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PROCESS EQUIPMENT UPDATE


Greta Eliasson reports on how a new ice pigging machine is set to clean up in the food and FMCG processing sector


Greta Eliasson reports on how a new ice pigging machine is set to clean up in the food and FMCG processing sector


A COOL CONCEPT I


ce pigging is a relatively new process for clearing pipes that uses slush ice instead of water (a common method of purging product from pipes in food


processing). Slush ice has unique rheological properties that mean it can pass through variations in pipework such as valves, bends and changes in diameter without becoming stuck in the pipe, yet it has highly eff ective cleaning properties, similar to a solid ‘pig’ when in the pipe. For the food and beverage sector,


the personal care sector and the paint industry, ice pigging can bring about a step change in the level of production effi ciency a plant can reach. Today, during


The new ice pigging machine is a result of fi ve years of product development


Greta Eliasson reports on how a new ice pigging machine is set to clean up in the food and FMCG processing sector


product changeover large quantities of water may have to be used to clear pipes of product, resulting in wastage of high-value product, and at the same time creating large amounts of effl uent to treat. Ice pigging can help the recovery of the majority of product left in a pipeline, and in doing so improve the production effi ciency of the plant, reduce water consumption and reduce effl uent produced. Suez Advanced Solutions has recently


launched what it believes to be the world’s fi rst hygienic ice pigging machine, the AQL500, which is suitable for applications in the food and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sectors. The launch of the AQL500 factory-


ready hygienic ice pigging machine comes as a result of fi ve years of development. The machine is designed for permanent installation into a production facility where it will provide ‘ice pigs’ on an automated basis. “Much of the development of the


machine has been concerned with adapting the technology to be suitable for the stringent hygiene requirements that food producers expect. From top to bottom, the AQL500 uses food-grade components and is fully cleanable itself. The ice produced by one of our machines should be the cleanest ice anywhere in the world,” says Matthew Stephenson, Suez’s head of Ice Pigging. Suez is already a provider of ice


pigging services to the water sector, performing ice pigging on drinking water networks around the world. “We have been off ering ice pigging into a number of industries for some years, but the buzz we are feeling in the food and FMCG sector for this technology is very diff erent,” states Stephenson. “We see that there are some clear drivers that are aligned with key benefi ts that the technique off ers, such as product recovery


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