Hygiene is, no doubt, a major issue in any environment where food is being produced, since it has serious implications for food safety. What is more, product liability acts mean the legal buck largely stops with food processors and manufacturers if their product is found to present safety problems. But when a machine needs to totally disassembled for a thorough cleaning, that means taking it off-line for a period of time. Any sustained interruption in production translates, ultimately, into loss of revenue for the processor or manufacturers. Hygienic by design One of the company's taking this challenge on board is Multivac, which has been displaying its upgraded thermoforming machines bearing the 'Clean and Clever' slogan. The machines have been re-designed along new hygienic lines, with additional developments on engineering and new functions for increased process security and efficiency. The design has been certified by the German government's food safety organisation, and is in accordance with USDA requirements. The company says the hygienic design "simplifies and accelerates" the cleaning process, since gaps and crevices - into which matter may fall - have been eliminated. This principle has been taken into account in all aspects, including closed return shafts, sanitary film intake and elimination of 4exterior threads on height adjustable feet. In addition, it has also been applied to the interior of the machines, with cables, hoses, motors and vacuum pumps optimised for sanitation. Multivac says its open chain design and chain guide are particularly innovative. "This patented improvement allows for the easy removal of contaminants - without the need for dissembling the chain." Automatically clean Multivac is also boasting new, optional 'Clean in Place' (CIP) technology for its R535 and R245 models. This innovation, claimed by the company to be an industry first, uses an automated, standardised and protocoled programme run through the control system for chemical cleaning of the interior. Since cleaning cycles, doses and chemical mixtures can all be perfectly replicated, in addition to utmost protection for the end consumer, the benefits are said to be lower costs for the user, and a longer lifespan for the machine. Separate zones CFS has also incorporated hygiene and easy maintenance into the design of its new GigaSlicer, a slicing machine for meats and cheese that boasts one more lane that conventional machines, thus producing more cost-effectively. The company decided to separate out the product zone from the control and drive zone - a move said to minimise contamination and make cleaning simpler. "Main components are easily accessible, while most parts that come into contact with the product can be removed for cleaning without tools, further improving sanitation, speeding up maintenance and reducing operational costs," said CFS. In addition, the slicing area is larger than that for most comparable machines, which cuts down on waste. As well as meaning more product can actually be packaged for sale, this also cuts down on waste that could clog up the internal workings.