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Hygienic Design, how to design plants and appliances

Hygienic Design: the advantages of hygienic design for companies making products in the food, pharmaceutical, chemical and cosmetic industries are undoubted: improved quality of the final product, reduced production time, decreased costs incurred. These advantages are met by EiQ Industrial’s line of hygienic switchboards.

The topic is quite topical, given the emergency related to the new Coronavirus (Covid-19), yet awareness of the key role of hygiene in plant and establishment design has grown considerably among those in the industry, especially in recent years.

In fact, whatever the sector of reference-food, pharmaceutical, chemical, cosmetics-a machine design and construction that takes into account all the latest indications aimed at facilitating cleaning results in real benefits: we are talking about savings in production time and final costs.

This month, we talk specifically about the benefits of Hygienic Design and the relevant regulations in this area-information that may be useful to plant manufacturers or end users.

HYGIENIC DESIGN AND REGULATIONS

The term “Hygienic Design” (“HD”), identifies equipment and facilities designed and constructed by meeting hygiene requirements dictated by regulatory agenciesthroughguidelines, regulations, and directives that become progressively more stringent in order to ensure ever-higher standards.

The First Machinery Directive of reference in the European context is from 1989 (89/392/EEC, Article 2), which established:

  • The requirements under which a piece of equipment must be designed and constructed to protect worker safety;
  • the minimum mandatory requirements that a machine must meet with regard to hygiene criteria , remembering that the “CE” marking that the manufacturer affixes to the machine is a declaration of compliance with all legal obligations.

The use ofstainless steel, a material widely used in industry because it facilitates cleaning, is the basic rule for Hygienic Design, but it is only one among many aspects to consider.

Indeed, the guidelines suggest eliminating or minimizing all cracks and dead areas present on the equipment. This is to prevent residues from processing and dirt in general from being deposited as these are areas that are difficult to clean and sanitize and thus facilitate bacterial growth.

Also in the European context, the EHEDG (European Hygienic Engineering and Design Group), an influential consortium of equipment manufacturers, food companies, research institutes and health authorities, Published 42 papers including standardized practice tests for evaluating cleanability, sanitizability and bacterial impermeability of food equipment.

Finally, for the U.S. market, further guidance was provided by 3-A Sanitary Standards, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting Hygienic Design in food.

THE ADVANTAGES OF HYGIENIC DESIGN

Designing and implementing facilities according to Hygienic Design criteria is a real business opportunity that leads to real benefits:

  • increases product quality because it ensures high standards of hygiene for the consumer during all stages of production;
  • saves a great deal of time for cleaning and sanitizing operations, which results in increased plant availability for production and thusoptimized production costs;
  • Reduces costs for cleaning operations.

In order to benefit from the advantages of Hygienic Design, the design must involve the plant in all its parts, from components, to covers, to electrical panels.

SWITCHBOARDS FOLLOW HYGIENIC DESIGN

EiQ Industrial, as a manufacturer of stainless steel switchboard carpentry, collaborated with EHEDG to develop its Hygienic Design solutions.

In particular, the company offers a complete line of switchboards designed to meet hygiene requirements in a timely manner, which includes junction boxes, push-button panels, hinged door boxes, compact one-piece cabinets, and cabinets that are modular and thus can be made in batteries.

Special attention was paid to the study of the hinges, which EiQ Industrial chose to keep exposed in function of the various construction advantages and to fulfill the dual task of strength and hygiene. In the face of extensive engineering work, a hinge was patented that can support up to 70 kg in weight and that EHEDG certified in June 2019 guaranteeing ease of cleaning and sanitization.