Case study: Clean totes in 4 – 8 minutes

TOTES AND intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) are used pervasively in processing

Intermediate bulk containers (IBCs), also known as totes, are used in every processing industry and require regular cleaning.

Intermediate bulk containers (IBCs), also known as totes, are used in every processing industry and require regular cleaning.

and manufacturing applications . They are convenient and cost-effective solutions for materials storage, handling and transport.

One U.S. chemical company uses and recycles totes in its shipping and receiving applications. Totes are used to ship the company’s products, including surfactants and other chemical compounds for the textile industry, and then cleaned for re-use after the shipment has been delivered. Many raw materials are received from suppliers in totes, which are also cleaned for re-use.

Reused totes must be 100% clean to avoid the dangers and expense of cross-contamination. Cross-contamination is caused when one batch contaminates the next batch, leading to inferior quality products, material spoilage and waste.

TOTE CLEANING DILEMMA
For years, the company’s operations director was frustrated by the high cost of sending dirty totes to their tote supplier for refurbishing and cleaning. The alternative, having them cleaned in-house by hand, was even less desirable. Manual cleaning is slower and produces unpredictable results in terms of cleaning quality and effectiveness.

Though the issue was not urgent, the chemical company acquired a Gamajet tank cleaning machine as a result of a business acquisition. The cleaning system was trialed to determine if an economic case could be made for using it rather than sending the totes to the supplier for refurbishment. For the trial to be successful, the machine would have to reduce the time spent cleaning totes in-house, and increase the level of in-house cleaning effectiveness.

CONVINCING ALTERNATIVE
The system exceeded all expectations and the trial was a resounding success. Gamajet

The Alfa Laval Gamajet ToteBlast System is designed to fully clean a tote in less than 7 minutes.

The Alfa Laval Gamajet ToteBlast System is designed to fully clean a tote in less than 7 minutes.

systems utilize rotary im-pingement technology to create full-coverage, high-impact cleaning. Because of the high level of impact, they use less water and cleaning chemicals as they scour tank and tote interiors. A repeatable and reliable 360-degree clean-ing pattern ensures the tote is perfectly and completely cleaned, including the top and corners. With its use of mechanical force, the Gamajet takes far less time to clean a tote than methods such as manual scrubbing.

Not only did the automated cleaning system deliver the necessary speed and effectiveness, but it accomplished the goals so well that a second Gamajet was purchased. That purchase paid for itself in just one week.

The chemical company now manages its entire tote cleaning process in-house, saving time and completely eliminating the costs of sending totes out for refurbishing. The cleanings are 25–50% faster with the Gamajet than they were with manual cleaning, and a thorough cleaning is achieved in just 4–8 minutes depending on the amount and type of residue. Most importantly, cross-contamina-tion is no longer a concern, and the company is able to deliver reliable product quality and throughput.