A Clean in Place (CIP) system automatically cleans and sterilizes process equipment and transfer lines. Workers do not need to dismantle equipment for manual vessel cleaning, which takes a lot of time and can still have a high risk of error. A vessel can “look” clean but still have bacteria or residue in hard-to-reach crevices.
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Why should I get a Clean in Place system?
CIP is critical for industries which have to comply with industry regulations such as the Food Safety Modernization Act and the ANSI/ISA-88. Under FDA CFR21 (Federal Regulations Code 21), pharmaceuticals even have to document their vessel cleaning procedures.
The industries that use Clean in Place systems to meet hygiene and sanitation standards are:
- Food/Dairy. Milk and dairy products are particularly vulnerable to spoilage and the rapid growth of bacteria. Ingredients with high sugar content are prone to caramelization, while sticky powders can cling to vessel walls.
- Breweries. Large-capacity vessels may require multiple spray devices to be properly cleaned. A phosphoric acid wash may be required in some cases to remove beerstone build-up.
- Beverage. CIP is used to clean water and syrup product lines to remove scale, bacteria and other foreign bodies to prevent flavor carryover and bacteria build-up, and improve shelf life.
- Cosmetics. Like the food industry, cosmetics manufacturers need to prevent bacteria growth, particularly in products that do not use preservatives like parabens. However, the ingredients are very sticky, oily and water resistant. The design of the vessels may have baffles, mixers or other parts that cause shadowing or areas where the vessel cleaning solution can’t reach).
- Pharmaceuticals. Usually have the highest level of Clean in Place technology, particularly due to increased potency of active ingredients, which increases standards for operator protection.
Benefits of Clean in Place Systems
However, many processing companies are using stricter vessel cleaning processes simply because it makes business sense. Benefits include:
- Increased production. Spend less time cleaning, and more time making products.
- Lower costs. You can control the amount of water and energy used, and recover some of the vessel cleansing solutions for re-use.
- Employee safety. Workers are not directly exposed to cleaning agents.
- Improved product quality, consistency and safety. Contamination can lead to product recalls and loss of brand confidence. CIPs help you keep a “clean” reputation.
According to Transparency Market Research, with its increasing industry penetration, “Processors who don’t use Clean in Place systems may be at a competitive disadvantage.”
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How does a Clean in Place (CIP) System work?
CIPs will typically pump a vessel cleaning solution through the same piping path as the product, so it can remove scale or material residue, and kill bacteria like yeast spores or e. coli.
Cleaning is done at the end of a production run, or to prepare a process line before changing from one product to another.
What’s the difference between CIP and COP?
Both Clean in Place and Clean Out of Place (COP) sanitize vessels — the difference is basically “inside and outside.”
A CIP system cleans the internal surfaces such as pipes, mixing tanks, pumps, valves, storage vessels, and other equipment. The production line is connected to a flushing system so the equipment doesn’t have to be dismantled.
A COP system like AirSweep cleans the outside surfaces of external parts such as fittings, hoses, clamps, conveyor belts and other components that the CIP can’t reach. AirSweep’s high pressure nozzles blast away the dirt, much more efficiently than using plain elbow grease.
Typical Clean in Place cycle
The CIP cycle will have these steps, though the sequence and duration can vary according to the process and material.
- Pre-rinse. The lines and tanks are wet to remove or soften residue, and dissolve sugars. It typically uses plant water, de-ionized water, or the final rinse solution from the previous CIP sequence.
- Caustic wash. A high-concentration vessel cleaning solution softens fats and sticky, stubborn residue. Caustic wash can be returned to the tank and reused, to reduce water and energy costs.
- Intermediate and/or final rinse. This flushes out any residual detergents. The solution can be recovered for the next CIP pre-rinse cycle. It has trace chemicals which can make it more effective than plant water.
- Sanitizing rinse. This uses either hypochlorite solutions or peracetic acid to kill microorganisms.
Some industries may need additional steps, like a push-out cycle that recovers material before pre-rinsing, or an acid wash to remove mineral scale residues. An air-blow cycle can also remove moisture after the sanitizing rinse, which can help processes with powder or hygroscopic material.
Common vessel cleaning solutions
Clean in Place systems can either use high-pressure cleaning that forcibly flushes down any stubborn residue, or low-pressure cleaning that rely purely on chemical action. Common vessel cleaning agents include:
- Caustic soda. Ideal for breaking down fats and oils, but not as effective for removing scale.
- Nitric and phosphoric acids. Used to break down scale, but must be handled carefully because it can break down the valve seals. Dairies can use this solution once a week to remove milk scale.
- Sodium hypochlorite. Inexpensive, but the least effective. It must be rinsed out well. If it mixes with any other acid, it can form poisonous chlorine gas. Do not use stainless steel vessels, since it will corrode the finish and the seals.
- Peracetic acid (PAA). At concentrations of 75 mg/liter, it can kill 100% of yeast or bacteria in 30 seconds, even at low temperatures. Unlike bleach-based solutions, it does not corrode stainless steel, and is more eco-friendly. However, it should only be used in well-ventilated areas.
How can I optimize my Clean in Place system?
- Check fluid velocity. Laminar flow below 1.5 m/s won’t clean effectively. Increase it to 1.5 to 2.1 m/s.
- Watch out for CIP return / backup. This causes all sorts of problems: longer cleaning times, wasted heat and cleaning materials, high discharge, and poor cleaning of the lower part of the vessel. A good scavenge pump can carry away the solution and even recover it for later use.
- Adjust parameters. Find the ideal temperature, concentration and contact time for your cleansing solution, and the volume and velocity of the rinses. CIPs allow you to monitor and document results, so check your data and tweak your process accordingly.
- Start with a clean surface. Incorporate AirSweep into your CIP system to achieve a powder-free surface before you clean. It increases duration between cleans, and shortens the actual cleaning process—for a smarter CIP.
Every hour of downtime is dollars lost. AirSweep can help prevent material build up that forces a clean, and can be incorporated into your Clean in Place system to shorten your cleaning cycles. Contact us to find out more about how to use AirSweep in your vessel cleaning process.