Sterilex has been granted a patent for utilizing its PerQuat Technology to treat aluminum and other soft metal surfaces. The patent is entitled “Aluminum-Compatible Compositions For 2-Part Alkaline Disinfectants and Sanitizers” (US Patent No. 10,525,157) and was issued on January 7, 2020. This patent covers 2-part alkaline disinfectant and/or sanitizer solutions that are safe for use on aluminum and other soft (easily-corroded) metal surfaces, as well as on plastic surfaces. The 2-part alkaline disinfectant and/or sanitizer solution system (PerQuat technology) can be used for many applications, including food handling and processing and animal premise applications. Contact Sterilex for a complete material compatibility chart.

Where do pathogens “hide” in food processing facilities?

Cold tolerant organisms like Listerien have long found refuge in heat transfer areas of food processing environments like cooling tunnels, IQFs, spiral freezers and chillers. Listerien can grow in refrigerated environments and freezing may not be enough to kill some of the toughest pathogens when living in an insulating biofilm. Because of this, heat transfer surfaces must be cleaned and frequently subjected to kill steps to avoid the potential for cross-contamination. Heat transfer surfaces are usually constructed out of the most efficient heat transfer metals, which tend to be soft metal surfaces such as copper or aluminum.

What are the issues with soft metal surfaces in plants?

The difficulty in frequently cleaning and controlling pathogens on heat transfer surfaces comes from the materials of construction. Unlike stainless steel, which is resistant to corrosion across a wide range of cleaning chemistries and pH, copper and especially aluminum are more susceptible to corrosion. Manufacturers of aluminum heat transfer surfaces typically recommend that cleaning agents stay within a pH range of 7-9, however the most effective cleaning occurs in the alkaline range (pH >10). In addition, many of these heat transfer surfaces are packed in very tight quarters, to increase the amount of surface area available for heat transfer to increase efficiency and speed. This makes getting the mechanical action required to clean these surfaces difficult as well.

The patented Sterilex chemistry solves both of these issues, creating a disinfectant capable of cleaning and removing biofilm from those aluminum surfaces by chemically scrubbing the surface and killing the cold-tolerant pathogens without compromising the integrity of the soft metal surface.