The Ice Pigging technique uses an ice slurry which is pushed through production pipelines to clean and recover product.
World Dairy Innovation Awards
SUEZ picked up an award for the machine for Best Dairy Manufacturing/Processing Innovation at the World Dairy Innovation Awards recently.
Matthew Stephenson, business director, Ice Pigging, SUEZ, told DairyReporter, the AQL500 is the world’s first factory-ready, fully automated Ice Pigging machine.
“This award is fantastic recognition for the role that this technology can play in improving the efficiency and operation of dairy production,” he said.
“We're delighted our Ice Pigging machine, which helps dairy producers to reduce their waste, reduce the effluent they create, and save more of their valuable product in the production process, is recognized by such an important global award.
“The dairy industry demands new ways to take steps forward in its social and environmental responsibility, at the same time as competing in an increasingly price based market.”
The Ice Pigging ice slurry can travel around bends, changes in diameter and other restrictions, to clean pipework in the FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) sector.
Yeo Valley in the UK is one of SUEZ’s customers, producing over 2,000 tonnes of yogurt each week expanding its Yeo Valley Organic brand to include milk, children’s products, butter, cream, frozen yogurt, ice cream, compote and rice pudding.
The current method of flushing dairy products from pipelines is usually done by heating water to around 80°C, then flushing it through the pipes before sending it down the drain, taking the remaining product, wasted heat and energy with it.
75% of product in the line is able to be recovered
Ice Pigging was used to remove a custard product from production machinery. Compared to the usual flushing process, the Ice Pig was able to recover an additional 50 liters of product per run.
The Ice Pig had a defined interface between the pig and the product, as much as 75% of product in the line is able to be recovered. The amount of mixed product and ice slurry was significantly less than the amount of mixed product and water produced using the existing process. This meant that less effluent was produced for disposal.
Stephenson added Ice Pigging for the water industry has been around for a while but back in February, the company launched its AQL500 Ice Pigging Machine for the FMCG sector.
“The AQL500 Ice Pigging Machine is a result of five years of development and is now available across Europe,” he said.
“Much of the development of the machine has been concerned with adapting the technology to be suitable for the stringent hygiene requirements that food producers expect.
“We have been offering ice pigging to a number of industries for some years, but the buzz we are feeling in the food and FMCG sector for this technology is very different. We see there are some very clear drivers which are aligned with some key benefits the technique offers, such as product recovery and effluent reduction that aligns well with what many of the major producers tell us they are trying to achieve, and appears to make for a compelling business case.
“The machine is designed for permanent installation into a production facility where it will provide ‘ice pigs’ on an automated basis.”