EHEDG Executive Committee member Knuth Lorenzen is convinced that distinct EHEDG test methodology development is even more relevant after EHEDG reclaimed its rights for allocating EHEDG certificates. Together with EHEDG experts and the EHEDG Working Group Testing & Certification, he developed a new approach that enables EHEDG authorized test institutes to assess the cleanability test for open food processing equipment in the same way.
Why was this new test method guideline developed?
Knuth Lorenzen: “The first EHEDG test method guideline focused on assessing the in-place cleanability of food processing equipment and dates back to 1997. Between this publication and the last one launched in 2012 EHEDG published three more test method guidelines that focused on closed food processing equipment as well. This new and long-awaited EHEDG test method guideline is the first one specifically developed for testing open food processing equipment. It was requested by many food producers who want to be able to separate the wheat from the chaff when selecting new components - just like they do with closed processing equipment. This new test method guideline is the result of an extensive process of investigating and discussing the differences between testing closed versus open food processing equipment. In open food processes, there are many more factors that can influence the test results than in closed processes where testing conditions are much easier to control.”
How did you come up with the idea to introduce robot technology?
“After their first meeting in 2015, the working group members started to investigate methods to compare cleaning effects for various types of open process components. For a long time we’ve been looking for reliable and repeatable methods to first stain, then dry and finally clean open process equipment. This had to be done in ways that would justify comparing the cleaning results with our self-built reference components. To make the cleaning results comparable, both the test components and the reference components had to be stained, dried and cleaned in the same ways, with equal angles and distances between the cleaning nozzle and the surfaces during the whole staining and cleaning process. This was quite a challenge because many components for open processing have irregular shapes, corners, and surfaces. Eventually, I realized that the only reliable way to do this would be to use a programmable robot that traces all surfaces, based on a virtual twin model of the component.”
That sounds complicated.
“Due to recent advancements in robot technology, this is nearly not as complicated as it sounds. Most hygienic design equipment is already designed in 3D-modelling software, so the equipment producers can deliver the models to the EHEDG authorized test institutes. The test institutes can then feed the 3D-model to the robots and calibrate their testing procedures accordingly. The robots are off-the-shelf-products and can easily be obtained by the test institutes themselves. Just like the food processing companies, the EHEDG authorized test institutes are eager to read this new EHEDG test method guideline - because once they know which test method criteria they have to comply with, they can immediately start offering EHEDG testing and certification services for open food processing equipment. In cooperation with the EHEDG Working Group Testing & Certification, the Fraunhofer Institute is momentarily beta testing the new methodology in a real-life test setting. Please check the EHEDG website and the EHEDG social media news feeds to stay tuned.”