New peracid sanitizer technology helps Schroeder protect 113-year-old reputation.

Jim Schultz, v.p. of Operations; Karl Blinderman, production mgr.; and Carl Schroeder, chief operating officer, Schroeder Company; Jim Paul, Ecolab executive acct. mgr. for Schroeder Company.

Since 1884, the Schroeder family has owned and operated a fluid milk plant in St. Paul, Minnesota. Like any successful business with more than one hundred years of history, the Schroeder Company thrives as a result of hard work, continuous improvement and valued partnerships.

In 2005, Schroeder began trials using the EPA-registered Octave sanitizing system from Ecolab. Schroeder quickly discovered that by monitoring the conductivity of Octave, they were able to confirm sanitizer dose accuracy with enhanced precision. With this ability to verify and document correct sanitizer concentrations during the CIP cycle, Schroeder has decreased the need for manual titrations, while increasing their CIP efficiencies and quality assurance.

“Working together with suppliers, like Ecolab, has been one of the keys to our company’s longevity and prosperity,” says Carl Schroeder, chief operating officer at Schroeder. “We count on our trusted partners to bring us new products and innovations that increase operational efficiencies and help improve product quality. Octave from Ecolab is an excellent example of this collaborative advantage.”

Jim Schultz, Schroeder’s v.p. of operations identified another time-saving benefit of the Octave sanitizing system. “It nearly eliminated our need for de-gassing and manual re-priming,” he reports. With a higher viscosity and lower volatility, Octave flows smoothly through Schroeder’s pumps and hoses to greatly reduce incidence of vapor lock and keep Schroeder’s milk production on schedule.

Prior to using Octave, Schroeder plant employees were reluctant to use the central sanitizing hoses to spray milk spills because the mixed peracid sanitizer caused milk to curdle on equipment surfaces and the floor. The alternative was to use house water for rinsing, which presented the risk of contamination. The lower pH of Octave has eliminated the occurrence of spilled milk curdling on the equipment by actually solubilizing the milk proteins. Now, instead of using the house water to rinse away spills, Octave enables plant employees to easily flush milk spills with the central sanitizer system hoses, reducing curdled milk on equipment surfaces and improving sanitization results.

Schroeder has also discovered that Octave’s lower pH aids in the removal of mineral soil and improves the shine of stainless steel. Standard peracid sanitizers do not remove mineral acid film due to a higher pH level. By facilitating the removal of water film from equipment surfaces and the interiors of tanks and lines, Octave offers Schroeder the advantages of an acid wash cycle without requiring additional rinsing, and the number of steps in the  CIP program.

In addition to providing operational efficiencies, Octave has an improved odor profile. Previously, employees complained of a strong odor while sanitizing the HTST at start up.  To evaluate the performance of Octave’s lower oxidizer concentration and low level of total volatile organic compounds versus a mixed peracid sanitizer, an air monitoring device was used to measure air quality before HTST start up and during the sanitizer step for each sanitizer. Octave provided only a 3% increase in TVOC over baseline and only a 30% increase in oxidizer. Octave’s milder oxidizer smell has virtually eliminated employee odor complaints.  

Schroeder’s direct interaction with Ecolab and the exceptional expertise and service Ecolab provides has allowed Schroeder to effectively improve their operation over the years. As the fourth generation to run the company, Carl Schroeder is committed to strategically and successfully managing the business. “As the next generation in sanitizing, it only makes sense that we use Octave,” Schroeder says. “Octave helps me to protect my great-grandfather’s legacy for many generations to come.” n



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