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Tool sanitization and accountability - Ultrasonic Cleaning?


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Gramslam

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Posted 12 May 2011 - 03:07 PM

Hello all,

I'm a maintenance engineer for an Organic snack bar manufacturer. Am am looking for information on tool sanitization for tools that come into contact with food processing equipment. I've been loooking into adding some ultrasonic cleaners to take care of this.
Currently I'm using every precaution to prevent any tools from contacting anything that may come into contact with food. All the tools are locked into a tool box, and I'm the only one with a key. After I finish maintenance or emergency repairs, the tools are hand cleaned with dish detergent, rinsed, then sprayed with vinegar and dried, then signed back into the tool box.
This is absorbing a significant amount of my time. Time I would like to spend with my machines ;o)

So to summerize:
1, Can I replace all hand washing of tools with an UItrasonic cleaner
2, What solution chemistry would best suit ultrasonic cleaning in an Organic certified plant
3, If Ultrasonic cleaning is suitable for maintenance tools, would it also be ok for the kitchen tools as well?

Thanks to all who read and/or respond.

Cheers,
G



MKRMS

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Posted 17 May 2011 - 10:07 AM

Gramslam,

Have you spoken to your factory's QA or food safety manager about your plans, yet? This could be a good starting point for your exploration as well. Maybe the bioloical hazards that are involved by you introducing your tools into food production areas are already controlled by a cleaning and sanitation schedule for the production equipment you are maintaining. All you would have to do then is control physical hazards (nuts, bolts and scraps of material as well as dirt) or chemical hazards (non food-grade lubricants, cleaning materials, etc).

This would give you loads more time with your machines :whistle:.

Regards,

Matt


MKRMS Food Safety - Be on the FOOD SAFE side!
http://www.mkrms.com

Gramslam

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 01:28 PM

Hello Matt,

Thank you for your reply. I did speak with QA and food safety previous to my posting. They were not familiar with ultrasonic cleaning. Yes, there are already measures in place. But I always feel that when it comes to food safety, overkill is better than under kill. All maintenance “physical hazards” are controlled by filling out a sign-out sheet for each individual fastener or material before it leaves my locked shop. When maintenance is finished, any un-used material is signed back in, and inventory is updated.
I used to use ultrasonic cleaners in high tech. They worked very well to remove any contaminate in preparation for optical fusion splicing.
What I found out is that the cavitations produced at the 38-45 kHz transduction range will cause biological matter to explode. This is why it is used in the medical industry for sanitizing medical tools.

I ended up ordering a unit to clean my tools. Now when I finish maintenance, I will be able to fill out my paperwork while the tools are being cleaned.
Cheers,
G



Kat3

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Posted 27 May 2011 - 10:40 PM

Gramslam,

I'm looking into ways of controlling the cleaning and sanitation of tools in our plant, which is a start-up Kosher and organic granola company. I just got hired on as a QC Tech and am pretty new to all of this. The auditor who came in to do our BRC Gap Analysis wanted more control and procedures in place for the cleaning and sanitizing of our maintenance tools. The Maintenance Manager was not happy about this and has been saying that cleaning tools is pretty much impossible because all of the maintenance personnel at our plant supply their own tools (and most are not stainless steel or food grade). Since I'm unfmiliar with many maintenance activities, I was hoping you could help me out with some information.

How much did your ultrasonic cleaning unit cost?
What solution are you using to clean your tools?
Is there anything else I should be considering that you can think of?

Thanks,

Kat



Gramslam

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Posted 31 May 2011 - 11:49 AM

Hello Kat,

First off, having multiple sets of random tools going into the production area makes accountability nearly impossible.
I believe the best approach is to first have a full set of tools for your maintenance in a locked tool box. I like to keep this tool kit as simple as possible. I only include the bits required for the equipment we have. If maintenance circumstances require a tool that is not in the kit, you just sign the tool into the kit as a temporary addition. These tools should be signed out of the workshop, and then signed back in at the end. Before including the extra tool, be sure it is sanitized.
You could have multiple sets of maintenance tools, but you have to have each kit locked, numbered, and have a checklist of each and every component in the kit. In the event of multiple kits, they should all be identical. After each maintenance activity (Or at the end of maintenance day) you verify the kit has all its contents accounted for, and then drop it into the ultrasonic cleaner basket. Give the tools about 10-20 minutes in a solution of potable water and vinegar 5:1 during this time; you can fill out your paperwork for tool accountability.
For electronic tools like a multimeter or inspection scope, just insure that any grease, oil, or product is wiped off, and then wipe with a clean cloth dampened (Not soaked) with vinegar.

I ordered a Bransonic 3510 as it has a tank large enough to fit most regular maintenance tools, and operates at 40 kHz which is the frequency that makes biological material explode.

The single most important aspect of a strict tool accountability program is to have everyone on board (The hard part).

