HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM THE SINTECO FAMILY

 

To all our customers,

to all our suppliers,

to all our professional acquantances,

to all our people,

wish you a happy holidays and a very happy new year 2022.

May this year bring prosperity and happiness to you and your families.

Sinteco AERPAN® (Panel Air Ducts)

A new solution for air distribution by Sinteco. Following extensive research and development to address some disadvantages associated with hard metallic (insulated) ducting, AERPAN® becomes the third type of air distribution solution under Sinteco HYGIENE®.

Being already touted by multiple markets across the world as a hygienic way to transport clean air into process spaces, AERPAN® could be the solution your manufacturing/processing facility is looking for, especially with respect to outdoor ducting (including roof-tops) in high hygiene applications.

Contact us today to learn more!

COVID-19 – Impact on Process Industries

Much has been said about the pandemic, the world has been experiencing for over 6 months now. It is an unfortunate calamity that has befallen upon humanity and it must be the responsibility of each one us to take the necessary precautions to defeat the virus. On an organizational level, Sinteco has tried to do its part by extrapolating on the concept of Sinteco HYGIENE® that has been fundamental to the Air Treatment & Distribution systems manufactured for over four decades now.

It has been a welcoming opportunity for Sinteco to make a difference on an industrial level at least as far as process industries like food, veterinary and pharma are concerned. We take this opportunity to present to you, a whitepaper about Sinteco’s interpretation of the impacts of COVID-19 and some ways to mitigate the consequential challenges for the process industries.

Importance of investment on the right HVAC

Assuming the readers of this article are past the most fundamental question – “why is an investment on the right HVAC important?”, we move on to the how. Of course, the why depends on the line of business you are in and if you are a part of the food processing industry especially, you must look deep into the importance of an investment in the right HVAC system. This article tries to invest the WCGWs (What Could Go Wrong) of a HVAC system and what must be done to address it. In other words, how to choose the right HVAC.

To do so let us break down a system of HVAC – Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning. For the sake of detail, let us also consider Air Distribution System. The individual components, more or less, are as follows:

  • Air Handling Unit – source of filtered hot and cold air
  • Supply Air Ducts (metallic or textile) – source of distribution
  • Return Air Ducts (metallic or textile) – source of ventilation

 

Air Handling Units – WCGW

 

There are multiple examples to provide here. Depending on the level of HYGIENE to be maintained, an Air Handling Unit must be chosen to suit the conditions. The following are some of the points that could go wrong, especially from the point of view of the food processing industry:

  • Bacterial retention
  • Operational inflexibility
  • Frequent part replacement
  • Corrosion
  • High energy expenditure

Air Handling Units – WCGW – How to address them (with Sinteco’s HYGIENE series of Air Handling Units)

Even before the WCGWs mentioned above, there is one major problem that is addressed by Sinteco’s Air Handling Units. The need for customization. If you are a food manufacturer, chances are that you are bound by regulation to maintain a hygienic work floor, which means that the components that are on the work floor also need to be HYGIENIC (ability to be cleaned on a frequent basis and with strong cleaning solutions). Off-the-shelf products cannot be HYGIENIC as they are manufactured with an assembly line method (mass production) and less emphasis is placed on quality. Further, with a standard off-the-shelf product, food processors must plan according to the standard design of the AHU which leaves no scope for improvisation. Sinteco’s HYGIENE series of Air Handling Units provides a solution – all AHUs are manufactured make-to-order and completely customized based on your requirements.

Bacterial Retention can be a huge problem in the food processing industry. European Union has laid down laws to control the level of micro-organisms in food processing facilities and there are strict regulations govern the food manufacturers. Similarly, the United States of America has also laid down clear laws on Microbiological Criteria in food manufacturing facilities. To prevent bacterial retention, there are no magic solutions since where there is moisture and oxygen, aerobic microbes and mould will thrive – the only solution is to have a strict sanitation program where periodic cleaning of the AHU surfaces is performed to prevent the possibility of mould formation. However, the AHU must support such frequent and strong cleaning. The standard AHUs in the market do resist cleaning but compromise on the overall active life. Sinteco’s Air Handling Units are designed to resist strong and frequent cleaning and as well as offer durability over a long period of time.

 

 

Operational Inflexibility is a state of not being able to use Air Handling Units in extreme operating conditions. For example, if an AHU was designed to generate a certain amount of air flow rate, and in the future, it needs to be operated at an entirely different flow rate (smaller or larger), it may be a challenge. However, even Sinteco recommends to its clients to use an Air Handling Unit for what it was designed. But in case of Sinteco’s AHUs, there is at least some scope for change as Sinteco’s Engineering team can recommend modifications to the AHU should there be a technical possibility. Whereas for standard AHUs, it is next to impossible to operate at extreme conditions, as well as to modify the configuration.

