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CIP – A problematic and common story

With Food and Beverage (F&B) manufacturers striving to match the consumer demand for more product flavours, the number of Stock Keeping Units (SKUs) one factory has to produce has increased dramatically. Switching between these SKUs requires a Clean-In-Place process. This process ensures that the internal pipework is clean of previous products and cleaning products before resuming production. This resultant increase in the number of CIPs has a knock-on effect on the plant’s Overall Operating Efficiency (OOE).

Current CIP processes are limited to time-based recipes which significantly over-specify the amount of cleaning the system needs. This creates a wasteful process. By over-specifying the amount of cleaning the system requires manufacturers, are wasting water, energy and cleaning chemicals which are against many of their company goals for sustainable practices (1,2). Over-running CIPs can have significant effects on water usage, energy usage, CO2 emissions and the overall plant output.

The reason for current time-based systems is that sensing technology is outdated creating a situation where very few F&B manufacturers rely on sensors to automate their CIP processes. The nature of the CIP process also creates a significant issue for current state-of-the-art sensors, air bubbles and turbulent flow are used to help clean the interiors of the pipes but significantly affect the effectiveness of sensors making measurements unreliable. This leads to F&B manufacturers over-specifying their CIP process creating unnecessary wastage and reducing the output of volume-constrained sites. 

As a result, slow resource-intensive offline tests are used as the benchmark for checking the cleanliness of pipes. These often manifest as phenolphthalein (for caustic absence) or sensory tests whereby the fluid is visually or olfactorily tested for product remanence. These require significant operator hours thereby creating an issue where the quality team are often dedicated to carrying out these tests rather than optimising the process. 

This often presents itself as an issue between the operations and quality teams with neither team set up to tackle the problem of CIP optimisation and the associated resource wastage. The operations team pushing for more production and the quality teams are often stuck using outdated CIP recipes with little insight on how to optimise. 

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Learn from the next blog on just how we think Perfect CIP can be achieved!


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