaning Application?
It’s easy to see that you have a dirty surface that needs to be cleaned. Figuring out what type of cleaner to use can be tricky! Choosing the right product from the outset will make your cleaning task easier, quicker and more efficient. So, how do you know which detergent to use?
Dirt is Dirt, Right?
Absolutely not! All soils are different and need to be treated properly. A detergent that works well for cleaning grease and oil might not be the best choice for getting rid of soap scum or starchy soils. While some cleaners may work well for a broad spectrum of soils, others may be needed to target specific types of dirt.
Alkaline cleaners work well for organic soils like oils and grease, while acid based cleaners are more effective on inorganic soils such metals and salts. Knowing what type of soil you are dealing with is an important step to choosing the right detergent.
This helpful chart matches detergents to soils commonly found on parts and equipment in laboratories, pharmaceutical plants, food & beverage manufacturing sites, medical devices, filter membranes and manufacturing facilities.
What are You Cleaning?
Glass? Metal? Rubber? Electronic parts? Filter membranes? Understanding how different detergents affect different surfaces will certainly have an impact on your choice of cleaner. It’s important to be sure that the detergent you are using is compatible with the surface you are cleaning.
The manufacturer of the cleaner should be able to provide you with compatibility information for the product you are using.
How are You Cleaning?
The cleaning method you plan to use also plays a role in choosing a detergent. Some of the more common methods used in manufacturing and laboratory applications include:
• Ultrasonic cleaning
• CIP (clean-in place)
• Manual or hand wash
• Automatic washers
It’s important to choose a detergent that works well for your chosen cleaning method. For example, if you are using an automatic washer it’s wise to use a low foaming cleaner. Otherwise you may end up with a room full of foamy suds. While this is great fodder for TV sitcoms, it’s not so funny in real life.
Is Your Cleaner Safe?
There are many cleaners on the market that do a great job at removing dirt, but they contain solvents and other harmful ingredients. Look for cleaners that are both effective and safe. Many cleaners are biodegradable. Try to avoid products that contain phosphates, solvents, silicates, phenols, and substances of very high concern.
International Products Corporation’s (IPC) cleaners are safe for personnel, materials, equipment and the environment. Yet, they are powerful enough to remove the most difficult soils. This makes them excellent alternatives to hazardous solvents and chemicals frequently used for precision cleaning applications.
The Manufacturer Matters
When you select a product for your critical cleaning application you should be equally as concerned with the support provided by the manufacturer as you are with the product performance.The benefits of working with an experienced specialty cleaner manufacturer are that they can offer technical guidance and provide a variety of products to best meet your needs. Cleaner manufacturers should be able to assist their customers by providing validation methods, compatibility studies, toxicology reports, regulatory compliance, free product samples, and technical support.
There are so many variables that exist in choosing the right cleaning product. Remember to consider the soils, the surfaces, the cleaning method, the safety and the manufacturer. With careful thought and planning you can find a cleaner that meets all of your specifications. Choosing wisely makes a difference!
Download IPC’s ePaper for more information about choosing a cleaner and establishing the right cleaning parameters.
Comments Off on Get The Most Out Of Your Cleaner…Know When To Add More
5 Ways To Know When To Change Your Cleaning Solution
Choosing the best cleaner for your critical cleaning application takes time and careful consideration. With so many choices out there it can be difficult to figure out which cleaner is the best choice for your specific needs. Factors to consider:
• What is the surface being cleaned?
• What are the soils?
• What’s your cleaning method? Manual? CIP? Machine? Ultrasonic?
• What is the cleaning temperature?
• Do you need a validation method?
You’ve done your homework, run trials and have chosen the right cleaner for your cleaning application. Now it’s time to start to clean!
How much cleaner should I use?
Determining how much cleaner to use will vary based on the parameters of your unique cleaning application. International Products Corporation (IPC) recommends using a 1% – 2% concentration of their specialty cleaners for most applications. Pouring the water into the tank first, and then adding the detergent, helps to avoid excess foaming when preparing your cleaning solution. The chart below is helpful:
How do I know when it’s time to change the solution?
For many industrial and critical cleaning applications, it is extremely important to use a consistent cleaning process and keep the cleaning solution at a desired strength. Concentration control methods are procedures used to determine the concentration of a cleaning solution to ensure process consistency. When the concentration of the detergent drops, you know it’s time to change it.
IPC recommends five methods for testing the cleaning solution to determine the cleaner concentration:
1. Refractive index
3. Total alkalinity
4. Total acidity
5. Foam height
Refractive index is the “measure of the bending of a ray of light when passing from one medium into another.”¹ A refractometer is used to measure refraction. The refractive index is one way of measuring the amount of a substance in an aqueous solution. A higher refractive index indicates a higher amount of cleaner present in the solution. Conversely, a lower refractive index indicates a lower concentration of cleaner in the solution. If changes to the refractive index are found, it’s time to change your cleaning solution.