Frequent Spare Part Replacement could be a nightmare especially for environments with a high amount of airborne particulate matter. Not only does it make the AHU consume more power, but also tends to wear out the internal components. In standard Air Handling Units, since less emphasis is placed on quality, they are less priced and one of the biggest ways standard AHU manufacturers make money is by selling spare parts. In Harvard Business Review’s 2006 Financial Management article titled Winning in the Aftermarket, the authors stress on the fact that sale of spare parts and after-sales services in the United States is 8% of annual Gross Domestic Product. That means American businesses and consumers spend approximately $1 trillion every year on assets they already own. The article has been written on a positive sense because it is targeted at manufacturers. As an end customer however, food processing companies must heavily consider the expenditure on spare parts in case of a standard AHU.

Corrosion is caused by virtue of poor design. Standard off-the-shelf AHUs are made of multiple compartments that usually create a wedge or a gap between two faces of metal. In presence of moisture and oxygen, corrosion can occur that could eat into metal and disturb performance and eventually the active life of the AHU. Sinteco’s Air Handling Units on the other hand are manufactured with special panels, materials of construction and with special design that ensure there are no metallic junctions for corrosion.

High energy expenditure is a problem especially today when there is huge awareness about energy conservation. In a classic case of refrigeration & air conditioning, when there are a line of components such as heating coil, cooling coil, dehumidification wheel and a fan especially for a high level of air flow rate (for 24 hours x 365 days save for maintenance) is going to consume a large amount of energy. Smart engineering is the only way against spending a lot of money on energy. Concepts like free cooling for inherently cold places and heat recovery are some of the techniques that can be incorporated in the AHU design to reduce the overall consumption of energy. Standard off-the-shelf AHUs also incorporate these techniques but they are again limited to specific designs and it is not possible to customize the AHU.

 

Air Ducts – WCGW

Whether it is supply air or return air with textile ducts or metallic ducts, the air ducts are vulnerable to certain aspects. Especially in a process where high level of hygiene is required, and air ducts are exposed to the same environment as the process itself, the challenge of sanitation is the biggest.

Air Ducts – WCGW – How to address them (with Sinteco’s HYGIENE Air Ducts)

Sinteco’s textile ducts made of polyester is what is available in the rest of the market. However, Sinteco will be a one stop shop for the entire Air Conditioning & Distribution system and all the air ducts (whether textile ducts or metallic ducts) are entirely produced in Sinteco’s workshop. It is usual to find sub-contractors for standard manufactures of Air Handling Units as having a unit for the production of textile air ducts or fabrication of metallic air ducts is an extra cost for the manufacturer. Additionally, Sinteco’s textile air ducts AERTEX® is completely washable with standard washing machines and can be easily dismounted and remounted. The same explanation goes for Sinteco’s metallic air ducts AERMET® that is made of welded stainless steel to ensure utmost levels of HYGIENE and frequently cleanable.

As elucidated, it is imperative as a food manufacturer to consider all possible pitfalls before choosing the right supplier for HVAC systems. Some of the other detailed WCGWs not mentioned are about the proper maintenance of temperature, pressure, humidity and filtration.

With more than 40 years of experience especially with major industry players all over the world, Sinteco has the expertise to be your next and final solution provider for your HVAC requirements. If your nosiness is involved with food processing and you like the contents of this articles, contact us at sinteco@sinteco.com for we would love to say hi!

SPEED AND SANITATION

The world is always moving towards faster and smarter ways of doing things and process industries are no strangers to this idea. Especially since the advent of technology, production processes have been continuously fine-tuned to maximise throughput and minimise time loss. While some such standard practices became revolutionary, a lot others also failed.

Considering the meat processing industry for the sake of argument, the common denominator between all the practices that failed more or less happens to be the auxiliary effects that the manufacturer failed to consider. Two of the most important effects are lack of hygiene and bacterial contamination. The latter could be called the consequence of the former, however, this article will try to explore into both effects.

 

Lack of Hygiene

To understand this effect, it is important to clear a common misconception around Hygiene. When one says ‘Hygienic Air Handling Unit’, it is common misconception to interpret it as Air Handling Units for a Hygienic process. While it may also be true, the real meaning behind ‘Hygienic Air Handling Unit’ is that the unit itself is made of hygienic components. This enables the possibility of cleaning the unit frequently (and ensure quick drying) in order to reduce the possibility of harmful contamination of the resultant air.

