Saving water is a shared mission across a wide range of companies and a challenge of particular importance in the food and drinks sector. This is how leading companies across the globe save water every day.
Saving water is an important aim in every industry, but it is especially relevant in the food and beverages industry. In this article, we explain why and how to save water with 12 proven recommendations.
The importance of saving water in the food industry
Among the many processes that take place inside an industrial kitchen, washing uses up the most water. Cleaning dishes, boxes, utensils and containers accounts for nearly two-thirds of total consumption. Apart from agriculture, no other process uses as much water in the food industry.
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A commercial washing machine, with proper installation and maintenance, requires about 18 litres of water per shelf, on average. However, depending on the type of machine and work procedures in place, that number might oscillate between from 2 to 90 litres.
Selecting an efficient machine of adequate size can reduce the consumption of water and energy by over 50%. These recommendations can also reduce costs and increase the overall efficiency of the washing process.
How to save water in the washing process
There are multiple best practices related to installing and operating industrial washing machines: from reusing water, to maximizing machine capacity or simply setting up the washing programs correctly. An efficient approach to saving water should cover these 12 recommendations.
1. The first step to save water is to measure
“You don’t improve what you don’t measure.” This is an old management motto, and a good principle for saving water. The first step is to establish reliable numbers of water consumption for the washing process, and regularly monitor them.
Although this is a significant utilities cost for any company in the food area, equivalent on average to 14% of total water expenses, some managers still keep it outside their operational management reports. To save water, start by making this metric visible.
2. Invest in an industrial washing machine
The choice of a proper industrial washing machine, capable of washing dishes, boxes, pots and containers, translates into direct water savings when compared with traditional household appliances.
At Somengil, we design our machines with the 3 pillars of sustainability in mind – environmental, economic and social. This way, we develop technological solutions that reduce the ecological footprint of our equipments, while improving the well-being of the operator.
We test our machines based on the amount of water each model requires during different wash programs and the results are enlightening. While most options on the market consume an average of 23 liters per wash cycle, our models need only 7 liters of water per cycle, ie 70% less than the traditional machine washing process.
3. Training: saving water is a shared mission
Employees who operate industrial washing machines play a key role in saving water. Providing staff with proper training on the benefits of water efficiency and clearly stating which procedures to follow while washing is vital. Managers should instruct staff to report leaks, keep the space around the appliance clean and dry and to solve simple problems quickly.
This is one principle of autonomous maintenance, a method in which the operator carries out simple repair and cleaning tasks, without depending on the intervention of a specialized maintenance team.
4. Optimize the occupation of washing cycles
One of the most immediate work procedures to deploy stems from a simple question: which is the best moment to start the washing cycle? To use its full potential, turn the washing machine on only when a full load is ready. Avoid starting cycles to wash only a handful of pieces at a time.
Get in touch with our expert team so we can help you set a wash output target.
5. Choosing the right size for your washing machine helps save water
The size, type and quantity of parts to wash varies for each business. It is therefore important to choose a suitable industrial washing machine. This allows companies to be more efficient in every way: in washing capacity, as well as energy, detergent and water consumption – as well as square footage.
Sometimes it may be better to opt for a custom industrial washing machine, than a standard one.
6. Saving water requires the latest recycling and filtering technology
To save water, it is advisable to favor machines with water recycling and filtering technology. Somengil’s MultiWasher comes with the latest in water recycling technology, allowing for multiple washes with the same water.
This way, the MultiWasher saves 2/3 of water when compared to other industrial washing machines.
7. Clean the machine regularly
Back to training and work standards. Staff should clean the machine regularly paying filters special attention. In doing so, companies ensure more efficient washing cycles, saving more water and energy.
Cleaning filters is also important to prevent damages to the water pump. In the same process, check the pipes for leakages and repair them as soon as possible.
8. Establish a maintenance plan (and stick to it)
Factory recommendations should help establish a suitable maintenance plan for your industrial washing machine. Our advice: stick to it. This is both essential for the machine’s longevity and its energy and water efficiency.
At Somengil, we support our customers in the productive use of our equipment, either through optimized maintenance plans or through training. We also identify unforeseen needs or non-compliance, ensuring that these situations are reported to the engineering department.
9. Treat water to save water
Water hardness measures the concentration of calcium and magnesium salts. “Hard” waters contain these minerals in relatively high concentrations and are detrimental to the machine’s performance. By treating water to reduce the hardness level, companies improve the reliability of the operation and augment the longevity of the equipment.
For future reference, at Somengil we design industrial washing machines to operate with a water hardness equivalent to 10 mg of salts per litre. To save water, start by measuring its hardness and, if the value is outside the standard, pre-treat it with a softener to remove calcium, magnesium and limescale deposits.
10. Avoid manual pre-wash
Manual pre-wash can use up to 20 litres of water. At Somengil, we design industrial washing machines that can forego the whole pre-wash entirely.
The process occurs during the washing process, saving water, time and detergent. Alternatively, scrape out the residues without water. With efficient washing machines this action should prove more than enough to ensure a perfect wash afterwards.
11. Optimize water pressure
To save water, it is important to check the ideal pressure. If the pressure is too high, it can damage the machine or utensils. If it is too low, the machine may not be able to clean effectively. Therefore, at Somengil, our machines automatically adjust the water pressure to the piece being washed.
This way, there is n need to invest in a line pressure gauge or in external equipment. The water pressure is just right for every cycle, which contributes to water savings.
12. Choose a multifuncional machine
Water consumption is lower with a machine adapted to the type of utensils. Therefore, at Somengil we developed the MultiWasher concept, industrial washing machines that wash it all – pans, dishes, trays, grocery carts and more.
One process that uses up water unnecessarily is washing transport carts. For this reason, MultiWasher washes the cart with the rest of the containers and utensils, which saves water and time. We also design carts according to the customer needs.
Conclusion: Saving water is easier with innovative technology
In every business or industry, efficiency is a priority. In the food industry, where water consumption weighs heavily on total operating costs, saving water is one of the most direct ways to achieve efficiency targets. But saving water must be a transversal mission applying to all employees and processes. Among the latter, industrial washing stands out.
To save water in the washin process, we have assembled 12 essential recommendations. Measure consumption, choose an industrial machine customized to your needs, provide training to the entire team, optimize the occupation rate of each wash cycle, choose the right size of equipment, use the latest recycling and filtering technology, clean regularly and follow a plan maintenance, pre-treat “hard” water, avoid pre-washing, check the water pressure and choose a multifunction model.MultiWasher is an industrial washing machine designed to set new standards for efficiency. Developed by Somengil, this machine saves ⅔ of water, 70% of detergent, has smart energy consumption and even saves space with its elegant design.
Don’t hesitate to contact us for your next project.