Prominent chocolate manufacturer discovers a cleaning solution that meets its high standards of quality control.
For over 150 years, a well-regarded chocolate company has manufactured premium chocolates from cocoa bean to finished product. This company's proprietary bean blend and unique methods of roasting and processing ensure the highest quality chocolate products. With a strong dedication to perfection, this chocolate manufacturer requires adequate cleaning solutions that are efficient, safe and help maintain clean, allergen-free environments for continuous manufacturing.
The company’s traditional cleaning methods included manually scraping and brushing chocolate and food particulates from chains and rails on its production line. Time consuming and tedious, this process required that the company shut down production and allocate extensive resources.
With new product lines to launch and a high standard of profitability, it was looking for cleaning methods that would save time and resources, but maintain its stringent quality standards.
Among the company's requirements for a cleaning solution were:
- A process that increased profitability with new product lines rather than add to production costs
- A process to ensure that its non-nut containing products do not contain any traces of nuts
- Maintaining product quality
- A time-saving method that would not require shut-down
- A more efficient process requiring fewer workers
- A safe, allergen-free working environment
“Our allergen cleanup process required up to 500 man hours at times to ensure that we were operating an allergen-free and safe work environment. We needed a new solution that was more efficient and provided the environment that is required to produce the variety and breadth of products that we manufacture."
- Tony Tai, Production Supervisor
The Solution: Dry Ice Blasting
In an effort to enhance its cleaning process, the company decided to evaluate new cleaning methods and systems. Among the processes the company researched was steam cleaning, which used portable steamers and custom made brushes and scrapers. While they were effective in cleaning the equipment, steam cleaners proved to be inefficient.
It also evaluated several different makes and models of other alternative cleaning systems, including those which utilized dry ice blasting.
The environmentally responsible dry ice cleaning process uses recycled CO2 dry ice pellets accelerated at supersonic speeds. The dry ice sublimates on impact, leaving no secondary waste. Dry ice cleaning is also non-abrasive and non-conductive, which means the chocolate facility can use the system without worrying about the wear and tear on equipment or damaging electronic components. Dry ice cleaning has also been effectively used in EPA, FDA and USDA inspected facilities.
In a closely monitored trial of dry ice blasting, the chocolate manufacturer was able to reduce its clean-up time by more than 60%. In addition to saving time and labor resources, the production team found the system to be user-friendly and a complement to their lean manufacturing initiatives.
“It’s not easy to cut clean-up costs without cutting corners but when working with food, you simply don’t take risks. Nut allergies are a huge problem today, and we don’t take that issue lightly."
- Tony Tai, Production Supervisor
Following the initial pilot test, the company deployed three dry ice blasting systems, which delivered economical dry ice cleaning in an environmentally responsible format. This method allows the manufacturer to clean its chocolate and candy production equipment in place and while it is still hot.
With fewer people required to clean and the ability to clean in less time, the company has been able to reduce its maintenance costs and production downtime. A faster, more effective clean allows it to increase the number of production cycles using the same equipment.
By deploying dry ice blasting systems, this chocolate producer has reduced the time and resources it takes to complete the company’s extensive allergen cleanup process.
As a result, the company has enhanced its lean initiatives and deployed a cleaning solution that actually helps increase production and profitability. It is currently looking to expand its use of dry ice cleaning to other departments and possibly other plants within its partner companies.