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Hygienic design is a critical factor in industries where safety, efficiency, and product quality are vital.
In this podcast episode, we delve into the world of hygienic design, discussing its fundamental principles, the benefits it offers, and the challenges it presents.
In the episode, you’ll learn about:
To answer these questions, we have invited Tomas Hecht Olsen, who is the chief technical officer, and also deals with research and development at NGI Hygienic Components to the studio.
Your host is Mikkel Svold.
Listed below are the essential timestamps from the podcast episode to make it easier to find the topics that interest you.
Full Episode Transcription
Mikkel Svold (00:11):
In an industry where every design choice can influence safety, efficiency and also product quality, hygienic design doesn't just matter, it's a real game changer. Welcome to this second episode of this podcast, and we call this episode, Optimizing Hygienic Design for Competitive Advantage. I'm Mikkel Svold, and today we are joined by Tomas Hecht Olsen, who is the chief technical officer, and also deals with research and development at NGI Hygienic Components.
Welcome to you, Tomas.
Tomas Hecht Olsen (00:41):
Mikkel Svold (00:41):
To set the stage now, Tomas, how would you define hygienic design?
Tomas Hecht Olsen (00:48):
It is a very big question, and I'm asked this very often. There's a lot of programs and knowledge about it, there's a lot of writing about it. But for me it's like thinking surfaces, roundnesses, drainability, cleanability, making actually also at the same time, quite a new machine. This is the chance to redesign a machine, make it better, but of course easier to clean. It's a combination of looking at all the things a machine needs to do, then redesigning so that you can easily clean it.
Of course, you have to look at the standards also. It has to be exactly to standards to get a certification, yes. But it's not actually necessary to make a hygienic design. Hygienic design can just be thinking hygienic.
Mikkel Svold (01:56):
When we were talking before we turned on the mics, you mentioned common sense also.
Tomas Hecht Olsen (02:00):
Mikkel Svold (02:00):
What does that mean? And can you be sure that people have the same common sense? Do you know what I mean?
Tomas Hecht Olsen (02:07):
Most people have tried to wash floors and furnitures and everything, so we all know where water runs and what is difficult to clean. I mean, underneath there's simply rules. Everything has to be drainable, it's logical. Everything has to be like if you have two pieces put together, you need to have something in between so that you don't have water and dirt stuck there, so follow the relatively simple standard. I know that there are really a lot of things you have to read, but it's not that difficult.
Normally I would say four rules, maybe five. But something like surfaces, radius, material choice, drainability, and then you're a long way.
Mikkel Svold (03:03):
Do you generally see that people are focusing a lot on these four or five things you mentioned and on hygienic design, or is that something that is still in development?
Tomas Hecht Olsen (03:13):
I think most people actually gets afraid of how many rules and regulations, if you think about EHEDGE, 3-A, USDA and so on. But they are quite alike. Of course, if you have a very complex machine, yeah, everything gets complex. I think very much about, okay, if you start small.
Start with, for example, the machine foot. That's a simple way to start something hygienic. Then you go to, let's say, a caster or a leveling foot, no, a load cell. I mean, start small and then build them together. And then suddenly you have a whole hygienic, certifiable machine. Start easy.
Mikkel Svold (04:16):
It's basically one step at a time...
Tomas Hecht Olsen (04:18):
Mikkel Svold (04:18):
... or one small piece at the time you need to, I guess, optimize.
Tomas Hecht Olsen (04:23):
Customers are looking at these machines like, "Okay, where do I start?" Just start with a small bite.
Mikkel Svold (04:29):
And when you say customers, that will be the machine builders basically?
Tomas Hecht Olsen (04:32):
Yeah. And also, I think the end user is sometimes confused. Because they read all this stuff and doesn't know how really to say to the end user, okay, this is what I need, because there's so much written about this. What I try to do is to show them, okay, you can take one piece at a time. So, maybe change your machine feet, then change your casters, then change your bolts and nuts or whatever.
Mikkel Svold (05:09):
And now, to me not knowing much about how the machines are actually built and how the, so to say, industry is buying machines and developing machines, it sounds like a rather expensive process. How's the trade-off? Designing for hygiene, high hygiene I guess, how does that translate into, I guess, a competitive advantage for both the machine builder but also in the end, I guess, the brand owners? That could be Nestle, Mendelez..
Tomas Hecht Olsen (05:46):
It is difficult to make hygienic design same price or even cheaper. Sometimes we succeed in this. But you have to take into calculation, for example, the advantages when you clean. And of course, this is not for the machine builder, but it's for the end user. You use less water, you use less chemicals, detergents, and so on. For the end user it's really a good thing. But then of course, then he would have to maybe pay a little bit more for this machine.
But for the machine builder, I would say that it makes this machine very often much better looking. It makes it more cutting edge. It looks a little bit like this is maybe Mercedes.. It shines quality.
Mikkel Svold (06:44):
That's a really interesting take on that. That basically means hygienic design that also adds to the brand value of the manufacturer.
Tomas Hecht Olsen (06:55):
Definitely. What we make, I mean, a really milled or grinded stainless steel, we can see this is stainless steel, combined with deep blue sealings, that alone is... Okay, I designed it so I..
Mikkel Svold (07:13):
Tomas Hecht Olsen (07:17):
I mean, it's so nice, it's so beautiful to make it. I love it. I dream about this all.