Conductivity “measures the ability of a given substance to conduct an electric current.”² Conductivity, measured in micro-siemens, can be used to determine the concentration of a cleaning solution. Cleaning solutions have a higher conductivity than water. So, a drop in the level of micro-siemens in your solution is an indication that it’s time to replace it.
This method is used for cleaners that are alkaline based (a pH above 7). Total alkalinity measures the ability of a cleaner to neutralize acid. It assesses the cleaning solution’s buffering capacity – its resistance to changes in pH caused by acid. Total alkalinity is tested by performing a titration, a technique where a solution of known concentration is used to determine the unknown concentration of another solution.
Alkaline builders bind hard water ions, so the surfactants can do their job. Without sufficient alkaline builders, the surfactants would come out of solution and become ineffective.
If the results show that the pH of your solution has decreased by one full pH unit, it’s a good indication that it’s time to change your cleaning solution.
This method is used for cleaners that are acid based (a pH below 7). Total acidity measures the ability of a cleaner to neutralize alkalinity. Similar to total alkalinity, total acidity is also tested by performing a titration. Changes in the pH of your cleaning solution occur once the soil load capacity of the cleaner has been saturated, indicating it’s time to change the solution.
Surfactants in cleaning solutions reduce surface tension, and, as a result, air may become entrapped. This leads to the formation of small bubbles or foam. If the cleaning solution is agitated, either by shaking vigorously by hand or in a blender, a layer of foam will form. The total volume can be measured in a graduated cylinder, and a foam level curve can be created by plotting the known concentration of the detergent versus the measured total volume. If the foam heights of various known concentrations of detergent are calculated, an equation can be created to determine the concentration of future cleaning solutions whose concentration level is unknown.
All of these methods for calculating the concentration of detergent in a cleaning solution can be converted into simple equations. The data obtained can be plotted on a graph and the slope of the line can be used to calculate the concentration of detergent in your cleaning solution. If you see that the amount of detergent has dropped, you know it’s time to change your cleaning solution.
Comments Off on 5 Ways to Keep Your Lab Equipment In Tip-Top Shape for 2018
It’s January, the start of a new year and a time when people traditionally promise to make positive changes. Maybe it’s a commitment to exercising or healthy eating, a vow to save money, or maybe even a pledge to stop smoking. Whatever your resolution might be, most of us are in agreement that this is an excellent time of year to start fresh and engage in new behaviors.
So why not also set a New Year’s resolution for your professional life. The flip of the calendar is an excellent time to establish a regular maintenance plan for your laboratory equipment.
Just like a car, laboratory equipment must be properly maintained and kept in good working order. Car ownership comes with responsibilities like changing the oil, topping off fluids, rotating tires and washing the vehicle. Performing these actions regularly helps keep your automobile running smoothly, avoiding breakdowns. While no one likes the inconvenience of taking their car in for service, it’s much better than having to call and wait for emergency roadside assistance.
Likewise, proper maintenance of lab apparatus helps to ensure that your equipment is working correctly and your lab is functioning efficiently. Analyzers, centrifuges and microscopes have to provide accurate readings, and pipettes, beakers, slides and flasks need to be kept clean. Failure to properly maintain lab equipment can have a direct impact on test results.
5 Steps for Maintaining Lab Equipment:
Inspect equipment on a regular basis. Examining equipment regularly helps discover any irregularities and ensures repairs are made on a timely basis, preventing damages from getting worse. Malfunctioning lab equipment should be repaired at once. 2. Repair/Refurbish
Refurbished equipment is completely disassembled and thoroughly cleaned. Some parts are polished and some may need lubrication. Faulty parts can be replaced. The reassembled apparatus frequently works just as well as a brand new piece of equipment. 3. Calibration
Keeping your equipment properly calibrated helps increase its accuracy to ensure that data is not corrupted. Inaccurate calibration can result in skewed data. 4. Clean, Clean, Clean
Regular cleaning is one of the easiest ways to keep your equipment functioning properly. Apparatus that is not thoroughly cleaned can yield inconsistent results. The exterior surfaces of all equipment should be wiped down on a daily basis, after each use. A complete cleaning should be performed at least once a week. Be sure to take these factors into consideration:
5. Maintain Safety Standards
A well-organized lab will run more efficiently. Supplies and chemicals should be clearly labeled and stored. Safety equipment, such as fire extinguishers, showers, first aid kits, and eye wash should be present and well maintained. Lab personnel should be sure to wear protective gear such as gloves, goggles, lab coats and masks. Chemicals should be disposed of properly as instructed on the SDS.
