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powder mixing ribbon blender drying methods sanitation

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#1 amueller23

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Posted 11 December 2019 - 04:36 PM

I have a stainless steel ribbon blender that is used to mix various powdered supplements.  Most of these are fairly sensitive to humidity, and require the blender be completely dry before use.  In an effort to be as sanitary as possible when drying, I am looking for suggestions on methods.  The blender is cleaned and rinsed very well (mild bleach solution, rinsed with water until chlorine levels are acceptable to show no traces of bleach left in the blender), and production has used an air compressor in the past to speed the drying process.  The compressor has been completely eliminated because the potential for contaminants gives me nightmares, and it will never truly dry the blender.  They then switched to a fan over the opening, but even looking at the fan shows how it is a really unsanitary option.  My favorite option is to close the lid and let it air dry completely, as there are only a few small areas that have the possibility of retaining water, but the bosses here don't always want to allow enough time for that.

I am investigating stainless steel fans that are water resistant as a possibility.  It could be thoroughly cleaned before each use that way.  I am, however, aware that it does not eliminate pulling in contaminants from the air (a lot of our raw materials are very dusty when being dumped into the blender).

I would appreciate any suggestions or methods that have worked succesfully!



#2 The Food Scientist

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Posted 11 December 2019 - 04:49 PM

Ive worked in a similar situation, we blended Protein powders/shakes in the ribbon blender and I agree it is a NIGHTMARE when you need to dry it. So we did get a fan and place it on the opening, we got a special fan that was made out of stainless steel like you said and we cleaned it everyday and made sure it stayed clean. We also would leave it open to get air dried at the end of the day for the next day, and right before production we sprayed it with alcohol based sanitizer to ensure sanitation. Of course this sanitizer dried of quickly due to it being alcohol based. Now the thing is during the day we would blend similar products in it after the other that it didnt need a full clean, so at the end of the day we would clean and let it dry for next day for a different product. Because production can't wait for it to dry. So you may want to check the scheduling of products as well 


Edited by The Food Scientist, 11 December 2019 - 04:51 PM.

Everything in food is science. The only subjective part is when you eat it. - Alton Brown.


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#3 FurFarmandFork

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Posted 12 December 2019 - 04:36 PM

Ditto food scientist, alcohol based sanitizers are excellent when you want speedy dry times, really helpful.

 

Also looking at your post really think about your risk assessment here, you seem to be concerned with air exposure, but this thing is going to be exposed to the air all he time anyway. And your plant air is (hopefully) extremely unlikely to contain pathogens, so unless you have mold control or spoilage issues with your product, your plant air really isn't going to be a source of food safety contamination.

 

The compressed air route would be fine if you added .01 micron filtration to the point of use, which is relatively inexpensive and eliminates microbial concerns (though not oil or moisture in your system).

 

Fans are great and you already identified that the blades need to stay clean, so order a fan that makes that easy (easy to remove guards, easy loto, sealed motor housing).

 

You mentioning that you want to close the lid and let it air dry completely bothers me abit, as I assume that would slow down your drying time, residual moisture in your machine is going to be a MUCH bigger contributor to microbial growth than air exposure ever would be.


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#4 The Food Scientist

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Posted 12 December 2019 - 04:41 PM

 

 

You mentioning that you want to close the lid and let it air dry completely bothers me abit, as I assume that would slow down your drying time, residual moisture in your machine is going to be a MUCH bigger contributor to microbial growth than air exposure ever would be.

 

Spot on! I reread the OP's post again and just realized they do have it closed! We opened them and let them air dry. They can do air/atmosphere testing if they're afraid of air contamination. Also they need to see the airflow in that room (positive/negative). 


Everything in food is science. The only subjective part is when you eat it. - Alton Brown.






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