Mikkel Svold (07:26):
And do you see that for the machine builders and also, I guess, the end users, does that feel of quality spill over?
Tomas Hecht Olsen (07:36):
Yeah, I definitely think so. And the machines look better. For me, it looks terrible when I see a machine with fully-threaded machine feets underneath. And I like this, the logo and everything. But also, when we put in the load cells and the seismic feets, and even now our bearing houses and casters, they just make the machine something... It's like if you have a really nice car, you don't put old wheels on it. They have to have nice wheels. It's...
Mikkel Svold (08:21):
I did not expect the interview to go this direction, I must admit. But I'm also thinking there must also be some challenges that these companies face when they're trying to implement hygienic design. And again, I'm talking about the machine builders.
Tomas Hecht Olsen (08:37):
Mikkel Svold (08:38):
What challenges do they face when they're trying to improve the hygiene of their designs, and how do you navigate that? What challenges do you normally see?
Tomas Hecht Olsen (08:49):
The easiest thing would just be for them to call me and I can... The challenges, I think, it's drainability, it's design, and it's thinking it in from the beginning. Because a lot of things you cannot change later on, so of course they face some challenges. And it will be a bit more expensive. But it looks better, and it sends the right signal.
In a time like this, for example, when it's important to take care of resources, water, detergent... And also especially, I think, after COVID. When we realized that something terrible can happen if we don't look out for... Now, COVID didn't come from...
Mikkel Svold (09:39):
No, but Listeria or some other outbreak.
Tomas Hecht Olsen (09:39):
But we have a lot like Listeria or other bacteria. I mean, if we really look at the risks here, and there's a lot of accident that happens out there, hygienic designs help not for these things to happen. It's...
Mikkel Svold (10:01):
Yeah. And also, now you mentioned COVID. I guess fair to say that we are talking quite a lot about the food industry as the end user, but frankly it could also be pharmaceuticals, medicine companies or any other company that basically needs to have the entire production line completely clean, where you have a risk of transferring bacteria from one place...
Tomas Hecht Olsen (10:26):
Mikkel Svold (10:26):
... to another. And you say, as the machine builder, the challenge is basically that you need to think it in from the beginning. But what if I have a successful machine that I've sold to hundreds and hundreds of companies out there, does it make sense to say if you can retrofit hygienic design? How do you mend that? Because not always is it possible to redesign something from the very beginning, top down, or bottom up.
Tomas Hecht Olsen (11:00):
All our products we try to make so that you can use it for a retrofit. It's not possible all the time, but most of the time you can just retrofit with our products. At least this is our goal, to do it. It's interesting. Can we do this? It depends on the company actually. But we help a lot of companies out there, changing machine feets. And also casters, they get worn out, so you need to change them anyway, so why don't buy the best in the world?
I mean, I do the design, so actually it's not so much... The salespeople, I know, are really talking a lot about retrofitting. This is where I can help you on that question.
Mikkel Svold (12:09):
I guess looking forward in talking about this hygienic design, and looking forward in growth, the technology and, I guess, also the industry standards that might evolve from your point of view, what do you see in the future and near future and far future maybe of changes in the developments that people should look out for?
Tomas Hecht Olsen (12:34):
I think the descriptions and the rules and guidelines will be better and better, so it will be easier for, as you said, both end users and machine builders to follow them. We will definitely make a lot of new products, come up with really a lot of products. Looking into that, I think first of all, we will see a growth, really a big growth in hygienic design machines, maybe not all.
It's not actually expected by the rules, they just have to... Certifiable, but they just have to think hygienic. And...
Mikkel Svold (13:23):
It's coming back to the common sense bit, actually also.
Tomas Hecht Olsen (13:25):
Yeah, actually. It is. And then, of course, I would say that within maybe five or 10 years, we will see legislation. Because then it would be a demand from the end user, for example, that this machine has to accommodate these rules. It is actually also with the 3-A in the States, very necessary to follow the rules there.
Mikkel Svold (13:56):
That's really great. Now Tomas, before we wrap this up, do you have any final thoughts or some guidance that businesses might need that we haven't already touched upon?
Tomas Hecht Olsen (14:06):
I would have the advice that, just start it. It doesn't matter if it's certifiable or whatever, just start with the small steps. As we talked about, the small steps and common sense. That is what really is a good thing. I mean, it's good for the environment, it's good for everything. Start small, and it gets better and better.
Mikkel Svold (14:33):
And then you can always progress to bigger and more complex elements or components of your machine, if so.
Tomas Hecht Olsen (14:40):
And we do so. I mean, we learned a lot from the first machine foot, and use that in developing further products.
Mikkel Svold (14:52):
Thank you so much, Tomas Hecht Olsen for joining us today.
Tomas Hecht Olsen (14:54):
Mikkel Svold (14:55):
It was really interesting having you here also with a more, I guess, design, technical, at least, angle to this topic.
And to you, dear listener, I hope you enjoyed this episode. And if you want to keep getting these podcasts, don't forget to hit the subscribe button. And if you like the episode and maybe other episodes, if you've heard, please go give us a five-star rating and maybe even a short review if you want to. That really helps us quite a lot, spreading this podcast out, so please don't hesitate to do that. That'll be a big help to us.
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