In meat processing industry where the manufacturers are obliged by regulations to clean the processing rooms every day, a greater emphasis must always be placed with respect to process hygiene. But since manufacturers are facing stiff competition, the only way to improve the bottom line is by maximising volumes, thereby putting pressure on the production process. Speed is the name of the game.

Speed must normally be accompanied by smartness but the competition is so heavy that manufacturers are willing to tackle problems in retrospect. Inadvertently, there is a compromise on the brand and quality. Smartness must be in the way of choosing the right people, process and technology. While people are out of scope of this article, great attention must be given in the selection of process and technology. Processes and technology must be chosen to complement the throughput as well as regulations.

 

Bacterial Contamination

This effect could imply or be implied by the ‘Lack of Hygiene’ effect. In a way, both these effects are interconnected. In our article about ‘PRODUCT RECALL IN THE FOOD INDUSTRY’, we highlighted some astonishing facts and figures from a small research on the website for product recalls. To be precise, the biggest reason for product recall was harmful micro-organisms contaminating the food products itself. The main enemies identified were Salmonella and Listeria and other airborne micro-organisms.

The said bacteria attacks meat and meat is very susceptible to contamination (even at low temperatures) if no attention is paid on preventive measures. With appropriate processing components, the food products can be further processed to ensure safety and further, with machines made of HYGIENIC designs, the frequency of cleaning can be increased. The materials of construction of hygienic components are such that microbial formation is the least. Hence, the chances of contamination can be reduced considerably.

 

 

Manufacturers nowadays are willing to tackle problems in retrospect as previously mentioned and even globally renowned manufacturers are having a hard time finding a solution against product recalls due to microbial contamination.

Fundamental changes must be made with respect to people, process and technology to bring about a revolutionary change in the situation and complement lightning fast production processes like we have today.

Sinteco manufactures Hygienic Air Conditioning & Distribution Systems as well as Food Processing and Preservation Systems that are all made of hygienic food grade components, intended to (but not limited to) the food industry. Especially meat processing industry, Sinteco also manufactures complete systems of controlled processing rooms integrated with air conditioning & distribution systems for specific processes that require a very high level of hygiene.

Is your business involved in food processing? Are you interested in Sinteco’s products? Get in touch with us today. Write to us on sinteco@sinteco.com!

MICROBIAL CONTAMINATION IN THE FOOD INDUSTRY

Harmful microbes are the enemy when it comes to food safety and preventing contamination is a strong pre-requisite for food manufacturing/processing establishments. Not only are the governing bodies becoming stringent about regulations by the day, but also the general awareness about food safety is on an all-time high. This gives the manufacturers very little margin for error; there is a very thin line between being a million dollar food processor one day and being shut down in the next day for lack of hygienic processing conditions in the processing facility. Hence, food processers of today must take extra efforts in ensuring that the food is being processed in hygienic processing conditions, free from contaminations, especially with respect to what doesn’t meet the eye – harmful microbes. In the meat industry specifically, the food products are more susceptible to contamination from bacteria such as Listeria Monocytogenes and Salmonella among a few others.

Listeria tends to affect vulnerable groups such as the elderly, pregnant women, babies, and people with reduced immunity. Listeria causes a dangerous disease called Listeriosis. To ensure that the processing facility is free from such pathogens, many governing bodies all over the world advice food processing establishments to follow industry best practices and benchmarks for Food Hygiene. In the USA, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has made a Compliance Policy Guide on the control of Listeria Monocytogenes, which outlines the agency’s point of view on controlling this foodborne pathogen. FDA advises processors to consider these recommendations as they relate to each individual operation and tailor control strategies to the specific circumstances of each processing step. To minimize the potential for contamination of food products with Listeria Monocytogenes, FDA recommends that food processing establishments must adopt a sanitation program that includes a written Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (SSOP) and a sanitation maintenance schedule for areas where food is processed and/or exposed. These written SSOP must be made available to the ones responsible for cleaning and sanitation and the personnel must undergo training to ensure compliance to the methods established.

Salmonella on the other hand is the second most active cause of food borne illness and is commonly found in unpasteurized milk, raw egg products, meat, seafood, and poultry. Even if small amounts of Salmonella is found in food, the bacteria can grow and multiply quickly if not contained immediately. It can also spread almost immediately among people especially if they’re not conscious of their personal hygiene. The symptoms of Salmonella can include diarrhoea, fever and abdominal cramps.

These bacteria can thrive in cold, moist environments, including food-processing equipment and a direct consequence of it is the contamination of the food products itself. Salmonella and Listeria can multiply even in challenging low temperature conditions and it is imperative to protect the food products from these harmful bacteria. Like the dairy industry, pasteurization as a concept is becoming increasingly common in the meat industry to realize the full shelf of the meat by heating it to a certain temperature and cooling it immediately to deactivate all harmful microbes thriving on it.

