Cleaning in Place (CIP)

process-integrated cleaning

The Cleaning in Place cleaning principle has existed for around 50 years and is one of the standard methods for cleaning process-technical systems. It is mainly used in applications where critical hygiene requirements exist, such as in the food and beverage industry or pharmaceuticals. CIP systems enable the cleaning of boilers, reaction vessels, pipelines or machines using water, heat and chemicals without disassembling them. CIP is very efficient and can be found in many different industries.

What is Cleaning in Place?

Cleaning in Place (CIP) is a stationary method for cleaning process-technical systems. It cleans the surfaces of the systems in contact with the product without having to disassemble them. CIP generally an integral functional element in automated systems and processes.

Benefits of Cleaning in Place

  • Low energy costs of the cleaning system
  • Good reproducible cleaning results
  • Compliance with strict hygiene requirements
  • Economical production processes
  • Good verifiability of the cleaning process
  • Reduction of cleaning times
  • Reduction of cleaning costs
  • Controlled cleaning coordinated with the processes
  • Fewer waste products

Construction and components of the CIP systems

Important components of a CIP system are the measuring and dosing technology, the concentrate and user tanks as well as the heat exchanger. Acids and alkalis such as nitric acid and caustic soda are contained in several concentrate tanks of the system. The exact concentration of the user solution is adjusted in the user tanks by mixing with water. The caustic tank is equipped with a heat exchanger which ensures the desired temperature and thus the required viscosity of the caustic solution. Further components of the cleaning system are tanks for cleaning water and, depending on the application, tanks for ultrapure water or disinfectants such as peracetic acid.

The CIP process

Depending on the product produced and the degree of contamination of the production system, the complete cleaning process consists of different steps. In the first step, the CIP system rinses with water and removes the coarse soiling. Cleaning is then carried out with an alkaline concentrate. Rinsing with water removes the cleaning lye. With the help of acid, lime deposits can be removed in the next step. The acid is also rinsed out with water afterwards. Disinfectant solution is used in the following process step to kill microorganisms. Rinsing with water removes the disinfectant from the system.

The CIP application areas

The most important field of application is container cleaning in process-technical system such as those used in the chemical or pharmaceutical industry.

In the food industry, CIP systems can be found, for example, in cheese dairies, dairies or in milk drying. They ensure compliance with the strict hygienic requirements.

High hygienic standards must also be maintained in the beverage industry as well as in breweries. CIP systems are therefore frequently used there.

In the oil and gas industry, CIP cleaning systems keep tanks and pipelines clean, for example.

CIP and the requirements for pump technology

CIP cleaning processes place high demands on the pump technology used. The quality and performance of the rinsing pump are critical factors for the success of the cleaning process. The problems with the use of CIP are often due to a poorly functioning return system. This results in an increased use of cleaning agents as well as heat and working time. In addition, there is more waste to be disposed of.

To avoid this, it must be ensured that the return system returns the cleaning solutions quickly and efficiently. A poorly working or incorrectly set rinsing pump does not meet this requirement. It causes a backwater of the cleaning solution and a poor cleaning result. Only a reliable and powerful rinsing pump that is precisely matched to the desired flow rate ensures that fresh cleaning agent always reaches the surfaces to be cleaned and effectively removes the dirt.

The fluid velocity is of great importance for the cleaning result. For optimum results, the specified values must be neither exceeded nor undershot. If high-pressure cleaning heads are used, the pump technology used must provide the required working pressure.

Why is CIP important?

Ever stricter hygiene regulations apply not only in process-technical systems in the food or beverage industry. Increasingly stringent health and safety legislation also places higher demands on the cleanliness of production facilities in various sectors. Glossy surfaces are rarely any indication of the cleanliness of the systems. In containers, tanks, pipelines and machines in particular, the surfaces in contact with the various media and products must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. CIP fulfills this task.

From an economic point of view, process-technical systems must produce continuously. System downtimes must be kept as short as possible. The disassembly of the system for the necessary cleaning work must be avoided under all circumstances in order to minimize production downtimes.

CIP systems can achieve high cost savings by integrating and automating the cleaning process into the process-technical procedures. Transmitters and sensors installed in the systems report data on flow, pressure and conductivity. The data can be used to determine exactly when a container is clean. Compared to manual CIP processes, the automated CIP solution can significantly reduce operating costs. It saves cleaning effort and time and reduces the amount of cleaning agent. The system pays for itself quickly and ensures safe, hygienic operating procedures.

Rising energy costs also make CIP systems increasingly attractive. The cleaning process is very energy-efficient and reduces the energy consumption of both the process and the cleaning system. Thanks to automated processes with precisely adjustable flow rates, temperatures and exposure times of the cleaning concentrates, not only perfect cleaning results but also optimized energy consumption can be achieved.

Originally developed to meet high hygiene requirements for the food and dairy industry, the CIP cleaning principle is now used in many industries and process-technical systems. Pipelines, containers, tanks, reaction vessels and machines can be cleaned automatically without disassembling the systems. As a rule, the integration of the cleaning process into the overall process flow of the production systems is possible without any problems.

If you are interested in CIP or have questions about the efficient and economical cleaning process, contact the URACA experts now. They will be happy to advise you comprehensively on this topic.