Washing and sanitizing pharmaceutical products is crucial to ensure their safety, especially in high-volume applications where time is essential. To address this need, we recently implemented a fully automated solution for one of our clients, a leading pharmaceutical manufacturer.
The challenge our client faced was the need for a simple and efficient way to wash, rinse, and sanitize pallets without any human intervention or risk of cross-contamination. As the company had transitioned to using plastic pallets internally, they would bring their products into the facility on wood pallets and transfer them to plastic ones for in-house use. These plastic pallets were used to store various packaging supplies and materials for manufacturing medicines and pharmaceuticals. However, due to the extended storage periods of some raw materials, certain pallets would accumulate warehouse dust during the infrequent intervals between uses.
Previously, the company would manually wash these pallets in a wet room by spraying them off with a hose to remove the dust. However, this process was slow and inefficient, prompting them to seek a more effective solution. While they had considered standalone manual machines, these options were labor-intensive, lacked high-pressure nozzles, and did not allow for water recirculation and pallet sanitization after washing.
To address these challenges, we developed a customized automated washing system for their facility. We started by constructing a dedicated room for washing pallets, where an automated guided vehicle (AGV) would transport the dirty pallets onto the conveyor leading into the washing system. The AGV would pick up a stack of 10 pallets from a station in the plant and deposit them onto the infeed conveyor section. The conveyor would then de-stack the pallets one by one, tipping them on their edge to allow horizontal travel into the washer.
Inside the washer, a series of pressurized jets would efficiently remove any dust and debris that had accumulated on the pallets during storage. The pallets would then move on to the rinsing and sanitizing area before proceeding to the dryer. After drying, the clean pallets would be restacked and picked up by the AGV. We also incorporated high-speed doors into the system to effectively separate the wet and dry areas.
Another important consideration for this project was the heating and recirculation of the washing water. We integrated a built-in filtration system to remove any debris that may fall from the pallets during the washing process. Additionally, we utilized in-plant steam to heat and maintain the hot water temperature, making it safe for recirculation. Operators have the flexibility to adjust the conveyor speed to match the cleaning requirements of each pallet. At maximum speed, the conveyors can wash and dry 100 pallets per hour.
At Cherry’s, we offer fully automatic and semi-automatic pallet washing systems that meet the strict standards of the food, pharmaceutical, and chemical industries. If you’re interested in learning more about our products, you can review our selection of pallet washers and pallet dryers on our website. For custom pallet washing solutions, please feel free to reach out to us, and our customer representatives will be happy to provide you with the information you need.