Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Final Report Summary - CLEANSURF (Durable biofilm-restraining surfaces and cleaning procedures for the food processing industry)

Executive Summary:
As worldwide, an average of 200 000 people are added to the world food demand each day, this brings the tendency of world’s human population to reach 9.2 billion by 2050. The population growth tendency lead to an increase of the food demand worldwide, moreover the efficient and safe food production becomes a prerequisite for building a society capable of feeding the growing population.
With the world population growing at extraordinary rates and the consequent repercussions in the dietary and consumption habits, it is estimated that food production has to be increased at least by 70% in the next 30 years, with the looming threat of a proportional surge of food-borne diseases, which will occur predictably.
This is particularly true for the most striking cause of these outbreaks, to which the food industry did not seem to have found effective counter-measures so far: biofouling, which is the contamination of surfaces with hygienically relevant microorganisms and their eventual development and implementation into biofilms. There is currently not a thorough, effective and integrated solution to eliminate biofouling completely. This has a negative impact both on the economic performances of the enterprises and on their image, affecting product quality and quantity, forcing preventive overdosing of biocides and cleaners, and causing production downtime for cleaning and disinfection cycles. The food industry needs to improve anti-fouling strategies and to effective implement them into the production process.
The coating result of the Cleansurf project is conceived to attack the biofouling through the development of new durable surface coatings to reduce biofilm build-up and facilitate the removal of biofilm and through fine-tuning of the cleaning process to suit the new surfaces.
The CLEANSURF project has developed and tested the coatings with biofilm restraining properties tailor-made for the food industry in order to:
1. increase effectiveness and productivity by expanding the cleaning intervals and by decreasing the down-time of production equipment enforced by current cleaning procedures;
2. reduce the usage of environmentally harmful chemicals;
3. reduce the energy and water consumption. The coating will be an organic/hybrid silane based coating manufactured by the Sol-Gel approach.
The growing of the food production and consumption represents a huge market opportunity for European companies going into global markets with a competitive edge achieved also through the CLEANSURF innovation.

Project Context and Objectives:
The Cleansurf project aimed to develop a novel organic/hybrid silane based coating, manufactured by a Sol-gel approach, applying 3 innovative technology approaches developed at DTI, but currently not matured and applied for the food industry:
A. Bio-functionalization: Enzymes with antifouling properties:
B. Nano-functionalization: Nanoparticles with antifouling properties:
C. Ultra-smooth surfaces

Through an economical and environmental sustainable approach it is aimed to improve the processing food equipment, cleaning and disinfection processes, attaining to the strategic and operational objectives, herein formulated:

The strategic objectives are as follows:
• To improve the SME’s competiveness in the food and juice industry market, by introducing the successful approach of the Cleansurf coating in the production processes, thanks to the technology scalability, energy savings, chemical and water savings and productivity increase.
• To properly design the heat pump in order to install it in existing refrigerated small size van, respecting the volumes and weights thresholds, making easier the integration.
• To promote the technology concept among the key audience and primary stakeholders, disseminating the key message that producing cold without consuming fuel is possible.

The operational objectives of the project are as follows:
• Initial feasibility study and test scenarios, realized through the requirements/specifications matrix under the WP1
• Selection of the most promising 3 to 5 coating solutions for further development
• Biofilm retarding effect achieved
• Selection of the coating for the field tests
• Cleaning procedures and scale-up defined
• Industrial tests completed

The tangible outcomes of the Cleansurf project, available to SMEs partners for exploitation are:
• Cleansurf sol-gel coating
• Cleansurf Industrial production process
• Cleansurf Industrial coating process, both coating and production processes meant to be scaled-up from lab-scale to industrial equipment
Target market for Cleansurf project is represented by the machinery and equipment used in the food processing and packaging industry, globally represented by manufacturers and users for processing and packaging for milk, beverages, fruit, vegetables, meat and fish. The market trend has reached a constant growth during the last years reaching revenues of $21.7 billion in 2012 and $23 billion in 2013, being estimate to reach about $31.3 billion by 2018, rising at a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.3% from 2013 to 2018 . Specifically, in the project, the huge market of the food industry has been narrowed to only the liquid and dairy industries, for the purpose of better focus of the technical activities in this two specific sectors, but also, because they are the main interest of the SME partners business activities.

