The customer, a fruit purée producer in the Americas, faced a challenge in complying with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations. More specifically, the requirement was that the plant needed to have an exact exposure of a sanitation chemical after every Cleaning-in-Place (CIP). The customer’s control system and process layout did not allow for an exact and consistent dosing, and not every part of the plant was exposed. The requirement needed to be addressed quickly, or the FDA would shut the factory down for non-compliance.
We swiftly mobilised a multi-disciplined team of food safety experts, including project commissioning and automation engineers, from our automation services hubs in both Europe and the US. The objective was to meet full compliance prior to FDA’s next visit, which was scheduled to less than five weeks after project start, to the customer’s plant. Key elements to success were the ability of the team to quickly understand the customer’s needs, to work in close cooperation with the customer and to come up with a solution that was traceable.
We modified all cleaning circuits to correctly expose the sanitiser to every component of the equipment, and updated the CIP set with bespoke code and calculations to achieve consistent dosing.
The solution was distributed across the entire factory – 2 CIP stations and 8 batch platforms in total. And after completing the project at the first plant, we leveraged our experiences to great effect in a similar situation at the customer’s other plant.
The task was completed in just two weeks – which meant three weeks ahead of schedule. Total downtime was summed up to zero: there were no interruptions to production, as the work was done at nights and weekends. Despite the tight schedule, the customer was always was up-to-date on the project’s progress. The plant passed the FDA inspection and was not shut down. The customer expressed great satisfaction, something that was also fed back to the organisation.