Cleaning & sanitising: The beneficial impacts of ECA

Spraying Systems Co Pty Ltd
Monday, 01 February, 2021



Since traditional cleaning chemicals are used to maintain hygiene within the food and beverage industry, the development of technology has also paved a new way towards addressing the challenges that come with cleaning and sanitising. Specifically in the industrial side of food and beverage.

With great success in the US and parts of Europe, this technology paves the way to changing the culture of food and beverage processing plants and how they tackle cleaning and sanitation processes.

The electrochemical activation (ECA) technology addresses the challenges associated with safety (by eliminating the exposure of harsh chemicals), improving environmental sustainability while still maintaining a highly effective cleaning and sanitising result.

These on-site generation (OSG) systems use ECA technology to generate two separate solutions; a dilute sodium hydroxide cleaner and a hypochlorous acid sanitiser. The installation of this system within a facility allows for the production of these solutions on demand.

What is ECA?

This concept involves the process of supplying current into a solution splitting molecules into ions and essentially forcing a chemical reaction by activating new molecules on an electrical level, with different oxidation reduction potential (ORP). This process is commonly known as Electrolysed Water or Electrolysed Oxidising water.

The solutions that are produced are chemical free but yet yield even stronger and more effective results than traditional cleaning chemicals that contain toxic properties.

Patented technology involves an electrical current that separates positive and negative charged ions out of a sodium chloride salt solution. The ions are then pulled through proprietary ion exchange membranes that produce two separate salt free solutions. This is done by the separation of the source of salt from a liquid flow path in an electrolytic cell design, resulting in longer cell life.

The two separate solutions generated through this ECA process possess cleaning and sanitising capabilities. Dilute sodium hydroxide (NaOH) solution is an effective solution used in a large range of soaps and detergents in commercial and industrial applications or cleaning and encompasses the ability of breaking down complex aggregates of proteins-lipids and carbohydrates that can potentially clog tubing and membranes resulting in “fouling”. The sanitiser solution with the active ingredient, hypochlorous acid (HOCl) has demonstrated exceptional ability to combat pathogenic growth on hard surfaces such as stainless steel, wooden blocks and workbenches with no damage to the equipment surfaces.

Hypochlorous Acid: (PathoCide® Sanitiser/Disinfectant) HOCI is naturally produced in the human body to fight off viruses and protect the immune system. When produced through ECA, hypochlorous acid contains the same molecule that shares the ability to fight off pathogens commonly found within a range of industries.

When compared, the active ingredient generated by the system (HOCI) has the capability of inactivating pathogens to the same degree as the traditional bleach but at half its concentration and no damage to the exposed surface, thus highlighting the efficacy of the treatment.

Naturally occurring pathogens commonly found in food and beverage industries can be inactivated by hypochlorous acid with a contact time of less than 60 seconds. Some viruses and other micro-organisms have also shown sensitivity to hypochlorous acid in a contact time of 30 to 60 seconds demonstrating its effectiveness for a broad-spectrum of pathogens prevalent in the food and beverage industries.

Hypochlorous acid has also been tested on a range of surfaces for its efficacy and demonstrated more than 99.90% reduction in microbes on both wooden and stainless steel surfaces in less than 10 minutes (Without the application of dilute sodium hydroxide).

When applied to a hard surface, HOCI acts as an oxidising agent. When reduced by the organic matter that it comes in contact with, it does not leave any toxic residues and therefore does not require a post-rinse method making the hypochlorous acid a superior operational solution saving time, resources and enabling frequent, real-time application.

The production of these solutions are based on a natural equilibrium. The management of the process is based on the sanitiser pH. When in a controlled pH environment within the ideal ranges of 5 to 6.5, hypochlorous acid will exist as the dominant chlorine species allowing for a 30-60 day shelf life and acts as a significant contributor in the prevention of contamination in piping and clean-in-place systems.

The technology is suitable for a range of industries: hatcheries, bakeries, food processing, breweries, distilleries, bottling plants, food and beverage packaging.

The overall benefits of ECA improves workplace health and safety environments by eliminating the exposure to harsh chemicals and therefore the need for personal protective equipment (PPE). It also allows for personnel control over the production of solutions required by an operation. This also means the reduction of environmental impact eliminating the use of plastic containers and disposal of solutions, and ultimately reduces the downtime for cleaning and maintenance related procedures.

Currently EPA and FDA approved in the U.S. and parts of Europe, Spraying Systems Co is into the process of obtaining nationally recognised certifications and approvals to expand industry-wide capabilities and market share in Australia.

For more information, visit https://pathosans.com/au/.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/zinkevych

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