spray ball tank cleaning

Whether you are producing beer, yoghurt, bio-fuels, milk, carbonated soft drinks or food products, manufacturers are required to clean their tanks to the highest of standards in order to prevent contamination and to ensure they are meeting their relevant health and safety legislations. This often leads process engineers struggling to understand what the most cost effective way to clean their tank is and how they can maintain their impeccably high standards whilst still meeting both financial and environmental targets.

When it comes to tank cleaning, there are three main CIP (clean in place) options;

Static Fixed Spray Balls-

This is the most basic form of cleaning and is as simple as it looks. Media from the Static Fixed Spray Ball hits the tank interior in a pre-defined cleaning pattern which is fixed as a result of holes being drilled into the static ball.  This freefalling film cleans the tank walls but takes a relatively long time and can result in excess water/chemical usage.

Fixed spray ball 1

Standard Static Fixed Spray Balls do not allow for areas within the tank to be target drilled. The spray pattern is normally a standard 360°or 180° spray pattern which can therefore create shadow areas within the tank. Shadow areas within a tank are caused by standard spray patterns not being able to focus on areas within a tank which need a concentrated clean, such as manways, nozzle connections, baffles etc. If tanks need to pass a Riboflavin test this will cause an issue. (see below) The image below is after a clean and it clearly shows that the tank has failed a Riboflavin test. The green water drops indicate that although the area was ‘wetted’ there was not enough targeted impact to remove the Riboflaivn.

The solution to resolve this issue is to used Fixed ‘Targeted’ Spray Balls which have a designed spray pattern to ensure all areas within the tank are targeted which will guarantee the tank pass the all important Ribofliavin test which has now become a standard requirement.

Targeted spray patterns are designed using CAD software. Unlike standard spray balls, ‘targeted’ balls are designed to remove shadow areas, whilst reducing water/chemical usage. Targeted spray balls are individually designed to pass Riboflavin tests whilst meeting customers flows and pressures.

When to use a Static Fixed Spray Ball?

Standard Fixed Spray Ball initially offer a cost-effective solution giving tanks a good rinse and wetting the internal surfaces. Suitable for tanks with a maximum 1.5 impact cleaning radius. If the product is water soluble and has light residue to remove, then this may be an option. Also, if customers have limited flow rates, fixed spray balls can also be a solution.

Standard fixed spray balls do rely on the media cascading the tank walls. This cost-effective option does come at a price, resulting in longer cleaning times and up to 70% more water/chemical usage compared to a Rotary Jet Head. The additional water and chemicals to drain may not be in line with the ever-changing companies’ Environmental policies.

Targeted Fixed Spray Balls – Ideal for passing Riboflavin Tests, removing product that is water soluble/ light residue to remove.  By design the targeted spray balls have a thicker body wall which gives more of a ‘jetted’ spray pattern compared to the standard spray balls. This offers greater cleaning impact to the internal tank surfaces.

Rotary Spray head

The Rotary Spray Head by name, offers a Rotating fan spray pattern which in a dynamic cascading pattern wets the internal surfaces of the tank walls. The fan pattern creates a vibration off the tanks internal surfaces, agitating the residue making it easier to remove.

This Rotary cleaning head reduces water and chemical usage by up to 30% compared to Static Fixed Spray Balls whilst also cleaning the tank faster and consequently reducing downtime.

When to use a Rotary Spray Head?

If you are looking for a general clean to remove light residues (water soluble) this solution is a good option. Rotary Spray Heads are suitable for tanks with a maximum wetting radius

of 6m (3m impact radius) It will not clean yeast and other harder to clean residues effectively but does offer a 360° guaranteed repeatable cleaning coverage.

Rotary spray head

Rotary Jet Head

Rotary Jet Heads generate high impact water jets that clean the inside of the tank in a guaranteed repeatable predefined pattern, removing even the most stubborn of residue. Initially these jets lay a course pattern out designed to remove and dilute tank residue before the pattern becomes denser as cleaning continues, effectively cleaning the entire tank surface with high mechanical impact.

Rotary Jet Head technology is so advanced and efficient that it can reduce water and chemical usage by up to 70% compared to the standard spray balls, while reducing cleaning cycle times by over 50%.

When to use a Rotary Jet Head

Rotary Jet Heads offer the greatest impact clean of the three cleaning head options and for the right applications is considered the ultimate solution.  Whilst the price reflects this so does the cleaning benefits. This option will clean the more stubborn substances such as yeast and burnt on residue whilst providing the deepest clean possible. Suitable for tanks with a maximum throw length of 26m and impact throw length 14m. This cleaning head offers a 360°guaranteed repeatable cleaning coverage and can be used in conjunction with a Rotacheck Sensor system which validates the whole CIP process ( gone through full CIP -cleaning in place sequence) allows the operator to monitor the performance of the cleaning head and will clearly indicate if the cleaning head is no longer Rotating or if cleaning pressure has been lost. Another key notable benefit is that unlike the other two option this one is self-cleaning, The rotary jet head provides the ultimate impact clean.

TRAX simulation is also available for Rotary Jet Heads which shows customers the density of the cleaning pattern within the tank before purchasing the unit. Further information can be found at  https://tankcleaningtechnologies.co.uk/support/trax/

Rotary Jet Head
Choosing the right cleaning head for your application depends on your criteria.
Is the product easy to clean ?
What size is your tank ?
Are there any obstacles in your tank ?

If a tank has a centrally mounted Agitator for example, two cleaning heads one each side maybe required. The jets targeting one side of the Agitator will not be able to clean around the other side.

Is reducing water and chemical usage a company focus ?
cleaning balls

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