One other thing. Tools need to be selected for their function. I looked at 30+ sets of needle nose pliers before I finally decided on a set. Avoid anything chromed as these coatings often flake off. Avoid handles that will allow contamination to get in like the slide-on rubber handles. Never allow tools with a wooden handle in the building. Stainless is always preferred.



Cheers,
Graham



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Dr Ajay Shah

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Posted 31 May 2011 - 12:45 PM

Hi Gramslam,



Have you considered using 70% commercial alcohol which is food grade and available from most reputable companies such as Ecolab or Jasol which are International companies. maybe worth asking them the questions realting to cleaning tools.


Cheers


Dr Ajay Shah.,
BSc (Hons), MSc, PhD, PGCE(FE)
Managing Director & Principal Consultant
AAS Food Technology Pty Ltd
www.aasfood.com


Gramslam

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Posted 31 May 2011 - 12:55 PM

Hello,

I have used alcohol in the past for cleaning optical components. But when using any combustible fluid, it is important to isolate if from the cleaning tank. You can fill the tank with a small amount of water, and then insert a plastic container containing the alcohol. Any combustible liquids can ignite when put directly in the stainless steel bath of the ultrasonic cleaner, creating an explosion risk.

G



RMAV

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 03:10 AM

Hello Kat,

First off, having multiple sets of random tools going into the production area makes accountability nearly impossible.
I believe the best approach is to first have a full set of tools for your maintenance in a locked tool box. I like to keep this tool kit as simple as possible. I only include the bits required for the equipment we have. If maintenance circumstances require a tool that is not in the kit, you just sign the tool into the kit as a temporary addition. These tools should be signed out of the workshop, and then signed back in at the end. Before including the extra tool, be sure it is sanitized.
You could have multiple sets of maintenance tools, but you have to have each kit locked, numbered, and have a checklist of each and every component in the kit. In the event of multiple kits, they should all be identical. After each maintenance activity (Or at the end of maintenance day) you verify the kit has all its contents accounted for, and then drop it into the ultrasonic cleaner basket. Give the tools about 10-20 minutes in a solution of potable water and vinegar 5:1 during this time; you can fill out your paperwork for tool accountability.
For electronic tools like a multimeter or inspection scope, just insure that any grease, oil, or product is wiped off, and then wipe with a clean cloth dampened (Not soaked) with vinegar.

I ordered a Bransonic 3510 as it has a tank large enough to fit most regular maintenance tools, and operates at 40 kHz which is the frequency that makes biological material explode.

The single most important aspect of a strict tool accountability program is to have everyone on board (The hard part).

One other thing. Tools need to be selected for their function. I looked at 30+ sets of needle nose pliers before I finally decided on a set. Avoid anything chromed as these coatings often flake off. Avoid handles that will allow contamination to get in like the slide-on rubber handles. Never allow tools with a wooden handle in the building. Stainless is always preferred.



Cheers,
Graham



All great suggestions. The original poster should keep in mind that here in the USA, it is customary that mechanics, even in food plants, own their own tools. The tool accountability and cleaning program will likely have to be tailored to this situation. Indeed, it is nearly impossible to control absolutely.

Indeed, it is easier said than done, but the maintenance manager has to suck it up and implement a tool cleaning program. I have first-hand experience swabbing a tool yielding a positive listeria ssp.

The maint manager will likely put up a fight. Give them an option: they can clean tools and subject them to micro testing, or use single-use 'disposable' tools. :thumbup:


Gramslam

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Posted 07 June 2011 - 12:02 PM

Wow. I did not know that they have to supply their own tools at food processing plants in the US. I can see where a significant number of problems come from.
Would it not be easier for everyone if they were provided the tools? Then it would be much easier to audit their tools for clenleness and integrity.
Can they leave the building with their tools, then get them back in without inspection and testing?



Kat3

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Posted 07 June 2011 - 09:27 PM

Thanks, Gramslam.

Most places I have worked in had the maintenance supply some of their own tools, but not all. The place I'm currently employed all the maintenance personnel have to supply their own tools. There's no cleaning or monitoring program for the tools, no sanitation programs, or anything remotely close to that. Once the tools are in the plant, they stay at the plant.

In other cases, I placed tools on the micro swabbing program and had a lot of support from the maintenance department. (I have also had first-hand experience getting positive results from swabs.) Not so much here. The maintenance manager states that everything I'm trying to implement is ridiculous, and even if the company would pay for company-owned tools, he would fight me on it. He says that no one does such things, I'm asking for the impossible to be done, and that he will fight me every step of the way. He even has the same demeanor with the QA Manager, and even the auditors.

That's why I was impressed with the program you have in place and was asking you about it. Since we're a start-up and not a large company, the investment seems more feasible to implement a program similar to yours if I can get the executive team to buy into it. I am hoping the results of the audits this week might sway them in my favor.

