Pola Heidrich, Johannes Richter, Jinyu Li, Arnd Kessler, Michaela Gerstenlauer, Heinz Heißler, Thomas Weber, Rainer Stamminger
November 13, 2019
Automatic dishwashing is a process which takes enormous amounts of resources (energy, water, chemicals). However, most of the dishwashing programs are designed and tested to clean the worst scenario for a certain kind of load items (glass, porcelain, etc.) and do not or only partly adapt to the actual load and soiling conditions. Thus, resources are wasted which could be avoided if a better adaptation to the actual status of the dishwashing process would be possible. It is, therefore, the aim of this study to investigate the possibility of using near-infrared technology to evaluate the status of the dishwashing process by analyzing the content of soil components already dissolved in the dishwashing water. Compared to other methods, the main advantage of near-infrared measurements is the possibility to differentiate between soils or soil components (carbohydrates, fats and protein) at very low concentrations. Near-infrared spectroscopy implemented in an automatic dishwasher could observe and evaluate an automatic dishwashing processes by using online measurements of the detachment of soils from soiled dishes. Thirty-seven model emulsions containing detergent, tap water, different soils and soil concentrations were created and measured by using near-infrared spectroscopy to demonstrate its suitability for the evaluation of dishwashing processes. The spectra were the basis of developing near-infrared calibration models for each soil component using the partial least squares regression method with internal cross-validation. The coefficients of determination in internal cross-validation (R²) are 0.88 for carbohydrates, 0.92 for fats and 0.99 for proteins. Thereafter, the calibration models developed were externally validated with samples of known concentrations of these soil components. The known concentrations were determined during external validation. The results of calibration and evaluation show that it is generally possible to measure very low concentrations of soil components in dishwashing liquor. The applicability to a real dishwashing process and the usage of other soils has yet to be tested.