Countdown begins to Innovation Awards
Trials have also begun in the Middle East. There is the potential to add new devices to the Climote system in the future.
“We have a roadmap of products that is very well laid out,” says Conway. “We want to use the customers’ experience and link on other features.”
Changing from one drink to another on the same production or bottling line has presented challenges for the international beverage industry for many years, particularly when the change is between highly flavoured or pungent drinks.
Ensuring that the taste or smell of one drink is not impaired by the other has required lengthy three and four step clean-in-place (CIP) processes which typically take between two and five-and-a-half hours to complete.
This challenge has now been overcome by a new process developed by Clonmel based Trustwater which reduces the total time required to just 20 minutes. The “Three-Step Pungent Flavor Changeover” utilises Trustwater’s innovative rapid electro-chemical activation (ECA) changeover protocol and enables beverage plants to increase production and to move towards a just-in-time, lean manufacturing model.
ECA is the generation of activated solutions by passing a dilute brine solution through a glow-through electrolytic membrane (FEM), to produce a highly microbiocidal negatively charged catholyte solution with detergent properties known as Aversol which consists predominantly of sodium hydroxide in an excited state.
The system has been tested and validated at a major US beverage plant and the FDA has given its consent for the process to be used in the food and beverage industry.
“The plant in the US where the system is in use has been able to increase production by 25 per cent since installing it”, says Trustwater chief technology officer, Kevin Keane.
“We have been working on the ECA technology for the past 10 years and have some of the earliest patents on that. We moved into CIP applications four years ago and into the pungent flavour changeover area about a year ago. Then we made the breakthrough and have won a number of international awards since.”
The company won the Best Bottling Innovation award for its continuous filler disinfection application at the InterBev 2012 awards in Las Vegas, and was a runner-up in the best processing innovation category for the Three-Step Pungent Flavor Changeover application.
This is on top of its sustainability award from the International Dairy Federation in 2011 and the Manufacturing Exporter of the Year Award won at the 2010 Irish Exporters Awards.
The ECA system is in use in 25 beverage plants around the world while the Pungent Flavor Changeover process is already in use in two. The new process allows enormous efficiency gains for plants as they will be able to schedule production runs for when they are needed by the market rather than according to the pungency of the products involved,” says Keane.
“We sell systems internationally. We have installations in Europe, North South America, Iran, South East Asia, China and Australia, and we now see this new innovation being rolled out to beverage plants throughout the world.”