Plant Cleaning Research Programs
AIM: Cleaning has a massive impact on plant efficiency, utilities and resources. In some cases as much as 50% of time is spent engaged in cleaning resulting in a massive impact on downtimes, costs and changeovers. This has become even more problematic in recent years with an increasing focus on smaller production volumes resulting in increased numbers of changeovers and more time spent devoted to cleaning.
Swab Replacement Technology: Current cleaning verification is by visual inspection or analytical verification. Analytical verification techniques include Total Organic Carbon (TOC), HPLC/UPLC, UV and conductivity. Our team in CAPPA are developing a handheld, at line method using Deep UV Raman Resonance Spectroscopy (DUVRRS). DUVRRS provides combined Raman and fluorescence spectra measurement with improved detection limits vs Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) and a considerable level of chemical specificity.
Physical Modelling of Cleaning: Our applied mathematics team are contributing to the development of new cleaning protocols by developing and analysing mathematical models of the interactions of adherents and solvents on different surfaces. The aim of this work is to understand the relative importance of properties such as adherent solubility, strength of solvent-substrate interactions, solvent flow speed, etc. to determining the rate of removal of adherents. In particular, our modelling work will concentrate on developing mathematical descriptions of experimental test cells currently under development, so that our work can be validated (and parameters estimated) by comparison with experimental results.