3M™ Clean-Trace™

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Company: 3M Food Safety, St. Paul, MN
Entry Submitted By: Kohnstamm Communications
Company Description: 3M is a leader of innovative solutions that supports the food and beverage industries in optimizing the quality of their products to enable consumer protection, providing solutions that help mitigate risk, improve operational efficiencies and impact the bottom line.
Nomination Category: Products & Product Management Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Best New Product or Service of the Year - Health & Pharmaceuticals - Product

Nomination Title: 3M™ Clean-Trace™ Hygiene Monitoring and Management System

Tell the story about this nominated product or service (up to 650 words). Describe its function, features, benefits, and performance to date.

In July 2016, after years of research, testing, and customer feedback, 3M Food Safety re-engineered and re-introduced its market-leading Clean-Trace™ Hygiene Monitoring and Management System—technology relied on by food producers and used every day to verify the cleanliness of food processing contact surfaces in order to commence production.

The test involves collecting samples from either physical surfaces or water, which are then inserted into a handheld device. If the sample contains any adenosine triphosphate, a special energy molecule found in all organic cells, including microorganisms, a chemical reaction inside the test produces a low level of light that’s imperceptible to the human eye, but discernable via the instrument. The testing data is then transferred to computers via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection and consolidated into a central dashboard revealing historical patterns and required corrections related to sanitation.

In effort to ensure the technology remains at the top of the industry, the 3M Food Safety’s Clean-Trace R&D team literally immersed themselves within customers’ production environments. Ultimately the scientists and engineers focused on enhancements to improve testing speed, precision and accuracy. To do that, rather than the standard photodiode and silicon-based instrumentation, the developers selected photomultiplier detection technology—the gold standard in scientific fields ranging from astronomy to medical imaging and medical device instrumentation to radiation.

Photomultiplier detection technology is about two times faster and 100 times more sensitive to light that photodiode-based solutions. And whereas photodiode-based systems require, on average, 60 seconds of calibration time after powering up, and 12 to 15 seconds to measure on top of that, 3M’s Clean-Trace takes a swift 8 seconds to power up and less than a minute to measure.

Food safety managers don’t just need their results to be fast; they need them to be precise. By today’s standards, accuracy of less than 90% is considered unacceptable. Clean-Trace’s photomultiplier tubes are so sensitive that they are able to detect a single photon in a second. By contrast, the human eye can’t notice anything smaller than 100,000 photons per second. The previous-generation of Clean-Trace was tested by a third-party lab and shown to produce the most precise, consistent results across time and temperature and between swabs, when compared with several major competing brands. The new system is surpassing those results, with improvements to sensitivity and repeatability doubling, not to mention the time-to-result being 40% faster.

After just nine months on the market, Clean-Trace has now been launched in over 20 global seminars, workshops and events and has netted $45M in sales, with 5.6% organic volume growth. To date, 175 end-user customers have been trained, over 50 distributor reps have been trained, and a global communications platform has been developed. Additionally, a successful global launch was achieved within 45 days of product release, and the product launch has seen a 10.2% Large Cap Growth category growth.

Perhaps the best sign of success can be heard through the praise from its commercial clients. One customer noted “If I was to build a system…this is exactly what I would do.” Another describes the Clean-Trace Hygiene Monitoring and Management System as “exactly what the industry needs to help move it forward.”

In bullet-list form, briefly summarize up to ten (10) of the chief features and benefits of the nominated product or service.

-Accuracy – The system ensures that secure data can’t be changed on hardware and has a self-diagnostic check on startup; the device allows entry of additional pre-op test data, including visual inspection.
-Speed – The system, aside from enabling speed in the process itself, enables users to be audit-ready through easily scheduled and customizable reports.
-Accessibility – The system is available in 23 languages for multilingual pre-production teams.
-Optical technology – The systems multiplier technology was reengineered with photomultiplier detectors, the gold standard in medical devices, medical imaging, aerospace and other fields of science.
-Ease-of-use/software – The system was upgraded for enhanced usability, with a new, streamlined dashboard interface which presents information where eyes gravitate to, minimizing clicking and allowing reports to be quickly generated. The interface features intuitive navigation screens and menus with sample plans that are easy to follow; the color display is easy to read and photos