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Ultrasonic: cutting time and labor in the beverage industry: in the foodservice industry, where devices to be used for food and beverage preparation are manufactured or in which food and beverages are packaged, cleanliness is the most important factor. Brewer manufacturer, Wilbur Curtis found a solution.

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One instance of shipping an unclean item or tainted food or beverage can mean the end of a million-dollar enterprise. For many sectors of these industries, ensuring cleanliness has meant endless hours of hand scrubbing and inspection by employees, costing valuable labor and time. But for many, ultrasonic cleaning is changing all that.

"We used to have three people scrubbing for 45 minutes to clean one unit," says Stephen Pratt, manufacturing engineer with Wilbur Curtis, leading manufacturer of commercial coffee and tea brewing machines.

The units being referred to are part of a project in which Wilbur Curtis refurbishes older commercial coffee brewers for customers--and these units come in by the truckload. Because the units had been dispensing coffee, hot chocolate and similar products, they were rife with coffee grounds and stains. In order to reach all parts of the machines they had to be torn apart in a special area and each part then had to be cleaned. "The framework and every little trough and gear had to be scrubbed carefully by hand," Pratt says. "It was a laborious process. It was also difficult to reach every nook and cranny in each machine as some couldn't even be seen."

Like an ever-growing number of food-industry professionals, Pratt recently discovered the efficiency of ultrasonic cleaning. "One person can now place the entire unit in an ultrasonic machine, and in about 10 minutes it's done," he says. The units also no longer need to be taken apart--they can be thoroughly cleaned while fully assembled.

Ultrasonic cleaning utilizes specialized environmentally friendly but effective solutions, heat, water and ultrasonic sound waves. Users have not only found the method to be more cost-effective in terms of labor and time, they've also found it to do a more effective job of cleaning due to cavitations within the liquid reaching areas unable to be cleaned by human hands or other devices. Pratt is utilizing ultrasonic cleaning equipment from Omegasonics of Simi Valley, California.

Omegasonics created a special-sized unit for Wilbur Curtis so that they could clean two of their units at once, without the previous headache of having to disassemble them. Now, not only can one person clean two units in 10 minutes, but that one person can also be handling other tasks while the units are in the ultrasonic tank. This is compared to the previous method in which three people took 45 minutes to clean one unit.

The company states that not only is the ultrasonic method saving considerable time and effort, but it is also safer for employees since it uses non-toxic, water-based solutions. Ultrasonic has been used for thorough cleaning of bottles in soda bottling plants before refilling, as well.

"The ultrasonic cleaning method has proven extremely beneficial in many different applications across many industries which previously required labor-intensive hand washing, often with toxic chemicals," said Frank Pedeflous, president of Omegasonics.

Bruce Boyers is a freelance writer based in Glendale, California.

Omegasonics, 330 E Easy St #A, Simi Valley, CA 93065-7523, Tel: +1 (805) 583-0875, E-mail: frankp@omegasonics.com, Web: www.omegasonics.com.
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Title Annotation:Ultrasonic Cleaning
Comment:Ultrasonic: cutting time and labor in the beverage industry: in the foodservice industry, where devices to be used for food and beverage preparation are manufactured or in which food and beverages are packaged, cleanliness is the most important factor.
Author:Boyers, Bruce
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Date:Feb 1, 2009
Words:513
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