RMAV,

This is the first time I've heard about "disposable" tools. With all his fighting, I can't wait to see his reaction when I give him that option. :thumbup:



fstRicky

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 05:52 AM

Hello Kat,

First off, having multiple sets of random tools going into the production area makes accountability nearly impossible.
I believe the best approach is to first have a full set of tools for your maintenance in a locked tool box. I like to keep this tool kit as simple as possible. I only include the bits required for the equipment we have. If maintenance circumstances require a tool that is not in the kit, you just sign the tool into the kit as a temporary addition. These tools should be signed out of the workshop, and then signed back in at the end. Before including the extra tool, be sure it is sanitized.
You could have multiple sets of maintenance tools, but you have to have each kit locked, numbered, and have a checklist of each and every component in the kit. In the event of multiple kits, they should all be identical. After each maintenance activity (Or at the end of maintenance day) you verify the kit has all its contents accounted for, and then drop it into the ultrasonic cleaner basket. Give the tools about 10-20 minutes in a solution of potable water and vinegar 5:1 during this time; you can fill out your paperwork for tool accountability.
For electronic tools like a multimeter or inspection scope, just insure that any grease, oil, or product is wiped off, and then wipe with a clean cloth dampened (Not soaked) with vinegar.

I ordered a Bransonic 3510 as it has a tank large enough to fit most regular maintenance tools, and operates at 40 kHz which is the frequency that makes biological material explode.

The single most important aspect of a strict tool accountability program is to have everyone on board (The hard part).

One other thing. Tools need to be selected for their function. I looked at 30+ sets of needle nose pliers before I finally decided on a set. Avoid anything chromed as these coatings often flake off. Avoid handles that will allow contamination to get in like the slide-on rubber handles. Never allow tools with a wooden handle in the building. Stainless is always preferred.



Cheers,
Graham

This is good. Never knnew this was possible. Not sure many do it though!!

 

R



HochderfferT

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Posted 02 January 2015 - 04:19 PM

Hello Kat,

First off, having multiple sets of random tools going into the production area makes accountability nearly impossible.
I believe the best approach is to first have a full set of tools for your maintenance in a locked tool box. I like to keep this tool kit as simple as possible. I only include the bits required for the equipment we have. If maintenance circumstances require a tool that is not in the kit, you just sign the tool into the kit as a temporary addition. These tools should be signed out of the workshop, and then signed back in at the end. Before including the extra tool, be sure it is sanitized.
You could have multiple sets of maintenance tools, but you have to have each kit locked, numbered, and have a checklist of each and every component in the kit. In the event of multiple kits, they should all be identical. After each maintenance activity (Or at the end of maintenance day) you verify the kit has all its contents accounted for, and then drop it into the ultrasonic cleaner basket. Give the tools about 10-20 minutes in a solution of potable water and vinegar 5:1 during this time; you can fill out your paperwork for tool accountability.
For electronic tools like a multimeter or inspection scope, just insure that any grease, oil, or product is wiped off, and then wipe with a clean cloth dampened (Not soaked) with vinegar.

I ordered a Bransonic 3510 as it has a tank large enough to fit most regular maintenance tools, and operates at 40 kHz which is the frequency that makes biological material explode.

The single most important aspect of a strict tool accountability program is to have everyone on board (The hard part).

One other thing. Tools need to be selected for their function. I looked at 30+ sets of needle nose pliers before I finally decided on a set. Avoid anything chromed as these coatings often flake off. Avoid handles that will allow contamination to get in like the slide-on rubber handles. Never allow tools with a wooden handle in the building. Stainless is always preferred.



Cheers,
Graham

Hi Graham,

 

I was hoping you might be able to give some insight on how well the Bransonic cleaner worked at your facility. I was looking into getting a CPX8800H or CPX3800H for our facility, which should be pretty comparable to the 3510; I was hoping you might be able to note about how long the chemicals have been lasting for you in the bath itself? Also the effectiveness of this vs hand cleaning, any suggestions or insight you might have in the matter would be very much appreciated!

 

Thanks,

Tyler



Ragga

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Posted 17 June 2015 - 03:11 AM

Hello all,

I'm a maintenance engineer for an Organic snack bar manufacturer. Am am looking for information on tool sanitization for tools that come into contact with food processing equipment. I've been loooking into adding some ultrasonic cleaners to take care of this.
Currently I'm using every precaution to prevent any tools from contacting anything that may come into contact with food. All the tools are locked into a tool box, and I'm the only one with a key. After I finish maintenance or emergency repairs, the tools are hand cleaned with dish detergent, rinsed, then sprayed with vinegar and dried, then signed back into the tool box.
This is absorbing a significant amount of my time. Time I would like to spend with my machines ;o)

So to summerize:
1, Can I replace all hand washing of tools with an UItrasonic cleaner
2, What solution chemistry would best suit ultrasonic cleaning in an Organic certified plant
3, If Ultrasonic cleaning is suitable for maintenance tools, would it also be ok for the kitchen tools as well?

Thanks to all who read and/or respond.

Cheers,
G

 

 

Hi Gramslam,

 

Just have to say you've got to be the most food safety/quality conscious maintenance engineer I've come across overmy last 9 nine or so years working in the food industry. Well Done!!!!






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