Condensate lines from chiller refrigeration units are the ideal breeding ground for some bacteria that are part of our natural environmental microflora. They are harmless and do not normally cause any problems but when in the ideal conditions they can form a solid gel-like biofilm which can lead to drain blockages.
A leading UK supermarket and their maintenance team contacted Cleantec Innovation to discuss the possibility of formulating a product to prevent bacterial growth in their refrigeration units as this was the main cause of leaks, odour and regular, costly maintenance call-outs.
We began with detailed research and tests into this issue and found that the bacteria in these systems arise from water in the drain or are introduced from the air through the recirculation fans of the cooling system. The perfect combination of organic waste from food spillages along with the right amount of heat, oxygen and moisture then encourages these bacteria to rapidly reproduce. In the environment of a refrigeration unit, the repeated hot and cold cycles, periods of starvation and low water activity are incredibly stressful on these bacteria so they have evolved a mechanism to deal with this.
Once in pipework and drains the bacteria begin to produce a thick, slimy, protective coat made up of 'extracellular polysaccharide' (or EPS as it is known in the industry). The result is that normally microscopic bacteria become visible as their protective EPS coat develops to form one single mass lump of solid gel. Once present, this gel can quickly harden leading to blocked drains which in turn will cause leaks, cooling failure, closure of cabinets, foul smells and high reactive maintenance costs.
Equipped with our findings, our new product development teams began to formulate a range of cleaning and maintenance solutions designed specifically to treat this issue and put a stop to it happening again. Products created were:
Pro 70 Refrigeration Condensate Treatment
A dual-action biocidal slow-release gel which is painted directly onto the surface of drip pans and drainage gullies. Once in place, this gel lasts a minimum of 12 months and inhibits any bacterial formulation in and around these problem areas.
Pro 71 Coil & Cabinet Cleaner & Degreaser
From working alongside the supermarket and cleaning teams we learnt their processes for scheduled deep cleans. This enabled us to review their current products and formulate new solutions which firstly, cut down on the amount of different products they used and secondly offered superior results. Pro 71 is an advanced cleaning formula developed to penetrate deeper and quicker into grease and grime in order to cut down on cleaning times and remove the broad spectrum of contaminates commonly found in condensers and chiller cabinets.
Pro 74 Drainclear Maintenance Treatment
These biocidal tablets were developed to be inserted directly into pipework and drip pans to slowly release an inhibitor preventing the build up or bacteria and EPS in drainlines.
After detailed talks with the supermarkets and maintenance companies we also discovered there is a need to have quick, easy access to all of these products as they compliment each other in terms of performance and continuance. To solve this we created a simple maintenance carry kit containing all the products necessary to top up our treatments following a deep clean or service call out. This is now available as the PRO 75 Refrigeration Engineering Maintenance kit.
The months following installation of our products the supermarket brand has reported a dramatic decrease in leaks, call-outs and aisle closures.