Project Results:
The CLEANSURF project was structured in such a way to start immediately after the Kick Off Meeting with the concept development in WP1 and collection of the SME requirements and definition of the RTD specifications, being a solid base for the chemical engineering related to the coating development and the first tests and evaluation (under WP2 and WP3), which were addressed in parallel. The main outcomes of the WP2 and WP3 were then used for WP4, involving investigations and studies for the future industrial implementation of the coating.
The preliminary results of the WP3 represented the basis for the development of the testing protocol, followed during the field tests (at the end of the project lifecycle – P2). The Project management (WP7) and the Dissemination (task 6.1 under WP6) activities have been planned from M1 until the end of the project. The Exploitation and Marketing activities (Task 6.2 and 6.3) have been planned from M8 until the end of the project.
Following this section, we will briefly describe the objectives and outcomes achieved for each WP, not anymore for the period, as most of the WP have started in the Reporting Period 1 and have finished in the second period.
Work performed under WP1 – CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT
The very beginning of the project was dedicated to the activities for the identification of the suitable application scenarios. The first task was carried out with the support of the whole Consortium and large contributions came from the beneficiary SMEs. The report produced at the end of this task, contains the definition of the scenarios in which the CLEANSURF system should be applied and a preliminary analysis of the target market.
After a general market research and competitor’s analysis on both scenarios, we are able to conclude that due to the innovation provided by CLEANSURF project, currently in the food industry does not exist a similar solution, representing an advantage for the SME’s involved in the project that, if able to exploit the innovation in time, they could be the “first movers” in their market’s segments benefitting of all the competitive advantages that this fact may bring. Also, the user requirements were collected by the RTDPs from the SMEs, and the technical specifications were defined by the RTDs. The product requirements/specifications matrix was completed in duly time for starting the WP2 and WP3.
This Work Package utilized, as input, the main outcomes of the WP1, and started at M3 and continued up to the M18 of the project. The first task addressed the bio-functionalization of coatings, and included topics such as screening literature for relevant biomolecules for the relevant application with one or two relevant for selection, formulation and adjustment of sol-gel matrix for each biomolecule, and application and curing of each bio-functionalized coating.
Under the second task, the functionalizing the coatings with nano- or micro-particles was realized, incorporating one or two types of nanoparticle in a suitable coating matrix to obtain a biofilm reducing effect. This will entail formulation and adjustment of sol-gel matrix for each nanoparticle, screening literature for relevant nanoparticles in order to choose one or two relevant particle types, application and curing of each nano-functionalised coating. Finally, the third task addressed ultra-smooth surface coating approach with the aim to develop ultra-smooth surfaces based on sol-gel coating technology by incorporating commercially available additives and silanes.
Work performed under WP3 – COATING TEST AND EVALUATION
Several types of coatings developed within WP2 were tested for their “biofouling potential” and the “easy to clean” property, in relation to stainless steel surface. Under the WP2 a biofilm formation test system has been conceived, a method has been chosen to quantify the high sensitivity fouling layer, the assessment of the fouling potential of the DTI coating was done against the test system, the cleaning experimental set up has been establish, and nonetheless the toxicological tests in accordance with the European harmonisation 4MS Approach for materials used in drinking water were performed.
The work package 4, Implementation at industrial level has been entirely planned for the second period of the project, precisely M15, with a duration of 10 months, being a work package in which the collaboration of all partners has been required. Under this WP, the technical activities have led to the obtaining of the following results: the effect and the performance of the Cleansurf coating on the food equipment, the comparative analysis of the Life Cycle cost analysis for the existing equipment retrofitted with the new coating and subsequently the environmental impact of the new coating as a new retrofitting technology within the Life Cycle Framework. It has been also developed the process scale up for mass manufacturing of the coating and deposition process.
Work performed under WP5 – FIELD TESTS
The WP5 regarded the field tests, which it has been decided to be performed at the End User partner of the project, PACE, and even if the actual testing phase took short time, the activities concerned the design, purchasing of components, assembly and functionality tests of the bypass plant, to the main Dairy plant, present at PACE. Also, it regarded several activities performed in the first period of the period, for the definition of the testing protocol for the final field tests.
Two particular points have been selected. Coated surfaces were exposed to milk on site at the production in small reactors, in bypass system, testing and assessing the application of the coatings, which have been selected in WP3.
The WP6 was planned and performed for the entire project lifecycle and it was made up of activities, aligned with the state of maturity of the research activities. The main objectives of the WP6 were broadly focused on disseminating and communicating the state of the project, the objectives and results achieved, designing a common exploitation strategy and managing of the IPR- related issues.
An overview analysis of the reference market has been depicted highlighting market segmentations addressed to the CLEANSURF project.
The Exploitation Manager, together with the other SMEs partners, have planned the strategy of the exploitation plan, which included further assumptions and decisions taken in the second period between the SME partners, in addition to those already foreseen in the Description of work and assumptions made in the first period, such as a commercial agreement between RESCOLL (interested to become the exclusive manufacturer of the CLEANSURF coating) and FENCO.
The exploitation plan has been defined in its final version completed at the end of the project, M24, as well as the final strategy for the IPR management protection plan and the transfer of knowledge agreed. Finally, the dissemination activities and strategies have been planned in the first period and performed in the second period. The dissemination strategies, tools and activities were reviewed throughout the project duration to support the emerging and evolving needs of the project.
In addition to the results and objectives accomplished at the end of the project, we list inhere the Milestones planned and accomplished during the project.
▪ - MS1 - SELECTION OF THE MOST PROMISING (3-5) COATING SOLUTIONS FOR FURTHER DEVELOPMENT (WP2, DTI), According to the DoW, based on the results generated in Task 2.1, 2.2 and 2.3 the most promising coating solutions will be selected. Well in advance of the MS2 delivery date (month 9), four coatings have been chosen for further refinement given their performance in the bacterial adhesion screening tests run by IWW.
▪ - MS2 – INITIAL FEASIBILITY STUDY AND TEST SCENARIOS (WP1, FENCO), in line with the DoW, all partners, especially from the SMEs, carried out the feasibility study assessing the main scenarios of interest within the CLEANSURF project as well as a preliminary research of target market with great involvement. Within the D1.1, they analysed also the barriers to entry and the main competitors related to both scenarios: liquid food and drink processing equipment and dairy industry.
▪ - MS3 – BIOFILM RETARDING ACHIEVED (GO-NO GO DECISION FOR THE CLEANSURF PROJECT (WP3 – IWW leader) - An improved performance of the Cleansurf coating has been confirmed. Criteria: biofilm formation compared to standard stainless steel surfaces is < 50% or; remaining biofilm after cleaning procedure is < 50% compared to cleaned stainless steel surface; or cleaning effort is lower in case of Cleansurf surface/coatings compared to stainless steel surface resulting in at least same biofilm removal.
▪ - MS4 – SELECTION OF THE COATING FOR FIELD TESTING (WP2, DTI leader), a coating will be selected for the field tests. Starting from the initial four coatings chosen for further refinement, based on their performance in the bacterial adhesion screening tests run by IWW, a further selection has been performed, the final coating choice is represented by the A3 coating.
▪ - MS5 – CLEANING PROCEDURES AND SCALE-UP PROCEDURES (WP4, LABOR), Development of cleaning procedures and scale-up procedures. Under the task 4.3 of the WP4, Industrial implementation, several studies have been performed in the cleaning procedures at large scale and also the scaling-up and coating deposition at industrial level of the production process.
▪ - MS6 – INDUSTRIAL TESTS COMPLETED (WP5, PACE) Under the task 5.3 In-filed coating testing, the tests have been performed at the end-user plant, PACE premises, and the evaluation of the coating performances have been assessed.

