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How to use dry steam to keep your beverage production line clean and sanitised

Whether it’s a bottling plant, facility, factory, brewery, distillery, soft drinks manufacturer or winery, there are distinct locations along the beverage production line that bacteria and mould can thrive. However, there are 4 specific functions on how to use dry steam to clean any bottling plant, which include sterilising the bottling line, cleaning and hydrating barrels and vats, removing tartrates and sanitising tanks, general cleaning of equipment and surfaces.

This is the second article in our series on dry steam in bottling plants. If you want to learn more about, why dry steam is useful for cleaning bottling factories, read our first article here.

 1. Sterilising the Bottling line and Sanitising the Conveyor

This is the most familiar application of steam along food and drink production lines. Whether it’s the conveyor belt itself, its accompanying detergent conveyor lube, drip trays and/or cable trunking steam is ideal to clean them.

Dry steam sterilisation removes the typical issues that come with relying on high pressured water cleaning and or manual scrubbing. Only a small amount of water is used to generate the steam and because it’s ‘dry’ there is virtually any water vapour created to remain on the conveyor, which could cause carryback or slipping. Steam destroys all microbial pathogens from the filter housing to the fill spouts. Not only that but it reaches higher temperatures faster, which means that the bottling process happens sooner and more efficiently.

 2. Reducing Mould Spores on Fillers

Any production line that uses filling machines (juice, carbonated soft drinks, wine, champagne, beer or spirits) are liable to the growth of mould spores.

“Moulds produce allergens (substances that can cause an allergic reaction), irritants and, sometimes, toxic substances. Inhaling or touching mould spores may cause an allergic reaction, such as sneezing, a runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash. Moulds can also cause asthma attacks.” – NHS

Keeping these fillers sanitised with dry steam prevents mould growth.

3. Barrel cleaning in Breweries, Distilleries & Wineries

This function is more niche and specific for alcoholic beverage production. Distilleries and winemakers laud the ability to hydrate barrels in storage. It serves to revive barrels and prolongs their usage for years more than without steam.

When testing the integrity of barrels in wineries and distilleries, dry steam cleaning machines really fizz. Steam quickly penetrates any flaws within the barrels, revealing any leaks that may have developed. After steam cleaning the inside of the barrel, inserting a bung will reveal whether or not they are leak-proof. As the bunged-up steam cools and returns to liquid it develops a vacuum. If the bung proves difficult to remove the barrel has integrity. This also actually helps extract old wine from the wood, removing bitter tannins out of the porous wood.

Caution is advised because the process is so effective it can cause the barrel head to collapse (implode the barrel), likewise, with too much BAR, it can rupture the barrel so low-pressure settings are advised.

Unlike the bottling line and tank cleaning where the equipment can be set up and walked away from cleaning the barrels requires a more manual, hands-on approach. As such operators need to be educated in the proper usage of the machines.

4. Tank & Vat Cleaning for Breweries, Distilleries & Wineries

Dry steam offers wineries and distilleries the option to clean tanks, whether they’re 400 or 8,000 gallons, without the need for anyone to go inside, which is just as well as the tanks do get hot to the touch. Leaving your facility with a fully sterilised tank within 15minutes.

tank steam cleaning process

Cleaning requires that you simply connect your generator to an inlet valve above the tank. Allow the steam to build pressure to the desired level within the tank, generally, 7 to 10 BAR should be used.

* The special inlet steam connection does require a pressure gauge and a safety valve, which will avoid over pressurisation of the vessel during this process.

Once the pressure has been built, open the lowest valve for drainage. The tartrates will have melted immediately from the superheated steam, allowing the grimy residue to flow out the bottom along with any condensation.

A final rinse with either steam or water - depending on the food/drink product contained within – more viscous products should be steam rinsed whereas less viscous products a water rinse would do.

The result is a fully cleaned and sterilised tank, without the use of caustic liquids.

5. Cleaning… Well everything else

Similar to tanks, the steam cleaning process can be directed to all surfaces and equipment, effectively reducing the "bio-burden."

This falls under your more “day to day” cleaning tasks of peripheral non-production areas, such as cleaning racks, underneath conveyor lines, barriers, and supports - footings, stanchions, stands, steps. It can even be used for disinfecting high touch points like handrails.

The dry steam cleaner can be used to degrease stubborn industrial equipment and even clean electrical equipment, as the steam is ‘dry’. Our machines come with a wide range of accessories to ensure that every cleaning task can be tackled with one of our machines.


Uncap dry steam’s potential within beverage production

It is always to a bottling factory’s advantage to purchase equipment that is versatile and can be used for different applications. Our steam cleaning technology fits that profile. While a beverage producer may initially buy a unit specifically to sterilise a bottling line, they will soon start to use it for all cleaning tasks.

Louis Pasteur, the father of pasteurisation, is credited as saying “wine is the most healthful and most hygienic of beverages”, with our Dry Steam Cleaning technology it is – and that goes for all drinks produced in plants cleaned by OspreyDeepclean machines.

To find out more give us a call on (0) 1242 513123 or reach out here.

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