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How to limit contamination risks while carrying out Brownfield projects in hygienic environments Engineering Hygienic Design Renovation

Brownfield projects in hygienic environments

Imagine you work at a factory where hygienic production processes are the paramount consideration. The installations and areas were designed, built and finished in accordance with the state of the art technology and comply with legislation and directives concerning hygienic designs, such as EHEDG, HACCP and GMP. Given the good results and positive look and feel of the factory, the management of the company now wants to increase production. To fulfil this ambition, a new project is started up to explore the possibilities. As there is no room for a completely new factory, the expansion must be accomplished within the existing buildings.
Initially the project team will concentrate on the design of the process installations, utilities and production rooms. All directives for hygienic designing will be observed. Besides the design of hardware, there will be harmonisation of the process design, zoning philosophy and cleaning philosophy so as to come up with the most efficient design possible. The engineering for this phase presents a multidisciplinary challenge, because harmonisation of the different disciplines is essential in order to produce a good result.

Hygiene zoning is crucial during work in progress

Besides designing the definitive situation, it is extremely important to give thorough consideration at the outset to the feasibility of the project. This must not be confined to the physical possibilities (constructability), such as installing large components. Another essential factor is a good (hygiene) zoning during the performance of the work. In a Brownfield situation, it is highly likely that production will have to continue largely as normal while work is in progress. This necessitates making allowance for active hygiene zoning when carrying out work on the project. This presents some major challenges such as the inward and outward movement of materials, equipment and engineers. Regular transport of people and goods constitutes a serious risk of contamination. Experience with regular use of sluices and changing rooms shows that during the course of a project engineers become less disciplined, thus increasing the contamination risks. Moreover, it is impossible to work efficiently if you constantly have to pass through sluices and changing rooms. Another issue is the need to examine the walking routes of machine operators. It is undesirable for operators and other people to have to get from one place to another via a building site.

Potential solutions?

Potential solutions include creating a demarcated building site and dedicated routes for materials, equipment and people. As far as possible the walking routes for operators and engineers must be kept separate. The work area can be cordoned off and provided with positive or negative pressure, depending on the pressure in the adjacent production locations. Because of the layout and volumes of the production areas. This may, however, have a significant impact on the investments required and the lead time of a project.

To exercise control, it is possible to create an inspection regime with regular sampling at critical locations whereby the contamination risk is deemed to be highest. In the case of a project, this makes it very important to start by conducting a baseline measurement in order to keep past nonconformities outside the scope of the project. If nonconformities are observed, a plan to manage them will have to be drawn up and the necessary measures taken. Early identification will limit the impact on the project and on regular production as far as possible.
This article shows that carrying out a project in a Brownfield hygienic environment is not merely a question of having a good engineering design. A solid plan for performing the work will reduce the risks of contamination during work performance and will increase the likelihood of accomplishing the desired project result.

Would you like to know more about the possibilities for your project? Jeroen will be pleased to share ideas about your engineering issues. Contact him by email or call​ 088 943 3700.
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