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In 2011 Qualflow was contracted by a major Irish brewer to help develop and deploy a new beer-line cleaning process with the PLCS, Portable Line Cleaning System, as the corner stone of the new development. The 200 strong employees of the brewers Quality Service Team, QST, maintain and clean approximately 100,000 beer-lines across the island of Ireland on a monthly basis. Beer-line cleaning carried out by the QST was based on the traditional wash bottle. The goal of the development project was to improve productivity and deliver better beer-line hygiene by replacing the labour intensive wash bottle process with the PLCS.
In collaboration with the brewer, Qualflow helped develop the new beer-line cleaning procedure that is based on the high capacity and turbulent flow of the PLCS. The PLCS is designed to deliver turbulent flowing detergent and rinse water. Turbulent flowing detergent is up to eight times more effective at cleaning beer-lines compared to wash bottles. In addition to providing turbulent flow the PLCS-I automation ensures consistent chemical mixing and process timing which contributes to process conformance and improved efficiency.
The scope of work encompassed new process development, evaluation, implementation and rollout of the process and PLCS, to the 200 strong QST team. Details of the work carried out include:
The process was tested on a variety of the brewer’s draught products over several line cleaning cycles. ATP measurements were used to assess the line hygiene and efficacy of the process. The analysis and evaluation of the data was conducted on a monthly basis and presented to the brewer’s quality team.
At the request of the brewer, Qualflow undertook a complete design review of its PLCS technology to deliver the new lighter and more robust PLCS-I. Following successful evaluation and test of the PLCS-I, the company put in place a program to manufacture and rollout 200 units to the QST over a four month period. The deployment included:
Following the rollout programme, a monitoring and validation project was conducted to assess the effectiveness of the line hygiene quality. Results demonstrated that the new process delivers improved productivity and better line hygiene compared to the traditional wash bottle process.