Properly maintained lab equipment is essential for accuracy and consistency of test results. Investing the time and money to set up and follow a regular maintenance plan will provide long-term savings by keeping your laboratory functioning smoothly and efficiently. This is one New Year’s resolution you’ll certainly want to keep!
When it comes time to choose a product for critical cleaning applications most of us are concerned with performance. We want a powerful cleaner that will remove all soils and get the job done. But, have you ever stopped to wonder about the environmental effects of that product?
What if you found a powerful, effective cleaner that was also environmentally friendly and safe for all personnel? What if the cleaner was actually biodegradable? Do these products exist? Can you find a safe precision cleaner that delivers the exceptional performance you’re seeking?
IPC’s cleaners are safe for personnel, materials and equipment, and the environment. Yet, they are powerful enough to remove the most difficult soils. This makes them excellent alternatives to hazardous solvents and chemicals frequently used for precision cleaning applications.
Micro® Green Clean is an industrial-strength, free-rinsing, multi-purpose hard surface cleaner designed for use in a wide range of cleaning applications. Target soils include grease, oil and biological debris. It is excellent for cleaning metals, ceramics, medical instruments, food-processing equipment, filter membranes, and other surfaces.
Micro® A07 is a powerful blend of chelating citric acid and anionic surfactants designed to remove salts, soap scum, metal oxides, hard water scale, grease, rust, milkstone, mineral deposits and inorganic material from filter membranes, labware, and industrial equipment.
Zymit® Pro is a neutral-pH cleaner formulated with a unique blend of protease enzymes, surfactants, and builders that work together to remove tough protein-based soils. The enzymes dissolve the soils, and the detergents help lift and wash them away. Target soils include food, gelatin, and biological materials such as blood, fat, and tissue. Zymit® Pro is effective for cleaning filter membranes, metals, ceramics, plastics, medical instruments and devices, food processing equipment, and other surfaces.
When cleanliness counts, you can count on IPC’s full line of specialty cleaners. IPC’s mild, yet powerful precision cleaners destroy dirt and help keep workers and the environment safe. Registered with the NSF as USDA A1 cleaners, IPC’s precision cleaners are effective for cleaning a broad spectrum of soils from all types of surfaces and have helped companies in the most highly regulated industries solve their cleaning challenges.
What’s in your plant? Replace traditionally used corrosives, phosphates, solvents, petroleum distillates, and other hazardous chemicals with safe yet powerful precision cleaners. Learn more here or contact IPC’s technical team for help with choosing the right solution for your cleaning application.
Comments Off on Destroy Dirt…See How Micro-90® Makes Dirt Disappear
Removing stubborn soils can be challenging. Oil, grease, gels, wax, dyes, flux, emulsifiers and biological debris are just some of the soils that are difficult to get rid of. It can be a daunting task to find a cleaner powerful enough to remove these soils, and is also non-hazardous and environmentally friendly.
Enter Micro-90® Micro-90 is a mild, yet powerful, multi-purpose, formulated cleaner that is effective in both industrial and critical cleaning applications. This unique detergent contains chelants and anionic and nonionic ingredients which combine to produce a variety of cleaning actions. Micro-90 lifts, disperses, emulsifies, sequesters, suspends, and decomposes soils. Once rinsed away, surfaces are thoroughly clean without any residue.
Micro-90 is designed for a wide range of applications. It can be used to remove oil, grease, resin, tar, wax, biological material, insoluble oxides, gels, dyes, fine particles, flux, emulsifiers and many other soils. Micro-90 is excellent at cleaning metal, glass, ceramic, rubber, plastic, gemstones, filter membranes and most other hard surfaces.
In the video you can watch as Micro-90 removes heavy soil build-up from ceramic tiles and metal surfaces. Soils shown in this example include simulated bathroom grease and oil, baked on kitchen grease and mineral-based soils. A 2% concentration of Micro-90 in water is all that is needed to remove dirt and restore cleanliness to surfaces. You can actually watch dirt lifting off the objects and when finished, they look just like new!
7 Reasons You Should Use Micro-90 Concentrated Cleaning Solution:
Comments Off on Special P-80 Formulas…Perfect For Pumps In The Food Industry
Pumps and seals perform vital functions in food and beverage processing plants. Using the right assembly lubricant for pump maintenance makes all the difference.
Manufacturing facilities strive to keep operations running smoothly and effectively at all times. This is true for all types of plants, whether they manufacture industrial products or foods and beverages. While many factors contribute to achieving this goal, one simple way to help reach this objective is to perform regular equipment maintenance. Most plants use a variety of different types of pumps. Maintaining and replacing pump seals on a regular basis helps to ensure that systems continue to function efficiently.
Replacing standard pump components, such as seals, O-rings, and other rubber parts, can often lead to frustration because the slip resistant nature of rubber makes it difficult to install, cut, remove or manipulate. Parts may roll or tear. Repair and installation can take considerable physical effort and time. In addition, improper part alignment or installation can lead to part failure and safety issues.