Potential Impact:
The 3 tangible results expected from the project are here listed and their output described in terms of commercial potential and impact, nonetheless the business benefits for the SME’s involved.
Result 1 Cleansurf coating
Result no. 1 is owned by RESCOLL and FENCO (50% ownership), but the exploitation agreements taken between the two SME, give each other advantages to pay off the shared ownership of this result.
Result 2 Cleansurf Industrial production process and Result 3 Cleansurf Industrial coating process
Result no. 2 is owned by all SME’s and exclusive economic benefits are granted to all SME to compensate the share of the result.
Market objectives and expected benefits for the SMEs
FENCO, a leading SME in the manufacturing of food processing equipment, sees an important market opportunity for launching a new class of food processing equipment with biofilm restraining capabilities, based on an innovative technology, which exploits a new kind of Sol-Gel coatings offering superior hygienic properties. FENCO is the exclusive CLEANSURF equipment manufacturer for liquid-food industry, especially dedicated to the juices, puree and concentrates processing industry and the type of equipment for which the coating process will be implemented are the sterilizers and pasteurizers. FENCO also have the right distribute worldwide the coated equipment, through direct distribution and licensing agreements, but exclusivity in the use of the coating for equipment manufacturing is retained for the liquid food industry only. A number of 10 CLEANSURF plants will be provided for “free” to FENCO customer’s for the purpose of monitoring and cleaning process, by RESCOLL.

RESCOLL, a leading SME provider of advanced functionality commercial Sol-Gel coatings, considers the project as an opportunity to engage the research-leaders in this field and co-develop a commercial Sol-Gel based coating to be used for large-scale applications in the food industry. The future business benefits comprehend: the exclusivity of being supplier of the sol-gel coating for the application in the food and manufacturer of the Cleansurf coating after the end of the project. RESCOLL can consider to enlarge their market to countries, like France, Spain, Belgium and Germany and to assess the feasibility of extending the technology to the cosmetic and pharmaceutical markets.
IMPULS will have the exclusivity of distribution of the Cleansurf technology and the associated services in Poland.
Finally, PACE, as end user, will take advantage of the novel equipment developed within the CLEANSURF project by being the main beneficiary of the CLEANSURF technology introduction in their own production processes and to have the advantage of being the first mover in the Italian market.

List of Websites:
The CLEANSURF website was online since M4 – February 2014. The aim of the CLEANSURF website was to provide several basic information, since the beginning of the project, to the external audience. It gave in a very immediate way an overview on the expected technical, operational and strategic objectives and on the relevant events in the addressed market.

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