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Trial confirms savings from new knife sanitiser

24 May 2024
Trial confirms savings from new knife sanitiser

A new tool for sanitising knives has delivered huge savings on water, energy and emissions during in-plant trials and evaluation by the South Australian Research and Development Institute.

AMPC-funded trials in March and April at three plants – two processing cattle and one processing sheep – demonstrated the Econoliser was equivalent to traditional sterilisers at several stations, but with greatly reduced operational costs. The current constant flow steriliser is a pot that keeps water at a minimum temperature of 82°C and overflows at a rate of four to eight litres per minute. By contrast, the new Econoliser uses about 140ml per cleaning cycle for a pre-rinsed knife, delivering a 4.5 second spray of water at 35psi that is hotter than 82°C.

A comparison of estimated annual running costs for the two systems in an infrequent use steriliser setting, such as the carton meat assessment table in the boning room, showed potable water and energy bills were 99 per cent lower with the Econoliser and it generated 99 per cent fewer tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. 

Comparison of annual running costs (per unit)


Current system











CO2 emissions

13.2 tonnes

0.1 tonnes

–13.1 tonnes


Estimated payback time for a unit is six months, depending on location and frequency of use.

AMPC Program Manager Matt Deegan said operators at one of the plants that took part in the trial were so impressed by the results that they adopted an Econoliser unit permanently and have successfully gained federal government approval for its use.

This provides a pathway for potential national approval by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry which would make broadscale adoption easier, and opens the door for other sterilising units from Econoliser manufacturer Airtech Distribution Ltd., such as for saws and cutters.

“Reducing potable water consumption and energy for heating water are really important because energy translates to emissions,” Matt says.

“And living in Australia we all need to find ways to be more efficient with water.”

Matt says red meat customers in Australia and overseas, including supermarket chains and multinational corporations, were all looking to their supply chains for improvements in resource efficiency. 

“That flows through to everyone that makes food, across the whole of agriculture and food processing,” he says.

A recording of a project webinar held in April can be viewed at

A final report on the research is due in September.

Contact for more information.