(Nov. 19) The next generation of thermoform packaging machines from Kansas City, Mo.-based Multivac Inc. are not only easy to clean on the outside.

They clean themselves on the inside, too.

Much like a dishwasher, Multivac’s new form-fill-seal packaging systems — the R535 is the first model off the assembly line — is capable of self-cleaning, the first of its kind with that ability, said Jerry Hirsh, the company’s marketing manager.

“This is really the first machine with clean-in-place technology in the packaging industry,” he said. “It’s setting the standard for what is the very best path to take to guarantee you have the easiest time implementing sanitation procedures.”

After a pre-cleaning, a cleaning program can be started on the R535 with the push of a button, controlled from a central system, Hirsh said.

The standardized, logged process ensures adherence to predetermined cleaning cycles and dosages and mixtures of sanitizing chemicals. Internal component groups are cleaned automatically by an extensive system of jets and pipes.

Food safety is what the new R535 and its soon-to-be-released sister models are all about, Hirsh said. In addition to the pioneering clean-in-place technology, the new line of thermoformers is easy to clean on the outside, he said.

Crevices, grooves and other water collectors have been removed to prevent water pooling and bacteria growth, Hirsh said. After it’s hosed down, the R535 will drip-dry completely.

“This machine is the culmination of long process of continually refining packaging machinery to make it as hygiene-friendly as possible,” Hirsh said.