Ice pigging machine launched

Suez Advanced Solutions has launched its first hygienic ice pigging machine, the AQL500, suitable for applications in the food and FMCG sectors.

Ice pigging is a new process for clearing pipes that uses slush ice instead of water, a common method of purging product from pipes in food processing. Slush ice has rheological properties that means it can pass through variations in pipe work such as valves, bends and changes in diameter without becoming stuck in the pipe, yet has highly effective cleaning properties similar to a solid ‘pig’ when in the pipe.

Ice pigging can help the recovery of the majority of product left in a pipeline and in doing so improves the production efficiency of the plant, reduces water consumption and effluent produced.

Matthew Stephenson, head of ice pigging at Suez, says, “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. From top to bottom, the AQL500 uses food grade components and is fully cleanable itself. The ice produced by one of our machines should be the cleanest ice anywhere in the world.

“We have been offering ice pigging into 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 that there are some very clear drivers which are aligned with some key benefits that 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.”

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