Hygienic membrane process design as an advantage in the brewing guild for secure beverage production—From the viewpoint of an equipment and plant manufacturer

World Class Manufacturing Session
Jörg Zacharias, KRONES AG, Neutraubling, Germany
Co-author(s): Dirk Scheu, Krones AG, Neutraubling, Germany

ABSTRACT: Due to the increasing requirement for industrially produced beverages, aseptic processes are acquiring more and more relevance. This is manifested in extended shelf lives and maximally natural products. Usually heat treatment is the common method of pasteurization. In terms of gentle product treatment and energy consumption, this is only second-best and has to be reduced. The authors map out what the requirements of a hygienic membrane process design for applications in the brewing industry have to be. Further they present solutions and discuss the problems involved in water production for beverages. As part of this, the following requirements for equipment and process have been specified. The following demands are the main characteristics for hygienic membrane processing technology. 1) Hygienically designed components up to an entire hygienic line, including piping, pumps, valves, connections, welding, and all its further components. 2) Hygienic construction (aseptic) of the complete product path on the past of water treatment (UF resp. RO)—filtrate side up to the filler. This is the critical path after the aseptic break-point. 3) This means easy-to-clean stainless steel construction of the plant with reference to the criteria of EHEDG and GMP for, for example, Ra values below 0.8, welding as well as materials. 4) On the product route, each unit has to be designed to hygienically designed criteria. 5) In accordance with this, hygienic connection of module junctions is essential, especially on the filtrate side of the modules. 6) This leads to stainless steel housings for the membrane assembly. 7) The possibility of sanitizing the membrane and module to suit the construction and materials used will be possible without excessive stress on the membranes or the material. Sanitization for this requirement means temperatures between 121 and 140°C to reach the requisite module sterilization conditions. 8) On-line sterility sensor technology enables on-line integrity to be monitored. This shows that in principle the requisite quality in terms of microbiological lethality can be achieved. The overall plant equipment and the principal hygienic plant design are a question and an aspect of planning the process. This entails some effort but can be solved in accordance with standard literature and design codes like EHEDG (European Hygienic Engineering & Design Group). In summary, the main themes for hygienic membrane technology are hygiene inside the modules and on-line sensor technology for integrity and acceptance of these techniques in the beverage industry. The remaining problems will be shone in more detail as exemplified by Krones AG’s solutions.

Jörg Zacharias graduated in 1997 from Weihenstephan as an engineer in food science. In 2003 he finished his post-graduate studies with a doctoral degree from the Department of Fluid Mechanics and Process Automation at the Technical University of Munich-Weihenstephan. For more than five years he was an associate lecturer in food process technology at the Weihenstephan University of Applied Science. In 2005 he joined Krones AG in the Research and Development Division, where he was significantly involved in developing membrane filtration for beer clarification and fresh water treatment. He is an expert in the hygienic design of closed process designs for processing liquid foods. In addition, he is an expert in heat exchanger technology and the rheology of beverages.