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Eliminating air quality risks with HACCP

10 December 2018

Gareth Topping, Business Line Director EMEAI at Gardner Denver, discusses how food processing sites can eliminate air quality risks by following the principles of HACCP. 

Compressed air provision is absolutely vital to many site manufacturing processes. Alongside maintaining a consistent supply, ensuring compressed air is of the highest possible quality is a key concern for most owners and operators.

This is because contaminated compressed air can lead to negative consequences for your site, including a reduction in performance, product spoilage and damaged equipment. While these risks are highest in sensitive production environments – such as pharmaceutical, electronics, and food processing sectors – they exist in any process that requires compressed air. 

To avoid these problems, standards are in place to govern compressed air quality and ensure production environments remain free from potential pollutants. This includes the standard ISO 8573, which covers compressed air quality and specification. Yet while ISO 8573 is an excellent benchmark for compressed air performance, increasing numbers of sites are adopting the principles of the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP). 

What is HACCP?
HACCP is a systematic preventive approach to production process hazards that may cause contamination. Though originally developed for the food industry to ensure compliance with that sector’s hygiene and safety legislation, its principles can easily be followed in other manufacturing environments.

Instead of checking finished products, HACCP integrates contamination control into production, reducing risks to a safe level throughout. This control can be broken down into seven principles:
• Analyse hazards
• Determine critical control points
• Establish limits for critical control points 
• Establish monitoring procedures for critical control points
• Establish corrective actions
• Establish verification procedures
• Establish a record system

Key to HACCP’s effectiveness as a quality control method is that it allows you to dynamically identify hazards in the process, and then prevent them from occurring. This is in contrast to the traditional ‘produce and sort’ approach, where you may know that the process is contaminated, but not what has gone wrong. 

This more effective approach to quality risk management allows you to make more informed decisions about manufacturing processes. Furthermore, because procedures are already set out, you can be more confident in your company’s ability to remove the risk of contamination and, should it occur, solve the problem quickly. As a result, you can reduce and avoid the costs associated with this challenge and the unexpected downtime it can impose.

HACCP in action
A good example of the HACCP principles in action is our work with the food packaging machine manufacturer Proseal. The company required oil-lubricated rotary vane pumps from Gardner Denver for its vacuum and gas packing technologies, to help ensure goods are tightly sealed. In line with food hygiene demands, the machines are washed down with corrosive cleaning agents after every shift, which could lead to rusting and compromised vacuum performance.

To overcome this harsh working environment challenge, we developed a specially-designed stainless steel enclosure for our Elmo Rietschle VC 303 vacuum pump, allowing it to be sited alongside Proseal’s vacuum/gas packing machines in wet environments. The cover was developed with HACCP principles in mind, ensuring Proseal can help its customers maintain the highest hygiene standards, without affecting the vacuum pump’s performance.

Proseal’s senior development engineer, Steve Windsor, was very pleased with our work. He said: “Gardner Denver has created a stainless steel cover for its Elmo Rietschle VC 303 pump that is ideally suited to meet the needs of the wet environments in which our technologies operate. These enclosed pumps offer a very attractive ‘plug and play’ solution for Proseal.

“Developed to meet HACCP standards, our customers can feel confident that they’re investing in a system that is robust and built to last, which allows them to easily carry out the necessary hygiense and safety procedures that are required.”

In conclusion, with appropriate staff training and education about the seven principles of the HACCP system, site owners and operators can prevent potential contamination hazards before they occur. This leads to a more cost-effective approach to site management, as product spoilage and process downtime is reduced.

For more information about HACCP and guaranteeing a consistent supply of high-quality compressed air, please visit www.gardnerdenver.com/industrials.


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