There are several key considerations when designing a food manufacturing facility to enable quick equipment changeovers.
First, locating tooling and spare parts storage adjacent to production areas is key to enable quick access. Because changeovers often involve tooling changes on or within the processing, keeping critical tooling and/or parts in the immediate area saves valuable time.
Second, clean-in-place (CIP) systems and local clean-out-of-place (COP) tanks can assist with quick cleanup between runs. The removal of colors, flavors, or even allergens, is of paramount importance when changing from one product to the next. The more equipment that can be automatically cleaned via CIP, the better the changeover will go. For those parts and pieces that cannot be cleaned in place, a local COP solution would be the next best thing.
Third, separating production lines (e.g. with a physical separation wall), allows for cleanup on one line while still running production on other lines. Without this physical separation, washdown and changeover of any given line must wait until all lines have completed their current production runs.
Finally, in addition to a physical separation, refrigerated facilities must also isolate the refrigeration systems to enable cleanup on one line without halting production on other lines. During cleanup, the hot washdown water reacts with the cold environment generating major condensation. Often, in an effort to remove this moisture quickly and cleanly, the Refrigerated Makeup Air Unit (RMAU) is put into a cleanup cycle in which it heats the room until the moisture is completely evacuated from the space, at which time the RMAU switches back to a refrigeration mode and brings the room back down to temperature. Without the isolated refrigeration systems, this approach would not be possible without moist hot air from the line being cleaned short circuiting into the other spaces creating significant sanitation concerns. With independent systems, the air remains separated.
For maintenance issues larger than your typical changeover, the isolation of utility systems through the use of isolation valves enables maintenance on one line while still allowing production on the others.
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