Pumps play an extremely important role in food and beverage manufacturing. They are used for fermentation, separation, evaporation, homogenization, filtration, processing and dosing. Mechanical seals are frequently used to help ensure that no contaminants enter the processing system.
Mechanical seals help to minimize leaks, avoid flow irregularities and maintain product integrity. They can help prevent the transfer of ingredients from one product to the next, and prevent formation of deposits inside the pump that can develop into mold or bacteria, causing contamination.
Food processing plants have added concerns that must be considered. Food and beverage manufacturing is a highly regulated industry. Therefore, all parts and processes must comply with federal regulations and industry standards. Mechanical seals need to be made of food grade materials, and all lubricants used for seal maintenance must also be approved for incidental food contact applications.
Properly functioning pumps help plant managers in food and beverage manufacturing plants address the following concerns and challenges:
• Safe and hygienic processing
• Quality standards
• Product integrity
• Regulatory compliance
• Risks of contaminants entering the system
• Avoidance of trace ingredients and impurities during manufacturing
Just like in industrial settings, pumps used in the food industry should be well maintained to avoid costly repairs and minimize downtime. Maintenance procedures must meet strict FDA and USDA requirements.
Using the proper assembly lubricant can turn a difficult chore into an easy task. Many jobs can benefit from the reduced friction and increased safety provided by an assembly lubricant. They are the perfect solution for pump and seal repairs and have been used for years by plant managers to maintain equipment and replace parts such as mechanical seals, O-rings, hoses, grommets, and plugs.
Temporary rubber assembly lubricants can:
Reduce Installation Force: A thin film of lubricant allows rubber surfaces to slide across each other. By reducing the surface tension between two surfaces, lubricants help rubber parts slide easily into place. Once dry the lubrication is gone, resulting in a tight fitting assembly. Achieve Closer Fits: Engineers can design lower tolerance parts. The force needed to install the parts when a lubricant is used is greatly reduced. Since the lubrication is only temporary, once dry, the parts stay in place resulting in a tight fit. Improve Product Performance: Improper part alignment can lead to part failure and safety issues. Using a rubber assembly lubricant, which enables the parts to slide easily into place, can solve these problems by reducing or eliminating damage to parts. Increase Production Rates: Applying an assembly lubricant to the rubber part makes the rubber slippery, so parts can easily slide into place. After the lubricant dries, the lubricity goes away and mated parts maintain a tight fit. The assembly process becomes more productive. Help to Avoid Worker Injuries: Lubricants reduce the insertion force needed for rubber assembly. Workers can more easily push parts into place, reducing the amount of musculoskeletal, slippage, and repetitive stress related injuries that can be caused by using too much force to insert a rubber part.
There are many types of lubricants available, so how does a plant manager choose the right one for the job? It’s important to consider the performance and safety of each to make the right choice.
Types of lubricants:
Solvents offer poor lubrication (as compared to other choices). More importantly, these substances may be flammable and pose various safety risks. They may also dry out the rubber parts. Soaps and Detergents offer nominal lubricity but can reactivate later on when wet, causing parts to move when they need to remain stationary. Petroleum Distillates are often not compatible with rubber parts causing them to swell. The lubrication is not temporary. Specially Formulated Ester Based Products offer temporary lubrication providing excellent reduction in friction. These lubricants are safe for the environment, the parts and the workers.
Plant managers need to choose a lubricant that will work well, yet meet all safety requirements and federal regulations. They must also consider variables unique to their specific needs such as surface compatibility, dry time, conductivity and chemical composition of the lubricant.
Specially formulated, temporary rubber assembly lubricants are a preferred choice. They have a consistent composition, favorable compatibility with most surfaces and are not harmful to the environment. In fact, many of these lubricants are biodegradable. Food and beverage processing facilities must also be sure to use specially formulated temporary assembly lubricants that meet federal regulations and are approved for incidental food contact applications.
Many food and beverage processing plants rely on P-80® Temporary Rubber Assembly Lubricants to help with pump maintenance. P-80 lubricants enable rubber parts to slide easily into place with minimal force. Once dry, P-80 stops lubricating and parts remain in place, resulting in a tight fit. Since P-80 does not contain silicon or any other persistent ingredients, once dry the slipping action goes away. P-80® Emulsion IFC and P-80® THIX IFC meet FDA regulation 21 CFR 178.3570 and are NSF-Registered as H1 lubricants. Both are biodegradable and non-toxic, ideal for use in incidental food contact applications when a thin film of lubricant is desired.
The next time you’re having trouble replacing a pump seal, inserting a grommet, or pushing a hose into place, try using a temporary rubber assembly lubricant. See how much easier the job becomes.