Sinteco HYGIENE Core Pasteurizer - CORETEX

Sinteco HYGIENE Core Pasteurizer – CORETEX

Further, it is an added impetus to ensure that the air surrounding all processing machinery in the food processing facility is clean and up to the standards required so as not to spread air-borne microbes, spores and moulds. Overall, a hygienic work environment is a necessity to ensure that the output is clean, safe and has maximum shelf-life.

Sinteco manufactures all its equipment with a HYGIENIC design and Sinteco’s Pasteurization lines, HYGIENIC Air Handling Units and Air Ducts can be used to ensure a high level of sanitation in the food processing facilities. Does your business manufacture food that is susceptible to microbial contamination? Are you interested in the contents of this article? Contact us for more details today!

Product Recall in the Food Industry

Let us speak about food recalls.

Food recalls in the last three months.

Food recalls in the last three months that have been reported.

Food recalls in the last three months that have been reported and published online.

Food recalls in the last three months that have been reported and published online in the Food Engineering Magazine only.

The following table summarises the same.

 

#

Company

Recalled Product

Recall Reason

1

A leading retailer Private Label:

Triple berry medley, 48 oz.

Triple berry medley, 16 oz.

Blackberries, 16 oz.

Hepatitis A virus found in blackberry samples

2

Multinational meat pocessor 190,000 pounds of frozen chicken Hard plastic found in the patties

3

Gourmet packaged foods manufacturer Golden raisins in plastic packages of three sizes Sulfites that were not listed on labels found

4

Leading sausage manufacturer 95,000 pounds of jalapeño cheddar smoked sausages Hard, green plastic pieces found

5

Transnational retailer Private Label (ADM Milling):

All-purpose flour packaged for ALDI

E. coli strain linked to an outbreak found in samples

6

Meat packaging company 62,000 pounds of raw beef products E. coli found in random samples

7

Leading Tahini manufacturer Tahini 16-ounce jars and 39-pound buckets Salmonella Concord found in sesame seed samples

8

Multinational meat pocessor

12,000,000 pounds of frozen chicken strips Metal pieces found (closely related to #2 on this list)

9

Leading premium food manufacturer 113,000 pounds of raw ground beef E. coli contamination

10

Meat packaging company 53,000 pounds of raw ground beef E. coli contamination

11

Leading beef processor 43,000 pounds of ground beef Hard plastic pieces found in sample

12

Leading avocado grower and distributor Whole avocados sold in bulk Listeria contamination

13

Leading meat processor 78,000 pounds of raw ground turkey Salmonella contamination

14

Organic food manufacturer Organic bean sprouts Listeria monocytogenes

 

What this table tries to convey is that irrespective of whether investment is made on food safety or not, there always tends to be lapses in manufacturing. Given the dynamic nature of the food industry and the inherent competition at the elite level, presence, volumes and numbers are everything. When a manufacturing unit products 100 tonnes of product per hour, a certain percentage is always counted off as ‘waste’. But the last thing an organization wants is this ‘waste’ being identified in the hands of customers.

Lots of money may be invested on having initiatives such as Six Sigma, Lean Manufacturing, 5S and other Total Quality Management principles. These principles however instruct an organization to behave in a certain manner ‘given’ the existing resources. A need for change is suggested only when there is a lapse. Hence in such cases, it is not possible to predict when a problem arises but when it does arise, it is tagged as an ‘incident’, goes through the incident management process and is closed with correct and preventive actions. In such cases, the damage might have already been done! It is thus imperative to go a layer deeper where possible lapses must be predicted well in advance and measures must be taken without chances of negative incidents/lapses.

In the table above, one of the main reasons of product recall happens to be bacterial/fungal contamination. F&B industry is such a sensitive industry wherein even if there is presence of contamination in the machinery used, it could spread and contaminate foods. Here arises a need for Hygienic machinery. What is hygienic machinery? It could be defined as the machinery that has been manufactured with careful engineering design and food grade materials of construction so that harmful microorganisms cannot thrive on the surface of the machinery. Further, hygienic machinery are ones that can be cleaned on a periodic basis with strong cleaning techniques based on a robust sanitation program.

Sinteco manufactures all its machinery with different levels of hygiene based on specific requirements. From Air Conditioning & Distribution HVAC systems to Food Processing & Preservation machinery, Sinteco has been manufacturing for the Food industry for more than 40 years. Additionally, Sinteco also manufactures Hygienic prefabricated processing rooms (like Cleanrooms) integrated with Air Conditioning & Distribution systems for specific applications in food processing.

Is your business facing the risk of product recall and do you want to take a step further in preventing such recalls? Get in touch with us today!