Choosing the right tool for the job
All Hillbrush products have been produced using specifically chosen materials and techniques to allow Hillbrush products to be multi-functional and corroborating to good products manufacturing practices at customers sites.
Some tools have been designed with specific tasks or nature of product in mind, but the overall suitability needs to be a combination of tools and inspection of equipment/area to be cleaned.
To ensure longevity of cleaning tool, minimisation of foreign body contamination and effectiveness of the cleaning process, production equipment and area should be visually checked and improved whenever possible.
EHEDG, an organisation that supports and shares the benefit of hygienic design in product manufacturing, advises that key principles are followed when manufacturing or reviewing equipment and manufacturing areas to ensure suitable cleanability.
When reviewing equipment in use, the most applicable rules are below:
- Materials used in the construction of equipment must be resistant to chemicals used for cleaning, harshness of products and must allow all areas of product contact (direct and indirect) to be fully cleaned.
Surfaces must be smooth, not show corrosion, cracking or able to transfer anything to the product which would affect product quality and safety.
Damaged surfaces can hide contamination and become more difficult to clean.
If issues are found with surfaces of equipment, it is worth contacting the equipment manufacturer to see what can be done to improve it; replacement should be considered.
- Edges, corners and ends: Sharp, protruding edges create areas not fully cleanable and provide hiding places for microorganisms, physical and chemical contamination.
Another problem is the damage of cleaning tools when trying to clean sharp edges and sharp projections, potentially creating foreign body contamination.
Internal angles should be aimed to have at least 3mm radii again to allow chemicals and cleaning tools to reach and remove dirt.
- Drainability: After clean, it is important that all water and chemicals have been removed from equipment surfaces, removing contamination fully from areas of potential product contact.
- Look for dead spaces. Dead spaces are areas that can conceal contamination in the equipment and allow transference back to the product, so inspection for these areas and plans to reduce/remove dead spaces is a must.
- Equipment needs to be easy to clean and disinfect. Ask cleaning operators for tricky areas to clean, what issues they are experiencing and any issues with existing cleaning tools. A different tool design may provide more efficient clean and even shorten time of cleaning.
Ensure key issues are prioritised for improvement, this will pay off in the long term.
When looking at production environment, certain areas are key to ensure cleaning can take place appropriately and are highlighted below:
- It needs to be easy to clean and, if relevant, to disinfect. Ensure that floors are impermeable, cannot absorb contamination such as grease and can be washed. Where floors cannot be washed, alternative cleanings methods need to be agreed.
- For dry cleaning of floors, ensure that the method used can remove contamination fully.
- For wet cleaning of floors, check that the floor has gradience to naturally direct contamination and water to drains.
- Check for physical damages caused by the use of FLT, heavy machinery, vibration caused by equipment.
- Check for chemical damages caused by product and cleaning chemicals, and also high temperatures that may be used in cleaning and/or processing.
- Damages on floors create areas for contamination retention and allow the survival of microorganisms so improvement is necessary to ensure cross-contamination management.
- Check with reputable suppliers which floor finish can be used in areas for existing hazards to ensure resistance of flooring and safe manufacturing.
Walls and ceiling
- Walls and ceilings should also be fully cleanable, impermeable and non-absorbent and not transfer any hazards materials to product.
- The finish must be smooth and ensure condensation, growth of mould and other contamination can be safely managed.
- The joining areas between walls and floors, and walls and ceiling need to facilitate cleaning and be fully enclosed to avoid contamination hiding in there and transferring to other areas and to product.
- Check with reputable suppliers which finish can be used so existing hazards will not affect integrity of walls and provide safe product manufacturing.
- Ensure that equipment attached is fully flushed to the wall or ceiling or has enough space behind to be cleaned.
- Doors should also be fully cleanable, impermeable and non-absorbent and not transfer any hazards materials to product
- Check doors for damages as it can hide contamination.
- Attention should be given to points of contact, ensuring it doesn’t become points of cross-contamination.
Many other areas need to be inspected such as how cables travel within the production area, how pipework and walls/ceilings contact areas are protected from contamination.
If you are interested in learning more about these aspects, check EHEDG website: www.EHEDG.org.
If you would like support in reviewing cleaning activities and advice on how this can be improved, contact us at the bottom of this page.